My name is Valerie, and I’m a pine-scented, acorn-gathering, dew-drenched, misty-eyed wood walker.
I’ve had the great fortune to spend part of every summer on a small granite island on Lake Muskoka in beautiful southern Ontario. It is there, taking walks in the peaceful, sun-dappled pine forest, that I learned early on to love and deeply respect Nature. When I hear the trees and wildflowers, moss and fungi, birds, deer and bees beckon, I heed their call. I take to the woods with camera and gathering basket, walking slowly and looking closely to discover what marvels nestle amongst the ferns. After an afternoon’s leisurely ramble, my memory card bears hundreds of images of the woods’ wonders, and my basket holds reclaimed treasures: shed branches, cones and bark, forgotten feathers, pretty pebbles, driftwood and weathered beach glass. I love turning these, as well as elemental metals such as copper, bronze, aluminum and brass, into rustic yet refined wearables and accessories. They are gifts from the gentle Earth, each with its own story to tell.
Many other arts have captivated me, too: cross-stitch, knitting and sewing, leathercrafting, basketry, knotwork, calligraphy, watercolors and other mixed-media and digital art. There’s always something new to learn and many more things I’d like to try!
I’m also fascinated by medicinal and culinary plants and their uses throughout history by women far wiser than me. I love experimenting with traditional folk recipes using simple ingredients such as herbs and spices, beeswax, honey and other organics. The best part is sharing the fragrant and therapeutic results with family and friends!
When I’m not wood-wandering, crafting in the studio or working on my nature and still-life photography, I’m reading, writing and dreaming of the mist-shrouded ways of the Old Ones: the Celts and Vikings, Robin Hood and Herne the Hunter, Tolkien, the Dark Ages, apothecaries, cauldrons and bonfires, standing stones and portals of the Wee Folk!