Looking Forward

More than a year of living “covidly”. It helps me to look forward with hope if I look back to show myself how I have actually made it to Spring 2021 at last. I took a lot of photos. I will just let the pictures remind us both, Reader and Author, that love of handwork and creativity have not been cancelled, and in fact, these two may have been a main means of spiritual and psychological wellbeing during this pestilence, especially when we have been able to share them with like-minded creatives.

In sum: I made a lot of inks from the plants I grew or foraged, ending 2020/21 with a basic Palette of the Year; swatched the inks obsessively on paper and cloth: learned how to make lakes from dye baths (to make watercolour paints); made artist book structures as record keepers for my ink-and-paint adventures; wrote a few articles for publication; gave a few Zoom presentations on making inks from natural sources; joined my fellow local artists in a successful fall studio tour; offered inks and art for sale and most gratefully shipped stuff out of the studio; worked with other art groups to donate Art Kits to our neighbours who obtain support from local Food Banks; participated in a local book arts project; and connected with friends and family, near and far by Zoom.

And about those Zooms that at first we might have cursed and struggled to navigate: my art record keeping now extends beyond little Artist Books to marks on a dropcloth that covered my worktable during those many, many zooms with real people that actually did much to save my sanity in the lockdowns. That’s when the doodles and pen-and-brush-wipings look more interesting than the art you make…

Wendy taking picture of Wendy taking picture, May 2020.

Above, starting top L: Basic colours, inks palette 2020/21; large swatches with ink bottles and dye bath filter papers; avocado pinks dye bath filter papers; buckthorn yellow dye drying on filter paper; wild grape laked pigment pre-mulling; frozen and dried 2020 calendula (R); coreopsis (L) j

My studio “show room” (aka former back porch) for the fall 2020 West End Studio Tour

Little swatch book, folded structure.

The watercolours in the pans above are historic paints common to the Renaissance palette. I made these in a workshop some years ago with Genevieve Samson, curator of medieval mss. at Archives Canada. On Gen’s invitation, I made Sap Green ( from blue iris) for this workshop, to complete the palette. The other colours are made from ground up rocks mostly; the Sap (iris) Green was the only plant-based colour and not available fresh, of course, via Kremer Pigmente in NY. NB: the green inks shown above are from buckthorn ( Rhamnus cathartica), also a source of historic Sap Green (See elsewhere on this blog for how to make historic iris green.) Other mineral watercolours and pigments shown are gifts from friends.

Lots of books during the covid – most of them only partly read, started in the middle, read from the back, etc etc…

A Zoom-time Doodle – inspired by the doodling monks who illustrated the Book of Kells

Thank you, Dear Reader, for having made it this far in my ” annual report” ! Welcome to all my new readers and thank you to all who have been following along …and maybe wondering…

You can also find more inky etc info on my Instagram @wendy_feldberg; you can also scroll far down this page to see my Insta feed. I have checked out of Twitter; my FB is link acting up and I DO NOT CARE. For the mo, Instagram, Zoom and Face Time are more than enough for me.


I have a little shop @stromnesslass on Instagram.
There I post updates on my work and inks for sale. I have been slow to post new work and inks etc there because I have been worried about the mail. But it seems to be more reliable these days so I will be adding more work there soon.

Meanwhile: Good health to us all!

And every blessing on the work of your hands as well as the desires of your heart.

  • From Wendy