• InHarmony InNature

An afternoon in the garden with Shelley Saltzman

How our nervous system could benefit from a handmade lifestyle?

Many of us have embraced meditation as a major practice in our daily lives. The conversation on the benefits of meditation has been in the media and communities for quite some time now. Have you tried it? Have you noticed how much mental clarity we acquired after a few minutes of sitting in the lotus position and stopping the wandering of the mind? Some people find similar effects on running, walking, dancing, or singing.

There are so many ancient practices we could add to our contemporary way of living. Going back to some of those practices might be essential on walking the path of harmonization with Mother Earth. Creating a handmade life could also be included on that path. The art of planting our own food, gardening, medicine making, weaving, jewelry making, harvesting wild weeds, art-making, and crafting, are some of the activities we could do to re-ignite our true human nature.

We are nature.

With these ideas in mind, we have invited some artists, medicine women and mend, to teach us their crafts and practices. In the Summer of 2021, we invited Shelley Saltzman to introduce us to the art of paper-making.

Shelley Saltzman is a school teacher and recently graduated from Emily Carr University.

On a beautiful sunny day, a very small group of us got together at the Hastings Community Garden. A beautiful space, surrounded by the food and medicine others have planted. Beans and potatoes growing from the sacks garden installed there by Refarmers*; the raspberries bushes, immanence of the time the garden was founded under the permaculture practice; the shade of the fig tree and the breeze produces a well being feeling on us.

Shelley encouraged us to use our hands and creativity to produce small pieces of paper using dry flowers and all sorts of plant materials. These natural materials will be combined with paper pulp. The paper pulp is made from recycled paper that Shelley has rescued from printing studios.

Happiness is in the air. We take turns in front of the large container, like little children we play with the water and pulp; as we see the transformation of these elements into matter, into paper again. Last Grandfather Sun will dry our pieces before we could take them home.

We offered our gratitude for learning a new art and the possibility of creating new beauty from given/repurposed materials brought back into life.

Our nervous system felt calmed and excited at the same time.

*About Refarmers

We are a GRASSROOTS organization that creates and supports small-scale community-based REGENERATIVE food growing initiatives and provides LAND-BASED learning opportunities that enable COMMUNITIES to be the drivers of their own CHANGE.

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