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someone give me a manual to plan out my growth please
Kaliko Journal is a free newsletter about natural dyeing, textiles, art practice, and life by Ania Grzeszek. This publication is divided into two sections: ”Plant Dyeing” and “Studio Practice”. You can manage your subscription by clicking “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email and opting IN and OUT of the sections that interest you. This is also where you can pledge your financial support for this publication, which would help me continue to sustain it.
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My dye garden ritual always starts in late February / early March. The first seeds I start as a preculture are always woad seeds. I take them out of their seed pods, place them on wet kitchen towels for a few days until they germinate, and, once they sprout tiny leaves, I carefully plant them into the soil. About a month later it is time for to sow weld, marigold and hollyhock onto compost trays. I patiently wait for the last frost and once it’s safe, I replant them outside. I watch them slowly get tall and bushy. Sometime around late April or May the seeds of coreopsis and chamomile are ready to wake up to a new season. They gracefully grow over the next months until they all bless me with beautiful homegrown colors. And then sometime around late summer or early fall my beautiful plants start to wilt or dry. I collect the seeds they produced, label them and know the next February or March the cycle will start again.
How uncomplicated and reassuring. The predictability of this cycle, the certainty of when it’s time to start planting seeds, dictated by a manual in my hand. It struck me recently, that I yearn for that kind of certainty in my life.
I stayed in my winter for a few years and allowed myself some rest after an exhausting season of growing my business. Wintering… Like every good metaphor, when I extend it, it takes me to the next stage—waking up from the hibernation and planting new seeds. Sounds only reasonable.
But is it already my time to plant new seeds? I didn't come with a manual for cultivating my growth. How long do I let my ideas germinate? What kind of bloom will grow off it anyway? And do I also have to prune anything at all? All I know is this winter is really long and I am getting impatient. I think I might be ready to change things, and I also allow the possibility I am not. No manual in my hand this time!
Two weeks ago I spontaneously decided I will simply throw some metaphorical seeds onto the soil and let myself be surprised. Maybe nothing will grow. I won’t know if I won’t try. So I sent out some application and within a few days I got an offer. Next week I am starting a new part-time office (!) job in the art management sector. I don’t know what to expect, I don’t know if I’ll like it, I don’t know if I’ll be good at it. I know I won’t know if I won’t try. It’s a 20h / week I dedicate to finding out. It’s a low stakes trial, as I keep my small business and my studio because I don’t feel confident to prune anything just yet—or maybe ever.
One thing I am afraid of is that this is a false start. Maybe I should winter some more?
I passed some beautiful cherry trees on my way home today. It’s February and they bloom already. They tried blooming in December, too, climate change confuses them every year. Then the frost came and they had to give up for a while. But you know what? They are ok now, they simply try again, and, in a few weeks time, they will be perfect and they will be beautiful like they always are. So maybe I shouldn’t worry? Or maybe all these metaphors should land in a bin because I am not a plant, I am a person.
Next Monday is my first day at the office so I am most probably going to skip the newsletter then. I might have to switch to a fortnightly schedule permanently, but, as said, I don’t know what to expect yet. I am also pondering keeping parts of this publication paywalled to help me justify the time and effort I put into it but I will decide it once I find my footing. For now, wish me luck!
In case you missed it:
you can order dye seeds from me, they come with a PDF manual for starting, cultivating, harvesting and extracting the color
next Intro to Plant Dyeing Workshop is scheduled for March 4th. On March 18th I teach a Natural Tie-Dye class. You can also schedule a private class for up to 5 people or a team event for up to 12 people at your location, just message me
my recent tutorial can be found here:
I highly appreciate you and hope you’re having a good day!
Until next time,
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