As most creative souls know, art supply stores are awesome and there is nothing more exciting than receiving a parcel with the desired goodies for the next art project! There is nothing you can’t get, especially in online shops, for any art form you can imagine. Creative souls will also know that it is not cheap, especially when you live in a beautiful yet isolated country like New Zealand/Aotearoa, with a limited selection of art supplies in great quality and for a reasonable price. I used to spend lots of money for art goodies; most products imported from overseas, wrapped in lots of plastic and with often exorbitant shipping costs.

Since I am lucky to live close to the bush and having the opportunity to go for extended walks on a regular base, I am finding it more and more convenient to make use what Tane, the god of the forests and birds, has to offer. All it costs is a bit of time (time that I then save searching through gazillions of internet art supply pages, comparing offers and prices). Time to walk, time to observe, foraging for treasures such as seedpods, leaves, vines, barks, feathers, grasses – you name it!

I haven’t got the expectation that my work needs to last for the next 1000 or so years. I am enjoying the process of making, which includes foraging through the local bush (and sometimes the beach) looking for whatever catches my eye at the moment. It’s exciting to find new things, the more you look the more you see. Joyful, nurturing, relaxing plus a good amount of exercise in fresh air.

There is only one rule I try to follow! I only get what I can carry with two hands, unless I gather materials such as harakeke to prepare for storage, or things like acorns which are only available in a certain time of the year. Making sure I am doing my little karakia (Maori prayer) to thank Tane for his kind offerings.

Great my neigbours are getting used to see me carrying (or dragging) fallen birds nests, old harakeke stalks (korari), leaves and branches along the road. No need to be suspicious. I am happy.