I’ve been working with plants ever since my permaculture design certificate course that I took in San Francisco in 2003. The course made me look at my world in an entirely new way. Where did my water come from? What was the watershed I was in? Where did the water go? Which direction is east? What are the names of five local native plants?
Humanure. Erm. Yup. Worm castings. Earthen building. Locavore living. Seed saving. And much, much more.
One thing that stuck with me more than other topics was that plants could be used as medicine. I think back and wonder…how was it that I got to be 25 years old and didn’t really know this?
I knew about chamomile and peppermint tea…but I didn’t realize what was around me. I didn’t have that kind of awareness. Not at all.
It makes me feel sad…such a loss that our country and culture can produce such disconnected people. I know this because I was one of them. But, I’m glad that I found a course to get me on the right…well…course.
Like I mentioned, I fell in love with making plant medicine…and, rightfully, at an important time in my life. I was emerging from a severe health crisis and was needing all kinds of herbal support.
After the permaculture course, I planted medicinal plants. I harvested medicinal plants. I foraged for some food. I continued to go deeper and deeper down the plant path… And, still today I plant and forage and make medicine and save seeds.
It has been an honor to get to know the plants so well.
It wasn’t until about 13 years later that I learned how to plant dye. And, in an unassuming town in the Mississippi Delta, I learned the beginnings of the craft. Patricia Brown, a local artist and former university art professor, taught a workshop that would change how I viewed plants when I was out in the field.
I began to consider the kind of color they could make.
Lately, I’ve been dipping into my notes from that workshop and messaging her a bit as I’ve finally found some time to experiment. It’s been fun exploring the intersection of food, plant medicine, and plant dyeing.
Here are some of my recent projects…