Quick Update on the availability of the art kits

Dear Readers,

Well, what a great response from you on the art kits made as benefit for Art For Aid http://www.artforaid.ca. (If you are new to this topic, see my previous post)

In all, 24 out of my 36 kits have been spoken for in just one day (I posted yesterday) , so the donations for buying the mylar blankets have been rolling in! Wow. I must say I did not predict this level of interest! Thank you all so very much; I am truly grateful for you and touched by your willingness to support Art For Aid in this way.

So great has the interest been, in fact, that all the larger size kits at $15 ( with 30 items) have “sold” and will be mailed out in turn this week. So I am out of large kits, folks. But never fear – there are more kits! Even if a tad smaller.

12 kits remain available: both the 20 item Medium kits (in 9″ x 12″ envelopes) and the 10 item Small kits (in 6″x 8″ envelopes).

The papers included in the Medium and Small sets are of the same genres and quality as those in the sold-out larger set, I promise.

NB: The papers inside the envelopes are various sizes, not necessarily the size of the envelope, but all are useful for mixed media work like collage, cards, artist books, journal pages, etc; and of course, I hope that the papers can inspire your own experiments in art.

After this series of kits reaches new homes, and I get feedback on the contents, I will look at whether it could be appropriate to make a second series available to donors.

So please, if you can, keep on donating and help me liquidate the current stock of 12 kits.

Don’t forget – email me BEFORE you donate to check with me if there are kits left for you in this round. wendy(dot)feldberg(at)sympatico(dot)ca.

It is getting colder each day and the mylar blankets we are buying for FN families become daily more valuable to their recipients. And we had our first snow today in Ottawa.


Art for Aid

Dear Readers,

Would you like to receive an art kit made up of decorated papers from my mighty stash?

You can receive an art kit as my sincere and free thank-you if you donate to Art For Aid!

Read about the work of this organisation and learn how you can donate:


My Art My Aid

I am donating my Stash-Bust art kits this winter to any of my readers who makes a small donation to help buy mylar blankets through the Art For Aid organisation. The blankets will be sent to remote First Nations communities in Canada where substandard housing is all-too common and proper heating extremely difficult to achieve. You can help FN communities bust the cold this winter!

The kits I have assembled ( with help from two artist friends) come in small, medium or large sizes depending on the number of pieces included. Each kit contains a selection of (almost all) my own decorated papers along with an occasional printed and/or stitched textile, made in various ways and for various purposes: ecoprints, paste paper, inkjet prints, etchings, watercolours, paint/stitch trials, painty-doodle-experiments. Every item in every kit is unique. They are priced at $5, $10 or $15 each depending on the number of papers in the kit: 10, 20 or 30 items. Here is a photo of some of the kits:

You can use the kit contents for many of your fave mixed media art projects. How about for collage, Artist Books, origami, journal pages, hanging scrolls, ATCs, Round Robins, Exquisite Corpse projects, Mail-Art?…Mix and match the kit contents with your own supplies…use the papers as art-starters or prompts for your own work… swap kit items with a friend…buy a few kits to use as supplies for your own workshops or for a Play Day with artist buddies…check out paint and colour effects and see if they inspire you to try your own…make up kits of your own from your own Hallowed Stash!

How do you get your kit?

Better hurry – I have made up 36 kits for this round. (But if the project goes well, I will make more – the stash has barely a dent in it…)

This is how it works for you to receive your kit:

You donate by going to Art For Aid site.

You reserve your kit by telling me what amount you plan to donate and what size of kit you’d like ( kit quantities are limited)

Then you confirm your donation by emailing me when you have donated; at the same time, you provide me with your mailing address.

And I get that kit in the mail to you ( fingers crossed, no postal strike) PDQ. ( See below for email info etc. ):

How to donate:


Go to the Programmes tab on the website and choose the mylar blanket programme.

Follow the links on the Art For Aid “Programmes” page to make the donation.

If you plan to donate:

Send me an email at  wendy(dot)feldberg(at)sympatico(dot)ca with your name and mailing address, and the amount you plan to donate to Art For Aid. Then I can set aside your kit until I hear from you that you have donated.

Choose a suggested amount: $5 ( a selection of ten items) gets you a small kit, $10 ( a selection of 20 items) a middle size kit; and $15 ( a selection of 30 items) a large one. Of course you can donate as much as you like for a kit of any size.

Confirm your donation and provide your address

I will send you your kit(s) when I receive from you the confirmation that your donation has been made and when you email me your mailing address.

Kit availability

At the moment, I have 36 kits available. So you do need to contact me to reserve your kit BEFORE you donate to check that kits are still available this time around. If there is sufficient interest, and I run out of kits, I will employ some artist friends as speedy kitmaking helpers.

FYI about Colleen Gray, founder of Art For Aid.

Colleen is a working artist. She often finances the shipping of supplies to First Nations up north with the sales of her own art. So I am doing likewise. Last time I donated to Art For Aid was thirty boxes of art supplies that my Beloved had used well and had held on to for many a year before he died.

This has been my stash busting report!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and thank you in advance for your generosity. I posted on FB tonight and got a few orders! Hooray!

