Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

The Studio Club - Roots and Wings

brambles at sunset

Somewhere, as a society, we lost our roots. We became adrift from the natural world.

I don't know when it was - the beginning of agriculture? the enclosures? the industrial revolution?

I don't know what is to blame - the education system? the financial system? consumerism? capitalism?

I've heard all these and more - but actually I don't think it really matters.

What matters is that we feel our way back, step by step, moment by moment, until we feel we belong again. Deeply belong. Until we feel our roots grow back.

This is what the Studio Club is - an attempt to help us all settle back into the seasons, into making things with our hands, watching things grow, eating well, celebrating the world in all its seasons.

It isn't a course to be completed or a programme to follow - there are no musts or homework or things that need to be completed. You will not find any productivity hacks or ambitious plans.

Instead it is a series of gentle resources that can be picked up and put down, all carefully designed to gradually settle you back into being part of the seasons.

  • At the heart of the club is a beautifully illustrated monthly e-magazine. It is based on my life, lived here in the middle of rural Scotland. It covers what I am doing in the garden, what natural dyes I am collecting and using, what seasonal recipes I am loving, what books are on my bedside table. There are articles on natural history (for November I am writing about the amazing, quite mind boggling, world of lichens) and profiles of people who are doing amazing and inspirationally joyful things in the world. It is a fifteen to twenty minute read that sets you up for the month.
  • There is also a series of e-courses is published through the year - natural dyeing, foraging, herbal recipes, growing cut flowers, decorative mending, rewilding your garden. They are all topics that combine learning about things with some actual doing - if you've ever fancied having a go at something and not known where to begin, these are for you. They get stored in the Club Library and are yours to keep forever.
  • Supplies for most things used in the e-courses are sold in the shop and I use my bulk buying ability to supply these at a lower price to Studio Club Members - so a little like a co-op, but I package it all up prettily. There are flower and vegetable seeds that will take you through the year, craft and dye supplies, jars, tins and vintage fabrics.
  • I run a private Facebook group for all Studio Club Members - this allows me to share extra things, links, videos, explanations - it also allows me to answer questions that come up frequently. There is a genuine community building up there, so it allows things like seed swaps to flourish and for people to share their skills and experience and cheer each other on. For people who don't use Facebook, for whatever reason, I can also tag Studio Club Members as my 'close friends' on Instagram and share some of the extras on stories there.

My aim with the Studio Club is to gently guide people into the seasons, to encourage them to step away from the hustle filled world of competition and perfection for a bit, to enter into something more calm, gentle and joyous.

We all know this is a difficult and anxious time to be living through, and I believe that connecting with nature in a deliberate way can help us all, giving us solace, giving us courage, allowing us to become both rooted, and with wings.

There are three ways to become a member of the Studio Club - arranged so that cost is not a barrier - you can find out about what is included and how to join here.

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Small runs.⁠⠀
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The single thing that has made the most difference in Snapdragon Life's eco-footprint over the past 9 months has been choosing only to make small runs of products.⁠⠀
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I know that can be frustrating sometimes - people get upset when something sells out.  @amandabanhamceramics wrote about this recently - how she received frustrated, sometimes even nasty, emails after every online sale of her houses.⁠⠀
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Once upon a time I would make 100s, sometimes even 1000s, of a single design. ⁠Now I make 10 or 20 or 30 of something. ⁠⠀
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And that is it. ⁠Once they are gone they are gone.⁠⠀
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⁠The photo is of some allium embroidered lavender cushions, embroidered onto C19th handwoven linen - part of the Just Breathe gift set - a limited edition of 20. ⁠⠀
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Half have sold.⁠⠀
A big sky and a bright pond for the end of the working week.⁠⠀
#lochlomond
This week I've been setting aside time to make things.⁠ It has felt grounding in the way that gardening is when we aren’t ankle deep in mud. Carefully chosen materials, working with my hands, concentrating. ⠀
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These patches of antique linen, embroidered with the dark lines of allium seed heads, are for a new batch of the 'Just Breathe' gift sets which should be up on the website tomorrow.⁠⠀
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I taught myself to draw with a sewing machine⁠⠀
years before I learned to draw with a pen. ⁠⠀
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In many ways I still find it easier - as though there were something backwards in my head that is happier thinking in reverse.⁠⠀
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At the weekend I read Anne Lamott's 'Almost Everything: Notes on Hope' - a book written in 2018, ⁠⠀
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I copied out this quote ⁠⠀
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Oh this linen from @scottishlinen is wonderful to embroider on.  It has inspired me to try something I have been meaning to do for ages.⁠⠀
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All Summer I have been decorating order boxes with mugs and flowers.  I must have done a few hundred by now, the initial of the customer on the mug, fine liner on card.⁠⠀
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It is a design device I love - the wonderful works of @debbiegeorgeartist and @angielewin are my inspiration - and I wanted to see if I could get fluid enough to have it work as a freehand machine embroidery.⁠⠀
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I don't work from a sketch, there are no lines on the fabric, I just put my sewing machine pedal down and go.  It helps a lot if there is some level of muscle memory.⁠⠀
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This large lavender cushion is the result - this particular one is going as a gift to a Club Member who has agreed to write for my January edition of Some Seasonal Notes. ⁠⠀
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The link to have me make one is going first to Studio Club Members their e-mail this morning, but then will go up on the website later today. The last order date will be 30th November as I can't stockpile them and will need time to make them.⁠⠀
My Dad would hate this photo.⁠⠀
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Growing up candles were banned from the house except from on Christmas Day - and even then he spent his time blowing them out as he passed.⁠⠀
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This is a rosemary covered jam-jar.  I first saw these in 1990s when they were a speciality of the florist Paula Pryke and the tie was a silk taffeta bow.⁠⠀
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This rustic version - with a tie make from linen offcuts - is the 15 minute activity going out in tomorrow's Studio Club email.
Dixie is slowly getting used to being a Studio dog.  All last year - as  I changed the way Snapdragon Life worked - she spent her time with me working at the kitchen table, bossing the cats around, barking at the postman.⁠⠀
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Earlier this year, I moved back into the Studio full time and she came with me. To begin with it was fine, she was mainly outside and the doors were open.  She spent her days lying across the Studio threshold and watching out for trespassing pheasants.⁠⠀
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But now it is too cold to have open doors and I can't be bothered with constantly letting her in and out, so she is a full time studio dog, curled up on the chair by the stove.⁠⠀
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She very clearly finds it “boring, boring, boring” and thoroughly disapproves of both my music and the lack of biscuits. ⁠⠀
Now that we are in the season of mud I am spending most of my time looking up.⁠⠀
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Birds stripped the orange rowan berries within a couple of days, but these yellow ones were still hanging bright against the grey.
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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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