In my garden, the first rush of color is blue. Scilla Siberica. Siberian Squill.
April is a challenging month here in the north-country. We’ve just come out of a third of a year living in the grip of winter. Then comes April, and we think our trials should be over. But snow and wind and cold can return any day and stay far longer than we wish. The ground that has been frozen to a depth of 2 to 3 feet takes a long time to thaw, but the lengthening days work their magic and soon green shoots begin to push up the leaf mulch and insist on emerging.
After months of tending to the chores of winter and anticipating the arrival of the blue, the creative juices begin to stir in me as well. With a nice cup of tea in hand I got out my sketchbook and visited my storage area of supplies to see what might spark some inspiration. I found a box of Cypress knees that had been sent to me by a fan in Texas several years ago. They still had the bark on, which I really enjoyed for its texture. The smallest one, only about 6 inches tall might be the perfect size to nestle amongst the Squill with a tiny house perched upon the top.
Out came the sketchbook and an idea quickly developed. This could be fun!
I gathered up fresh pieces of birch bark, golden birch bark, the cypress knee and other materials I would need for the project and got to work. The first step was to make a paper model to make sure I had the scale of each little piece in correct relation to the others. Also, I needed to work out how and where to attach the house to the base without damaging the fragile bark. Making a paper model first helps resolve these problems so I won’t waste the birch bark when building the real house. I knew that the roofs would be made of felted wool so I’d leave that for last.
Once I was satisfied with the paper model, I cut it apart to use it as a pattern for the bark pieces. The build went well but fabricating at this very small scale is quite challenging. Everything is sooo tiny and fragile! The windows ended up being so small that they were about 1/2 inch tall. Fitting all the tiny pieces together took time and concentration, but eventually I had what I wanted. You can see some of the left-over pattern pieces in the image.
At this point I was so excited and taken-over by the process that I just charged ahead and worked for several more days to complete the tiny house and the fun felted roofs. The urge to complete the project quickly meant that I forgot about taking any additional in-process images…. all I knew was that I needed to finish this soon. Suddenly, as I was nearing completion, the clouds outdoors began to clear and I knew a rare sunny break was coming. I quickly finished the project, grabbed my camera and dashed out to the garden. I found a welcoming placement for the fresh little house and began joyfully capturing images before I lost the sunlight. The biggest challenge were my cats who were curious about what I was doing and kept walking in front of the camera! Thankfully they left me alone long enough to get the rest of the images I wanted before the sun slipped behind another round of grey clouds for the rest of the day… in fact I’ve not seen the sun for several more days since and we may get more snow this week!
But for this small window of time, it had all come together… anticipating the blue flowers, working towards a creative vision, having the affirmative response from Nature, and being ready for the moment when it came. The results were very pleasing indeed.
It’s wonderful when we can follow our impulses, apply our gifts and enjoy the outcome!
Happy Early Spring everyone!