Email me if you have any questions. I am on FB too, so you can PM me there or post on the blog.

My next post(s) will continue my reports on making art colours with two local plants – coreopsis and buckthorn. I have lots to tell you about these two and lots of pics.

Let’s end with another few pics of examples of what’s inside those kits: :

Coreopsis Love

Fall leaves and blooms are calling me…my extra freezer is empty of food and will hold mostly plant material this winter. Pretty soon, Ottawa will get its first killing frost and I am ready. I have started to collect stuff for winter pigment making. Just now, however, the Coreopsis verticillata is yet fresh and green and still parading its starry little yellow flowers; C. lanceolata is also green but without blooms and does not seem to be promising any more blooms this season. But you never know, with this weird weather.

The native coreopsis (and the related bidens) family is a traditional source of dye for many indigenous peoples of North and South America, giving rich red, orange and yellow. C. verticillata delivers a power of red-orange from the tip of its rooty toes to the top of its starry yellow head, and all through its rich, thready, green, spiky leaves.

The image above shows my 1-litre slow cooker at the ready to process cut-up Coreopsis verticillata for pigment extraction. Dear Reader: Are you ready for a coreopsis excursion to past encounters as well as some more colour adventures down the road?

Would you believe that a humble green and yellow plant could be hiding all this? I could not stop my eyes from popping:

Above is Coreopsis verticillata eco printed onto thin mulberry ( rice ) paper after mordanting with alum acetate in a cold water bath overnight. Below, coreopsis shows off redly with several other bright native and adapted companions from my June garden, ecoprinted onto another oriental paper (thrift store journal pages, not sure of the paper’s ID): magenta pink from Bee Balm ( Monarda didyma), blue from iris ( I. hybrida and I.siberica), greeny-yellow-brownish from sumac ( Rhus typhina) and odds and sods shades from Cotinus coggygria.

A fascinating thing about eco prints is that they reveal more than the eye can see when first meeting a plant where it grows. Art, like science, reveals the invisible. Note the iris prints from dark blue petals show up as purple, turquoise, green and light blue.

Next, coreo has been simply hammered onto cotton (using the “flower pounding” technique ). The deep red-orange colour comes via a coreo hybrid, “Route 66” . This cultivar is not as hardy as C. verticillata but worth its keep for a season in USDA Zone 4. The purple companion flower is a red pelargonium aka geranium, a red that prints purple. Accompanying a yellow that prints red.

Coreo v. performs beautifully here on linen ( mordanted with alum acetate) and is a divine partner for indigo’s blue; and here, the coreo leaves print kinda dark yellowish-orange

I have blogged in the past about pigment extraction from black walnut, blue iris and coreopsis as a solar dye. After putting coreopsis to the eco print test, and seeing that it Comes Through With Flying Colours (groan) every time, I wondered if now I might try to expand its repertoire by extracting its pigment to use as dye, paint, ink and/or print paste.

I readied myself for the unexpected. So this is what happened when I turned on the heat with coreopsis in the slow cooker.( The label on the hot pot refers to a previous occupant thereof and which I will report on here later this fall…I sometimes have more than one pot boiling )

After a couple of hours in hot ( not boiling, just slightly bubbling – plop plop; if you want more exactitude, my best guess is 180 degrees C ), water to cover ( about a litre) plus two teaspoons/10ml of alum acetate, the chopped-up coreo looked the colour of tomato soup. But lo, a thickish precipitate has fallen to the bottom of the pot and water sits on top. I was surprised and wondered how this state of affairs should be handled. Nothing anywhere about this in my fave refs.

After straining out the plants and then filtering the pot’s liquid contents through a paper coffee filter, I am looking at a glossy, loose, lump-free paste, similar to a not-to-stiff corn starch paste:

Decision time. [ I have plenty more coreopsis in the garden)

The paste is scraped off into a sterilised jar, some GAC 100 by Golden Paints is added as binder for flow and texture plus a couple of cloves for anti-mold.

Why the GAC? Just to see if it works to hold the paste together without further separation.

I get a good third of a cup of coreo paste then I squirt in a few teaspoons of GAC. Maybe it was tablespoons. Just to feel that the mix was “moveable” but not sloppy. Voila, coreopsis paint!

I try the paint on water colour paper, building up layers of colour [photographed with a blue napkin because that is the enhancing colour complement to orange):

But wait: we are not done with that batch of coreopsis.

There is still a lot of pigment left in the plant material – I can see the red dripping off it. I let it sit in the fridge overnight to drip. Back goes in the pot, with a bit more alum and a little less water than last time. Within an hour at medium heat, a lot more pigment:

After straining out the plant material, then filtering on coffee paper:

This time, I want only to dry the pigment to make powdered …what? Paint, ink, dye? TBD…

The pigment from the second extraction dries rather fast since there is less of it. I love the way it looks on that blue “Arabica” plate! I will leave it there overnight to dry completely, scrape the pigment into powder tomorrow and store it in a jar until the next coreopsis event.

Next time: Extracting pigment from buckthorn ( Rhamnus cathartica) .

I have been working on this, too.

