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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When I was at University it was the time of the Poll Tax, an unpopular tax made even more unpopular by being implemented in Scotland a year before the rest of the UK - 'Thatcher's guinea pigs'.⁠⠀
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It was a time of demonstration and violence with 50,000 marching in Glasgow, 1 million Scots refusing to pay. ⁠⠀
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It was a time Sheriff's Officers and poind sales of possessions. ⁠⠀
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Coalition student groups were formed - Socialist and Feminist and Anarchist and so on - there were big meetings in the Union, debates about a name and a logo and a manifesto. I remember lots of young, middle class, white men talked at length.  I remember that very, very little got done - a bus was organised to take students to Glasgow for the protests. ⁠⠀
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In the meantime, up the hill from the campus, three women (I thought of them as old at the time but I'm sure they were the age I am now) simply stood outside the auctions and asked nobody to attend.  They stood by the front doors, they explained their reasons, they prevailed.  They possibly looked randomly menacing in that way middle aged women can.⁠⠀
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People calmly bought back their possessions for 50p and their debts were squared. Action, meaningful results, a recognition that the personal is political - all while the student groups still debated their slogans.⁠⠀
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I've been thinking about those women a lot recently. If they were the age I think they were, they will be queuing up for their vaccines this month.
In my happy place.⁠⠀
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In the winter months The Studio is the centre of my working life. ⁠⠀
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This was yesterday.  Trimming pieces of vintage velvet fabric for the Studio Club shop; alpaca socks drying in the dispatch room behind me (we now have size 8-10 in stock too); a roll @scottishlinen seconds to experiment with hogging the cutting table.⁠⠀
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Bright and light and inspiring.
Starting the week with a photo from last year (simply because I lost a lot of this weekend to fatigue, so didn't take a new photo.)⁠⠀
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Budgie, my beautiful and psychotic cat, with a windowsill of white amaryllis. ⁠⠀
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Worth a second outing.
The proposed airstream conversion is in for planning permission approval at the moment, so that we change change its use from (neglected) artist's workshop into beautiful holiday accommodation.⁠⠀
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In my vision for this we get to use the paid holidaymaking element to subsidise some artist's residencies - painters, writers, musicians, makers coming here to soak up the landscape and be inspired.⁠⠀
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At the moment though I'm still at the stage of answering environmental health questions about quite how loud I am in my Studio and how we will light the path to the compost loo.
Yesterday my elder daughter, who lives in London, messaged me to say that our local DPD driver Slav was being given an award by @official.dpd.uk for his outstanding service. 

It was because of the hundreds of messages that they had been sent commenting on his helpfulness, incredible good cheer, and parcel based problem solving.⁠⠀

Slav has been an important part of my lockdown life here. ⁠⠀
When roads look like this, good delivery drivers are a vital (and hopefully appreciated) part of life.⁠⠀
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As my younger daughter chimed in “Go Slav!
This photo is from last week - but I see through the gloom that it has snowed overnight .⁠⠀
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This part of the garden is outside our bedroom, the beech hedge borders the road, it used to be a drive when our bedroom was a garage.⁠⠀
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Now it has a birch tree (symbolic for me of my miscarried babies, as I had to leave their actual birch trees behind when we moved here) surrounded by lots of box grown from small plants and cuttings.⁠⠀
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We buried Jasmine, my scruffy miniature schnauzer, here in the summer, so in some ways it is becoming a garden for sitting on the bench and remembering and watching the birds.  I shall ask my ever generous  friend Nadja for some snowdrops to plant in the grass.⁠⠀
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In my mind, eventually, the box balls will become like the ones on the front of @arnemaynardgardendesign book Garden Design Details - but this year they remain unclipped. ⁠⠀
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I suspect box blight in the back garden and @jekkamcvicar points out that unclipped box does not get blight.⁠⠀
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I love old gates - particularly old gates that stand in the middle of old unused spaces, leading to nowhere, keeping nothing in.⁠⠀
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A memory of another time.
Last year - while I was dyeing socks out on my Studio deck, I was also dyeing wool yarn. ⁠⠀
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Wool dyed with docks and nettle, gorse and meadowsweet, onions and plum bark all from the garden and lane.⁠⠀
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Over the winter I gathered the wool skeins together - all the soft bright colours - and knitted myself an oversized stripy jumper. ⁠⠀
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@rhiannonconnelly described it as wearing 'a hug from my garden' and I think she was spot on. ⁠⠀
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The pattern is the 'After the Rain' sweater by @heidikdesigns but with random stripes as I wasn't sure how much of each colour I had. #aftertherainsweater
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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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