Every once in awhile a wonderful artist catches my eye.
If natural dye is involved then I am all eyes and ears.
Lisa Jordan is crafting a life under poplar and pine in the woods of Minnesota. A good friend and nature lover, mom to 4 kids and an amazing felter/woodcarver/photographer – she really seems to do it all!
Lisa, you seem to be very inspired by nature, how did that come about?
I think my love of nature comes from a childhood that was steeped in it. I lived rurally and ran barefoot, climbed trees, played in the mud, and hunted for treasure with the boys in the neighborhood. I spent time with my father out in the woods hunting for rabbit and dove as a young girl. As I got a little older, I sought solace in the quiet of the rolling hills near the Nippersink Creek (pronounced crick). I began to recognize that my comfort was found in nature, my curiosity is piqued there, it makes me feel reverent. Nature is my church.
Tell us a little story about your felted stones.
The felted stones to me are not only little art objects, but sort of soothing too. Something about the texture of the wool with the weight of the stone, the play of hard and soft, that I like. When I started adding embroidery to them, I felt myself turning them over in my hand running my fingers over the stitches, and observed my children doing the same. I’ll often find them with piles of them, making little wool cairns in the living room or arranging them by color. They’re fairly easy to make too, and I have a tutorial for them if you’d like to try them yourselves.
Reading your blog I know that you like to experiment with natural dyes, which are your favorite ones to work with?
I enjoy dyeing with “by product” materials like onion skins and black bean soaking water because I can create color from things that would normally head to the compost pile. It’s a good feeling to give them one more purpose before they return to the soil. I like the blue that red cabbage and iron can make, the orange of bedstraw roots, the warm brown of black walnut, and the olive green of an unusual fungus called Peridoxylon petersii (camarops petersii). Though I’m not much of a pink person, the pinks and fuchsia that lobster mushrooms give really knock my socks off.
I have noticed that you have an affinity for mushrooms, do you collect them yourself – and if so where/how did you learn to hunt for such wonders?
I have more of an obsession with mushrooms, really. I used to find the odd giant puffball as a kid, and we’d fry it up in butter as a neighborhood treat. It wasn’t until several years later though that I sat down and thumbed through a mushroom field guide, looking at all the different shapes and colors, and reading about edibility and toxicity, that I really became hooked. They’re fascinating! I’m really fortunate to live in the woods, where I get to see so many of them in person. I gather oysters, chanterelles, and black trumpets just steps outside my back door. In the fall I’m treated to lobsters and chicken mushrooms, both of which I use for eating and dyeing, and green-staining fungus that gives me beautifully stained wood to work with. I could (and do) spend hours belly-down in the moss, photographing the fungi in my woods.
Please share with us a few photos of your surroundings…
we like to spend evenings around the fire with the kids, listening to the sounds of the woods – owls, whippoorwills, coyotes sing us songs.
the winters here can be harsh and long, with temps hitting -20F and colder. The snow is beautiful but we long for spring by about January of each year.
morning in the spring, looking out my front door
my clothesline is in service year ’round drying clothes and dyed fiber and cloth. This was dyed using chokecherry
our chickens are an important part of our landscape, acting as mobile fertilizers, mulch scratchers, and tick-eaters.
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Lisa has graciously donated a felted stone for a giveaway, here she is…
“The wool (which is local rambouillet) was dyed using strawberry leaves, and all of the cotton floss was naturally dyed too with red cabbage, red onion, bedstraw, creeping charlie, and chokecherry bark.” – Lisa
To enter the giveaway please leave a comment below!
The winner will be drawn at random on Thursday the 21st (7pm CET) and Lil Fish Studios will be notified of the recipient, she will be the one to send out the package. International shipping is included.
Good luck and thanks to Lisa for such a lovely (and natural!) felted stone!
*** Update! June 21st