Traditional Land Crafts

By 22nd June 2022 June 24th, 2022 Creative Practice

I spent a good chunk of today in the library, reading and researching to support my next MA Module (which is about presenting new research and critical thinking by way of a presentation, a journal article and vivas).

I had two main things I wanted to know a bit more about today; firstly, practical instructions of how to work with the land using traditional methodologies (think Traditional Ecological Knowledge, aka. TEK) and then how other artists have worked with the Land. I started writing things out but to be honest it’s going to be better for me to collate everything digitally in one place.

I found the exact books I needed after asking on Reddit and asked the library to order them in for me… but because they’re small-print indie publishers they said they couldn’t and ordered these (above, except the tree one) instead. Unfortunately, they’re not what I needed. I want practical instructions – in the experiential archeology sense – but these were basically more of a history with very limited instructional value. I grabbed the tree book as it was alongside the book about fields, hedges and ditches in the hope it’d offer a bit more on lore or TEK, but nay!

Some interesting/relevant bits in some of them though…

Cottage Garden (Way, T., 2011. Cottage Garden. Shire Library.)

  • 1893 – “seed distribution was sometimes seen as a starting point for the formation of a local horticultural or cottage-garden society, providing that initial spark of interest”… feels relevant to the thing I have about seeds? About sparking interest in getting involved with nature? Made me think about organising a seed swap in February/March time as part of my practice.

Witches and Witchcraft (Nash, D., 2014. Witches and Witchcraft. Shire Library, pp.pg. 5-7.)

  • Re-enchantment = “a distrust of wholly rational explainations of the world and universe which has reawakened interests in more magical outlooks’
  • the idea of nature ‘turning against us’ – “Just as numerous economic, social and cultural strains in the early modern period made people believe in irrational power, so today, our faith in the benevolence of science is now weakened”
  • ‘widdershins’ = term for counter-clockwise or left-handed. One to enter into my vocabulary!

I also photocopied some diagrams of how to build a basic drystone wall and create an earth charcoal kiln as these were the only two instructional things in the entire series of books! There was also a list of Victorian flowers in the Cottage Garden book, which I photocopied as a reference list of native and naturalised British plants.

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