Monday, October 20, 2014

Autumn Visitors...

I could hardly believe my eyes Sunday morning when in my pond I saw my dog, Derby, swimming round and round trying to catch two frisky OTTERS! I live near a creek but have never seen otters on the creek and didn't in my wildest dreams expect them in my own pond. They frolicked and taunted my dog all day. This morning I've not seen any sign of them so I think they made their way back to the creek. Two weeks ago we got several doses of heavy rain which makes all the little streams connect and my guess is that they made their way up the snaking water and ended up visiting me. What a treat. They are such playful creatures!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Writing with Fire

Pyrography is the art of writing with fire and also known as wood burning. It is something I began to dabble in last winter. Since, I've mainly done lettering for signs. I'm using a very rudimentary wood burner - I think it cost 20 bucks. I really like this art form, the contrast, the feel of singeing the wood, the scent, the texture of the finished product. But it can be hard work, tedious, dangerous if you are daydreaming and my eyes burn here and there from the little smoke created. This is a recent creation of mine for a gift. I bought an inexpensive soft wood box at Hobby Lobby for a few bucks and with a little work made it into a lovely, one of a kind gift. One day I'd like to get my hands on a better tool, that I can hold more like a pencil, that doesn't get quite so warm in my hand.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Dark Half

A vintage photograph of some of my relatives, discovered in an old forgotten box.
Samhain is the ancient Celtic/Gaelic festival dividing the light half of the year (summer) from the dark half (winter). Now, we now call it Halloween. Ancient people believed Samhain night to be an active time for fairies, ghosts, goblins, and other dark creatures. They wore masks to confuse the spirits, to be passed by and mistaken for one of their kind or to scare the creatures away and ward off evil. And one way or another, the tradition trickles on. Perhaps in a less reverent way, but it survives nonetheless. So don your mask and light a bonfire - I think these masks would do.
P.S. As an American I'm just learning that Samhain should be prounounced as "sah-ween" or "sah-win" or the like. Oh, the mysteries of old Gaelic.

Pumpkins & Paint

Some festive fall windows I recently painted:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Elk Lines

Story weaver Sylvia V. Linsteadt is spinning a new tale. Elk Lines is a re-mything, a rewilding of "The Handless Maiden", a Hungarian folk tale. The entwined story of the mystical Elk People of Point Reyes, California and the tale of Eda Crost will come in eight installments by mail at each of the Celtic festival dates. The first two were delightful. Here in the woods I read the first installment with fire and kettle. If only I could take part in this ritual each time. Elk Lines are lovingly packaged and sent in an envelope adorned with stamps  hand drawn by Sylvia, inspired by the tale. The tale is tied with a spun yarn of wool and accompanied by a note to the reader about the Celitic festival date upon which the tale has arrived. Also to be unfolded is a hand drawn map of Point Reyes and a Feral Palm Reading with watercolor painting. The story thus far is mystical, poignant, enchanting, and well written. It is steeped in myth, ecology, animal lore and a love and yearning for the wild world.  
In an era that has forgone so many tangible joys, it is a delight to receive these treasures in the mail, carefully open and unfold them, and then sit and enjoy a tale. I am one of few that still write letters and send things in the post but it is time to rekindle this tradition. It is such a joy and one you can unfold anytime you like to enjoy again.
Read more about Elk Lines or sign up here. Visit Sylvia's charming blog The Indigo Vat here to read get a deeper look into her inspirations and projects. If you are interested in shorter stories by mail for adults of children look at Sylvia's Grey Fox Epistles and Leveret Letters here.  You can sign up any time.

Here are some of Sylvia's Pictures of her creations:

A Feral Palm Reading

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Harvest Bounty

Just stocked in Traveling Chariot's Etsy Shop -
A forest gathering of Autumn's colorful bounty: ripe persimmons and myriad acorns. The exquisite colors and textures of Autumn are captured in this 8 x 10 Fine Art Photograph. Be ushered into the forest beneath the gilt and burnished trees, leaves dazzling down.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Autumn is upon us and it is a shame to be inside. The colors are changing before my eyes and the harvest of the wildwood is quite the bounty. I have an inkling that the woods and the critters know the winter will be harsh. There are more berries, fruits, and nuts on our land than I've ever seen before. Perhaps it is because we are taking good care of them but they might know something we don't. I've been gathering what the woods has to offer, partly to eat, partly to enjoy the colors and textures of autumn in my home. I've also been spying lots of crawling critters. A few weeks back I tried my hand at weaving a basket in the most amateur way. But it holds up and has a wonky charm to it. I hope I'm not the only one pausing to enjoy the bounty of Autumn, the see her colors, feel her breeze, and walk beneath a shower of gilt leaves.



