Updated: Mar 24
By doing what you love you inspire and awaken the hearts of others!
As it turned out, this was to be my mission in 2020, the year of COVID-19, when I started Auntie Caryl’s Art and Herbs.
As a visual artist, I work in community most of the time. I work with people and organizations to create innovative solutions to community challenges, celebrate the strength of their communities, work towards a healthy environment, or promote food sustainability. As often as not, we collaborate outdoors in the natural environment as a tool for balance, health and wellness.
Most of that work has been done in person, often outdoors. Often the work has required bringing together people with different perspectives who find themselves with a common concern, or passion, or love, or challenge. Collectively, with creativity and art as the tool, we’re able to uncover common ground. Then we can devise ways to leverage the commonalities, gain insight, and create solutions.
This is my passion. It’s my love. It’s my work. It’s my life. So when things closed down in March 2020, like the whole nation and the world I had to “pivot.” I pivoted to sharing my energy with community in new ways, which could be created in my home, in my studio, and in my garden. Enter Auntie Caryl’s Art and Herbs.
Auntie Caryl’s Art and Herbs: A Wonderful New Tangent
Weaving together my passion for art, medicinal plants, and gardening is actually not a new thing. This blending has been in my study and my practice for many years. (Look at my work.)
And this year, my trio of passions was reflected in lovingly growing herbs, and getting more and more connected with nature in the garden every day. Suddenly I had all this time in which to indulge myself in the garden - my Gratitude Garden in Clinton, Maryland. I got to lavish love on the plants and the insects, the soil and the birds -- and even the animals that came every day to try to eat what I was growing. This finally led to a blending of the gardening and the art into a single project: Auntie Caryl’s Art and Herbs.
Auntie Caryl’s first offering was the 2020 Winter Wellness Kit.
The Kit came in a box, filled with bounty from Gratitude Garden. It had herbs for cooking, steaming and infusion, rubbing on the body, and drinking as tonic and tea.
The project became a collaboration when I met Li of Li's Botanicals in California last March. Li is also an herbalist, a farmer, and an artist; and we have developed a beautiful collaborative friendship.
The first shipment turned out to be a total of 25 Kits that we were able to fully stock. They came with summer/fall herbs as well as skin care products -- and, of course, the art that we each created. There will be art in every box.
I created each piece of art especially for those who supported our work by purchasing the first Kit.
Looking Forward and Working with Friends
Now, one year later in March 2021, the winter seems to be breaking and I’ve already got the seeds for this year’s Gratitude Garden planted indoors.
The excitement of the season is setting in - I am anxious for the sprouting of those seeds, and being able to nourish them and watch and help them grow in 2021.
So, Auntie Caryl’s has given me a way to bring together my art and herb practices - in a natural sort of unity.
Collaboration is likely to remain a central part of Auntie Caryl’s Art & Herbs, because collaboration has been my life. Going forward, I would like to curate some of the herbs, tonics, lotions, and potions that I most love, from some of my favorite herb growers and artists. They will be from gardens across the United States, and I’m excited to share them with you.
The art in the Kit is mixed-media, on handmade paper. The paper fiber is from plants grown in Gratitude Garden. I’m looking forward to inspiration from the garden in this year for the art that will be in the 2021 Spring Solstice Wellness Kit.
The Kits will be pegged to the growing season. The next Kits ship near the end of June, 2021. We're already taking orders! Please send me an email to reserve your Kit.
From the Heart, YARD ART!
Here's what I've been working on while on winter hiatus from the garden.
These spirit sticks, garden signs and wind chimes call positive energy from the sun, the wind, the soil and the water that will bless your garden and outdoor spaces during this growing season.
They are meant to add color to your garden, under a tree, on a porch or along a fence. A stake can be added to place in the ground for a free standing artwork in your garden. Add a hanger to dress up a porch, fence, or wall. Or you can simply lean them against the wall on a porch or by a tree or fence.
The artworks are created from sticks and “found” wood pieces. They are painted with the same kinds of weather-resistant acrylic paint and sealer that I use for murals. No two are alike! The samples shown are examples -- to show my design style and likely colors.
Stock is available now, or place a custom order! (I'll need those custom orders early, please!) Email me and let’s talk about it.
Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.