WIP Wednesday: Spooky Kitties

Halloween Cat Bunting spans about seven feet... perfect for our built-in book shelves.
Halloween Cat Bunting spans about seven feet… purrfect for our built-in book shelves.

These past two days have felt like an entire week. Fall is such a busy time for magazine publishing as issues are crammed with booze, holiday, and winter travel advertising. I am busy printing, knitting, and bookbinding for Luna Market and other fall and holiday maker markets while my work days have become increasingly busy.

Nine hand-printed Halloween Cat heads are strung on seven feet of black hemp twine. Drawn and carved by hand.
Nine hand-printed Halloween Cat heads are strung on seven feet of black hemp twine. Drawn and carved by hand.

Yesterday was a particularly problem-solving kind of day. I carved this block on Sunday knowing I would come home to a quiet house last night to print, trim, and string this Halloween Cat bunting was just what I needed. Sometimes a little project just for fun is the balm I need to soothe my overworked brain.

This project has me in the mood to watch some witchy movies this weekend.

October is just around the corner and that means lots of celebrations at Chez Vee*.

* Chez Vee (for Van Landingham) is what I’ve named our charming red cottage style home.

Megan Stuart: The Five Question Interview

Megan Stuart is a mixed media artist and Twisted Garage Art Studio, owner. Megan is a long-time downtown Elgin resident and is an active member of the Elgin community. You will find her volunteering for many art-related events… don’t be surprised if she hits you up to volunteer.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

The housing market led me to Elgin in 1989. Humorously, at the time, I was appalled by the costs of a small bungalow in Travis Heights and Hyde Park in Austin. Now, they are sky high! But I do enjoy living in downtown Elgin and have made many great friends here! And I am thrilled so many artists are moving to this area!

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

It makes me happy. I feel a need to create. Some people make music, some write, some dance. I need to create something with my hands. I become completely absorbed. I enjoy the process of making changes and seeing where they take me. My initial idea may wharf into an entirely different idea by the time it is all over. Or several new ideas. And then, it keeps on going. It is very relaxing for me. I also spend a lot of time researching oddball things, so it becomes educational as well!

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

A lot has happened in the past five years. The pandemic definitely added challenges that we did not face before. Politics have everyone on the defense.

  1. We are all scared/uneasy about something. 
  2. It is so much easier if we help each other, so reach out to someone. Be that person. I knew this before, but it is so important now.
  3. It is okay to end that toxic relationship, even if it is family. Enough is enough.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I am currently working on my Life Trophy series (mixed media) and “pierced” hearts (paper clay). I just finished reading The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. I am also actively involved in The Elgin Arts Association, the Explore Elgin Arts and Culture event, and the Dia de Los Muertos festival.

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake, chocolate cake!

Tessa McDonald: The Five Question Interview

Tessa McDonald hails from the great state of Alaska. After serving in the U.S. Army she relocated to Texas. She owns and lives on Green Woman Farm amid an edible forest she is cultivating with her husband. With the aid of their sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, guineas, and turkeys they are regenerating the land without pesticides. Tessa’s interest in studying best practices in harvesting and preserving herbs led her to create hand rolled Incense, blended herbal teas, herbal extracts, and dried herbs grown on the farm. 

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I found my love for gardening quickly outgrew my backyard and wanted to start a farm with an lots of animals and an edible forest. I fell in love with Elgin’s downtown and how close knit everyone was like back home. After we settled, we quickly noticed we made the right choice with our community and don’t plan on ever leaving.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

The need to discover is what got me on my journey of gardening, herbal remedies, & tea brewing. Many people don’t know how much one herb can help with so many problems, so I started to explore this and the many methods of preservation. I wanted to be able to take a small seed, and make that plant into natural cleaning supplies, dried herbs, soaps, extracts, anything my imagination could make. I take time to study, fertilize, and grow my plants. I put them to good use, and surprise myself a lot with the things I make and what can survive here.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I think my biggest lesson is learning when to stop. Farming is a nonstop job, but the need to slow down and rest is also just as important.

My second thing would be stuff doesn’t happen on my time. Mother nature will send us winter storms, spring hail, and sometimes drought and we have to move with it, not against it.

My third would be to let go, sometimes a plant or project cant be saved and you just need to yeet it & start from scratch and that’s just the circle of life.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

So my current thing to do is binge watch tv at night while I roll incense. I just watched Ink Master and I’ve moved on to watching Greys Anatomy. I’m harvesting my collection of culinary and medicinal herbs to dry out and putting them to use in incense, oils, vinegars, teas, & extracts. As for music, I constantly have some blasting on the farm while I work, so mostly Electronic Dance music so my goats get a mini rave. My current favorite songs are My Best Life by KSHMR and Legacy by the Sidh. As for what I’m nose deep in reading, I got this new book the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies that’s inspiring me to expand the herb garden once again.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie… and I know this won’t win me southern points but I love pumpkin.

Learn more about Tessa and Green Woman Farm…

Instagram @greenwomanfarm20

Website greenwomanfarm

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