The relationship between people and plants is older than time, and plants have provided us with food for body and soul since before Eve ate the apple. We were being guinea pigs for Danielle Barlow while she tried out her Incense Making Workshop prior to running it at Green Hill Arts in Moretonhampstead on Saturday 2nd July.
It was a day spent with the magical and aromatic native plants of this land; of here, now. The burning of plant parts, whether they be leaf, flower, fruit, seed, bark, resin or root, is known across the whole of Earth to be something of which the Spirits most heartily approve. It is, and ever has been, a way to help us change consciousness, focus attention and intention and dedicate and clear space. The space clearing part is literal as well as figurative as some plants have been proven in ethnopharmacological research to have a cleansing affect on air. This is St John's Wort, half ground in my mortar. (Above)
The beautiful green and pink of Dartmoor Heather, so recognisable even as powder!
We were in the hands of a woman possessed with both an incredible clarity and an exceptional connection to the work that she does. On the one hand she trained with the RHS and knows a very great deal about plants and their uses, on the other she has been riding and walking the land that she's living on for most of her life and she truly knows it. Questions that she can't answer immediately can be answered by the store of books that we were invited to browse through if we wanted to.
There was a limitless supply of tea and cake and the company was superb.
Mine was a 'Dreaming Incense'. I forgot to take photos once I'd turned it into little pastilles ready to put above a flame or on top of charcoal. It's drying at the moment and will be ready for use in about six weeks, I'm looking forward to that day hugely, if I could send you a waft over the internet I would, it smelled of magic and the richness and beauty of the bountiful land.
If you're anywhere near Dartmoor on Saturday 2nd July at 10.30 for a couple of hours, come and take this workshop, I promise you beauty in abundance - not least because it is taking place within the context of the Widdershins exhibition. Danielle's art will be part of this exhibition alongside artists and makers from around Dartmoor all of whom work from that liminal place that a good incense may well be part of! My drums and rattles are also available, for the duration of this exhibition, in the shop there.