Little Black Quills & Books to Fill

Newly listed in Traveling Chariot's Etsy Shop are new quills - only one large but many little black quills with fine points. Quills always come with nice paper, a writing grid, and a one of a kind cedar stand. Also new on my shelves are a few books: the Royal Pocket Wanderer, the small but Long Letter, and the teeny Tiny Wee Woodsman
The Royal Wanderer
Interior of The Royal Wanderer
The Long Letter - Traveler's Pocket Journal
Interior of the Long Letter Journal
The Wee Woodsman

Love & Letters

Here is a custom address book I recently completed for an Etsy customer. I was thrilled to be asked to create a gift for a wedding anniversary. The traditional gift for the anniversary was leather so an address book fit the bill. The customer and I worked out all the details and I was even able to personalize the inside cover for them. I love the embossed leather in combination with the gold leafed leather spine. The gold scroll end papers compliment the rest. I love the final result and my customer did too. Such a treat to create something special that will be around for a long while.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Black Belt

A downtown window sign I painted for Aurora Martial Arts on Locust in Aurora, MO

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All Hallow's Read

Fall has crept in like fog. Harvest and darkness and All Hallow's Eve clutches onto its coat tails (just one month!). I recently read of a lovely tradition begun by author extraordinaire of the fantastic and macabre, Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust, etc). It is called All Hallow's Read and simply put, it is a tradition in which we give spooky, scary, fantastic books to folks at Halloween. Not in lieu of candy or other fun things but just in addition, to those who would love such a gift, to those who need a good scare, or to those in need of spark to kindle a love of reading. New books, old books, used books, second-hand, third-hand, found, lost - any book my friends. Read about it here and browse the scary book lists. Gaiman comments that there aren't enough traditions of book giving. I agree even though I give books quite often and looove getting them. So I encourage those who can to spread the scare, the magic, the horror of good spooky story and All Hallow's Read! (Stay tuned for my list of scary books...)
I have really enjoyed some posters for All Hallow's Read I've come across:

An artist among my favorites - Abigail Larson
Hmmm.... Anyone see a likeness....The Red Woman, Melisandre, from Game of Thrones?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dancing Darlings

Using the logo I designed for Meaningful Movements Dance Company I have fashioned some mixed media ballerina dancers for the girls in the dance company. I used watercolor and acrylic on canvas with wire and tulle for the tutu. Hoping to make many more in the coming days.

Monday, September 22, 2014

British Isles # 11: Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall is a defensive stone wall built during the rule of Roman Britain under the rule of Emperor Hadrian. It was begun in the year 122 AD and once stretched from the west to the east coast separating England to the south from the tribes of Scotland in the north. Manned forts were built along the wall for defense and patrol. Much of it remains today and can be visited. We visited a rural section at Walltown Crags where there was a small car park, no fences, no entry fee, no other people. Just sheep grazing. You cannot see the wall from the car park but it's not a far walk. Hadrian's Wall was strategically built making it a great place to view the countryside and wide vistas. That is, when it is not too foggy. We also visited Housesteads Roman Fort where you must pay to park and pay to get in. There is a small visitor center and Roman artifacts. I imagine that Housesteads is crammed full of tourists in the summer. I'd recommend Walltown for sure, though on a nice day you could probably hike from one to the other. The views from the wall are said to be amazing. While we could see a ways at Walltown a wicked fast fog moved in by the time we got to Housesteads. We passed the Sycamore Gap twice but could only see it the first time.

Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall - you may recognize from the beginning of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Walltown Crags

Lively lambs at Walltown Crags

Walltown Crags

Housesteads Roman Fort on the Wall

Housesteads Roman Fort on the Wall

Housesteads Roman Fort on the Wall

Housesteads Roman Fort on the Wall