This is a plant on the Canadian Most Despised Invasive Plant list – but historically, in the Europe of Painters, it was a source of paint derived from nature, and therefore, an MVP – a Most Valued Paint.

Meantime, here are a few of the references I will be consulting for my Close Encounters With Natural Colour this fall ( will also check my own blog because I forget what I wrote)

Until next time


Natural Inspirations

I am back! I had to cut my recent “Happy Canadian Thanksgiving” post off shortish because I was having a pain of a time with an older and clunkier WP editor …now I have discovered my error and am trying this editing platform direct from WP. So far, so good!

The point is: I can never be too thankful! When I find myself a tad stuck, I can look at the inspiration in the colours of the fall fruit market ( which harvest, BTW, is so abundant and tasty this year after our miserably hot summer – the peaches, o my…), and of course, never forgetting my fall garden:

Inspiring to see these same colours used with abandon by my eight year old grandson. We used old map paper that he painted, then folded to make an Origami wallet:

As I mentioned in my ( very recent) post, Stash Busting can be a source of inspiration, too.

Do you, like me, have a hoard of UFO’s, WIPs or project left-overs that you cannot bear to throw out and which you promise yourself will find New Life one day?

I have been working on that Sacred Stash all year, opening up boxes and repacking them with my new ideas of versions of future projects Continue reading

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Yes, dear Readers, I am still blogging, despite the long hiatus in posts. Welcome to all who have subscribed in the last year and to readers who just pop by for a look now and then. Thank you for your comments and your encouragement to keep on making art! I have much to be grateful for this year despite the obstacles. Today I want to tell you about that.

But not too much text from me just now – let us begin with a picture! Ottawa was hit by some destructive weather two weeks ago; my area was fortunate in that we only lost power for a few days. Others lost their homes. Miraculously, only a few  people were injured, thank God not more; alas,  one poor sheep died, along with a chicken. Many trees were uprooted, though.

Here is what it looked like in my living room a few hours after the power went out:


The skinny candles are burning on candlesticks made by Shlomo. Thank you, Shlomo!  Thanks to a charged-up iPad, I was able to read my iBooks until a kind neighbour-friend juiced it up again next day in a part of town unaffected by the power outage. TG! This fine neighbour has a gas stove that remained operational and allowed her to bring me coffee in the morning. A place must surely now be reserved in Heaven for her.

2018 has been a slow year for my art owing to injury to my art arm, the right. But it has come around finally, thanks to physio and cortisone shots…I am trying to get back in the studio more. Yet more to be grateful for.

On the Family Front: a wonderful suprise. My son and his Beloved of 12 years decided to get married officially. Attended by our families (including their own two kids), we had a wedding!

I love the photo of the ladies with The Bride in their beautiful wedding clothes and delighted smiles. My Hannah and Sarah are R and L of the bride. And check out 2 year old Ezra with his little cousin negotiating the consumption of his chips…you would think he was proposing…but my fave is the one with the little cousins and the Bride and Groom making silly faces. O, it was a happy day!

I made small artworks for the table: little paste-painted place cards in the form of a single-signature book, pamphlet sewn, for each guest; the  cards were housed  in keepsake slipcases covered in eco dyed silk printed with iris blooms ( a stash treasure). Guests were invited to write their good wishes and of course, the kids got to draw and colour.


On the art show side of things: I am delighted to have some of my FRESCO wall art pieces on show at the new Ottawa Art Gallery- a fabulous new City of Ottawa venue for local and other artists. FRESCO is a series of eco dyed works ( indigo and rust) invoking the experience of finding beauty in decay and decomposition. Here is an example of a collection of smaller works in the series:


Now a few pics of the garden, my refuge as well as my source of plants for pigments: it is fall now and time to collect and freeze the dye plants.

My fall dye work is starting: it is black walnut time! This year, I plan to make ink again ( in the past, I have made ink from blue iris, walnut and coreopsis) but will try some new plants. Meanwhile:




Four cups of water, cooked in the slow cooker on low overnight. Cooks down to one cup, which will be strained in cheesecloth then cooked down some more. Then add a wee spoon of gum arabic – et voila, ink! Or let the the strained and cooked-down dye evaporate, then store the powder. The squirrels and I thank the Creator for the bounty of walnuts!

Finally for this LONG post, I leave you with some of the books  have been reading this year – all at once, of  course. They lie all over the house at the ready ( note the visual pun…)


And a selfie – I have let my hair go as nature would have it ( much cheaper and less annoying than visiting the hairdresser)

Happy Thanksgiving to all and thank you for following. Next time, maybe I will have remembered better how to navigate the wordpress editor!

I have an renewal of my blog and website happening on the back burner so hope that will be done in the next few months – and at the same time, I am destashing My Stuff- and the studio Sacred Stash is not exempt this time around. Will report on how  the Stash can fuel creativity.

Meantime I have found excellent info and so far respectful sharing on a FB page Printing With Botanicals ( I think that is the title of the group). They are up on the latest Tricks and Tips for eco prints- check them out!

Blessings on your work and play, dear Readers. Click on the pics to see close-ups


D8B908E9-D773-40BC-A830-9EE3D58971C2The fall garden