Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Seasonal living - why I left my great job because I didn't see Spring.

celebrate the seasons

I left my first (and only) proper job because I missed the seasons.

There were probably other reasons, I mean you don't leave a great and hard won job just because you miss seeing leaves come out in Spring, but that was definitely how I felt at the time.

I was Curator of British Art at the University of Glasgow - an amazing job, an amazing collection - working away in a basement office. It was long hours and I loved it, a mix of personal research and helping students, organising exhibitions and attending openings, everything took place underground.

But for six months of the year I seemed to hardly see daylight, I had no idea about the weather.

I didn't know what was sprouting, blooming, whether the birds were singing or the bulbs emerging from chilly soil.

I was always slightly ill, I seemed to have one cold after another, recurring tonsillitis, my mood turned a bit flat. Somehow I just seemed a little disconnected from life, disconnected from me.

I decided to leave the job and change direction. I retrained in horticulture and spent my days in the open air.

Not long after I resigned from the University, we moved here - a place where weather is full on, where seasons are well defined and the shift between them is slow.

A place where there is plenty of time to immerse myself in the signs of spring, summer, autumn, winter.

It turns out that I am a person who thrives when I am living with the rhythms of the seasons.

My life works best when I can spend time outside, noticing little things, feeling the wind and the rain and the sun on my back.

Now we keep chickens, we grow food and flowers, we spend time just watching storms come in from the loch.

At this time of year I wake to the geese honking overhead as they head to pasture. There is a loud chorus in the hawthorn trees each dawn and dusk. I watch the heron hunting from frogs, I spy the earliest, tastiest nettle tips, I inspect the swaying buds of the snakeshead fritillaries.

Over the past year I have been bringing this seasonal living into Snapdragon too.

Last year we decided to jump from the conventional retail train that has Christmas designs taking up the whole of February and summery designs being drawn in October.

Instead I now have a much faster, more immediate, more connected relationship with our customers. I can draw from life, I can make much more soulful designs and show both the workings and the final designs within a week.

It is a completely different way of working, and admittedly one that doesn't fit brilliantly into magazine lead times or for getting promoted by third party marketplace websites.

However, working with the seasons has transformed everything for me so it is worth it.

My designs are clearer, brighter, better - it is the difference between working away in an office cubicle (with an out of season inspiration board and a pantone picker) and having a desk with a beautiful view. I am much more present, I am actually living what I am making.

When we decided to create a series of craft subscription boxes it was clear from the outset that they would be seasonal and that each would be distinct in feel.

The first Studio Box is all light and bright like a frothy summer meadow, the autumn one (in its very pre-prototype state) is already looking more mellow.

This year we have had rather a lot of winter, I have been heard to say that we have had too much winter.

But now, with hazel twigs sprouting their perfect miniature leaves in a vase on my desk and daffodils cheering up the orchard, I am back in the swing of the season. Sketching and writing, gathering up eggs from the bantams who have also decided that it is a new season and time to start laying again.

the importance of seasonal living

Tags: life

Comments: 3 (Add)

Wendy T on April 11 2018 at 17:13

Every season, maybe Spring slightly more because of the promise of things to come! Everything is slowly coming to life, plants peeping out of the soil, birds building nests, the crops in the fields awaken from Winter and suddenly shoot up. Summer long days, sitting in the garden listening to the bats, fresh veg from the garden, dipping hot feet in cool streams, Autumn Harvest happening in the fields, bonus warm days, early misty mornings with beautiful sunrises. Winter brings frosty patterns, winter woollies, cosy fires and hot chocolate. Love them all

Snapdragon Jane on April 11 2018 at 17:46

I agree with you - all the seasons bring their delights and the main thing is paying attention to the changing. x

Meg Muir on April 12 2018 at 14:27

I agree with you I paint by season as this is the world around me...I believe in being part of the circle of life..growing, working and being with nature..I am making slow shifts to change my products I use when I can afford them..ie roll on deodorant from spray I noticed my morning cough had gone..I gave up my job because of culture and bullying of staff and residents and spoke out about it..I did what my heart told me was right..it cost me financially and for a while my self esteem..because it wasn't the first time I had stood up for honesty, truth and dignity for vulnerable adults...I am still a little broken...but my art has flourished in ways I never thought possible..so although we make sometimes difficult or illogical decisions..we realise that around the corner..something far more special and real is about to happen which we could not have known..until we look for the unknown..you were brave Jane ..and look at you now. God bless. Meg

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Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
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Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
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The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
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I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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(This is why I created the Plan your Dream Life workbook for myself - just so that I would have a list of things that I knew I had chosen to do when time appears - if you don't have this workbook already you can get it by signing up to my newsletter list Snapdragonlife.com.)⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
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There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at Snapdragonlife.com. ⠀
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In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

Learn more about why here

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