Come see us next Saturday September 17 at The Makers Festival lin Manahawkin, NJ!
Come see us next Saturday September 17 at The Makers Festival lin Manahawkin, NJ!
Before there was an official Forage Workshop, I dabbled in lots of different mediums in art and in crafts. I started making sachets filled with balsam mainly for myself, I LOVE the smell of balsam, and to give as holiday gifts. The eye pillows were a soon second for exactly the same reason. I soon found that I had more than I needed, but I wanted to make even more, it was such a satisfying process! So I went downtown and talked to a local shop owner who suggested I put them in the towns seasonal holiday boutique. I put in a bunch of balsam sachets and some catnip toys as well. (another creation I had started making mostly for my own cat, Moose) Both items sold very well! I even had my balsam sachets featured in a blog! It was such a gratifying experience! I was hooked.
I kept at it, returning the following holiday season to sell in a local shop and to be a “featured maker”. The following year I was laid off from the full time job I had held for 12 years. I felt free to try out all of the things I had always wanted to do, including making things to sell at local craft shows and markets. Forage was officially born! My focus of course was, and still is, wood burning, but I have never left behind the spark that started it all, my sweet smelling sachets.
This weekend I will be at the Asbury Bazaar both Saturday and Sunday! I love AsburyPark, such a fun town!.
My hubs and I have been coming here for years, it’s our favorite shore spot! It’s so great to be a part of the pop up shopping scene here. I love the atmosphere, I love the customers, and I love going out to eat or walking on the beach after a long day!
If you’re in the area (or if you’re not, make a day trip, it’s totally worth it!) stop by and say hi, have a cider with me, and stick around for the Tree lighting tonight in the Convention Hall.
Happy Small Business Saturday!
I am the type of person who likes to use what she has. It might be a harder road, but I enjoy transforming something into what I need it to be. Also, it makes a heck of a lot of sense from an environmental standpoint. I mean geeze, these logs are just rotting away, why not make something awesome out of them! Such a better way to go than killing or damaging a beautiful living tree, or going to a craft store to buy wood where they process and mass murder trees to get their boring, perfect product. Foraged wood isn’t perfect. It isn’t pristine, white wood ready for me to make my mark on it, but that’s why I love it. It’s MORE than perfect, it’s a beautiful mess.
I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with hiking. Certainly I’ve been doing it off and on since I was a kid, but that doesn’t mean I always liked it. I remember being younger and lugging my body up some hill and just desperately hoping it would be over soon. Somewhere along the way it changed from a chore to a luxury. Something I try my best to do at least a couple times a week, and something that my vacations are based around.
My husband, then boyfriend, was the one who really reintroduced me back to the outdoors. Three months into our relationship he took me on my very first camping trip. No campsite, no electricity, no running water, no cell service. Just a a decrepit old house in the middle of the woods where he and his friends had gone for years. (Oh did I mention that all his friends who I had yet to meet would be there) Now this could have ended in some serious disaster, but fortunately, his friends were amazing, the place was gorgeous, and I guess I sorta really liked the guy. On this trip, and on many visits thereafter,we hiked though the woods, though fields, though humungous patches of blueberry bushes which all finally took us to a private waterfall. I hadn’t really hiked in years, but it was definitely the slow start to a love story, well two love stories, I mean I did marry the guy!
One of the things I like best about being out on the trail is the sense of community. It’s common polite practice to say hello to everyone you pass by. How nice it that? It’s kinda funny that the normally somewhat rude catch phrase, Take a Hike, is adopted as a tongue in cheek motivational saying. I have included it in my collection of outdoorsy inspiration magnets, and it’s one of my best sellers!
Recently I was speaking to a dear friend who (amongst others) encouraged me to tell my stories to you. Nothing epic, just one of my little day to day happenings that maybe made me smile when it happened, maybe made her smile when I told it to her, and maybe it will make you smile when i tell it to you. I was thinking of how to break into this trend of sharing things with all of you, and I thought I’d first share someone else’s story. (I know I’m totally cheating but it’s such a nice one)
I have been making my camping ornaments and magnets for years. I first made them to commemorate a camping trip in Letchworth State park that I took with some of my very best friends. These magnets and ornaments have turned into some of my best sellers and I think that is partially due to my allowing you to make it yours. You choose the tent color, the inscription, the date… I have always valued making something for you that can reflect your special memory as it reflected mine when I first created this little scene
Just a few days ago I had a new request for a change in scene. A grandparent wrote to me asking me to change the moon from a crescent to a full. She had taken her grandson on his first camping trip to Big Sur along the California coast and the moon was so full, so big that it really made an impression on them both. I imagined the sea air combined with the smells of the forest, the 2 of them sitting outside their orange tent marveling at the beautiful, humongous moon and I smiled. I’m smiling now picturing that sweet moment. I’m trying my best to capture that feeling on this wood slice ornament for them, so they can look at it every Christmas, and remember that trip and smile.
I have been a wood lover for far longer than I have been a woodworker. I often admired (still do) the beautiful patterns in the wood, the colors , the rings, the stories. But when I first started making my items I was always looking for “clean” wood. I thought my wood burning designs had to stand out against a stark white maple background, but, being a forager, this was not often what I was given. Gathering fallen wood from my property or my friends wood piles or the side of the road, often I get soggy wood that needs to be dried out a bit before I can work with it. This wetness seeps into the wood often creating irregularities and patterns. My frustration has evolved into fascination with these “damaged” pieces of wood that I work with. “Mother Nature’s watercolors” is how I have come to think of it. It turns out that not surprisingly, I am not the only one who has found beauty in the damage. The term for it is spalted, and many a woodworker has come to value these pieces highly.
Perfection is boring, give me your discards any day.
During the long, snowy, winter I could not stop daydreaming about warmer, greener weather. Visiting local greenhouses was my great escape out of the cold where I could soak up some fresh oxygen and imagine I was somewhere tropical. On one of these excursions I found myself in the bromeliad section and started visualizing the possibilities of my woodworking and these gorgeous little plants going hand in hand. I had to wait until all the snow melted to break the saw out of the garage and get to work, but just in time for spring, my new planters are here, and ready for sale! http://www.etsy.com/listing/186572091/birch-tree-air-plant-holder?ref=shop_home_active_1
Keep a look out for my hanging wood slice planters, available soon!
This week, my wood burning has strayed from my norm. Usually I do all nature inspired, organic, designs, but this has been the week of words and numbers. It started with a few custom requests from friends and acquaintances. A date on a baseball bat, a pet food reminder magnet, a note for the delivery guy, and a clean/dirty dishwasher magnet. After the response I got to a picture I posted of the dishwasher magnet, I was pondering whether I should add it to my store, when I got a definitive sign that I should. So I made more. And the words just kept tumbling on after that. New nature slogan magnets, “take a hike” “stay wild” and “go explore” are a few in the new line up (coming soon)
What do you think of this direction?
I’ve been daydreaming of summer during these cold, seemingly endless, snowy, winter days. You can see where my mind is going in the subject matter of my latest projects. I’ve bee making a lot of landscape and camping scenes and new botanical studies, including these wood burned fern coasters. Hopefully spring will be here soon, here’s to hoping that the groundhog was wrong. These coasters, along with other designs are now available in my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/ForageWorkshop