I was thinking of sunflowers while I stitched the August moondala, my monthly mandala sewing ritual. There was only one sunflower plant in the garden this year -- and it was a volunteer at that -- its yellowing leaves are tattered from hail and the seed head bows to the ground but still it remains. Sunflowers are considered guardian plants and I like that it chose a spot near the center to grow right behind Buddha to watch over things. Both the background and the moon on this seventh moondala are wool dyed with red shiso.
I held a natural dyeing workshop for The Herb Society of America, Rocky Mountain Unit, members and guests last weekend. Flowers and leaves were chosen from the flower mandala to create eco-printed silk scarves. Frozen pansies and Dyer's coreopsis demonstrated ice-flower dyeing and onion-skin solar dye was discussed. Labeled samples were passed and guesses were made on unlabeled samples. Cloth soaked while freshly-picked Japanese indigo, Polygonum tinctorium, from the garden brewed. A delicious herbal brunch was had, my favorite books were passed including India Flint's most inspiring Eco-Colour and Second Skin, and sky/cloud cloth was prepared. Silks and cottons were dipped into two vats -- the home-brewed Japanese indigo and an Indigofera tinctoria kit. Clothesline was strung and blues were hung. It was a wonderful day with beautiful plants and lovely people.
We are having some rainy days here now -- in between rain showers I found and picked enough dry plantain, Plantago major, to make a jar of plantain oil. Good for healing all kinds of skin issues from insect bites to infection, this oil will make its way into a soothing skin salve.
The red orach, Atriplex hortensis, is going to seed -- there's one seed in each little red round. I harvested Angelica seeds to share so just had to try making origami seed packets -- directions here. I was thinking about the harvest of seeds being the ending and the beginning.
Yesterday was a beginning -- of a new moon phase -- so conjure visions and make wishes now. xo