larch needles newsletter 9/2
hello everyone! i'm writing to you at the very beginning of september. between searching for a new studio, moving in, and doing my first dozen or so appointments, it feels like the summer months went by in a flash. i hope you all have been enjoying the subtle but undeniable shift in seasons. i've been savoring the end of the swimming season, and reveling in the abundant flowering of loosestrife, goldenrod, and zinnias. the brief spells of cool air have me yearning for autumn. at home, a corner of the kitchen counter has been overtaken by fermenting jugs of chokecherry wine, buckthorn berry ink is simmering on the stove.
while out foraging with a dear friend of mine last week, i encountered possibly the largest bald-faced hornets' nest i've ever seen, overhanging a sandy beach at the river's edge - close to a foot-and-a-half tall, and thrumming with the beautiful and terrifying insects. i don't think vespids get nearly enough credit for their craftsmanship. bald-faced hornets in particular create their nests out of the most incredible paper, built layer-by-layer from chewed-up wood pulp. each type of wood results in a band of a different color, ranging from tan to stone-grey to chestnut to pale green. i've made several drawings inspired by the patterns in the paper. despite being so fragile, it takes water incredibly well, and is fun to paint on with ink or watercolor. i look forward to returning to collect the empty nest once its inhabitants have died off with the frost.
in other news, i recently published the first two posts on my substack page, where i'll be publishing poetry and prose on a monthly basis (totally free to subscribe). i have a huge backlog of poems waiting to see the light of day, and a few essay ideas i've very excited to work on in the near future.
i've been working on a new series of flash pieces, since a number of people expressed interest in seeing more flash from me. these are mostly pared-down versions of earlier concepts. each piece comes with a predetermined size and price range (measurements are approximate and can be adjusted within reason). i know the improvisational quality of freehand work is not to everyone's taste, so i'm hoping that these pieces will be more accessible to some folks. here are the first eight, with more to come soon!
this piece was done freehand based on a drawing from last summer, depicting a kind of non-flowering plant known as fan clubmoss, or running cedar. clubmosses are an ancient family of plants, which have changed very little (except in size) since the carboniferous era, when they dominated earth's landscape alongside ancient horsetails and ferns. now they lie low on the forest floor, snaking through the undergrowth on their runners.
8/28, root system
i was so excited to do my first blastover piece, and i couldn't be happier with how this turned out. i look forward to seeing how this heals, as the contrast between the old and new tattoos diminishes. i'd certainly love to do more work like this in the future.
as mentioned earlier, horsetails are another living fossil from earth's primeval history. they are generally regarded as a weed, and it wasn't until learning about them in a botany class that i actually paid enough attention to the undergrowth to notice them. once i did, i was enamored with their architecture - particularly early in their growth cycle, when they haven't yet fully unfurled.
september: i had a cancellation recently so i can fit in another appointment or two this month. possible dates: 9/10, 9/14, 9/15, 9/28, 9/29. no more customs, though - just flash or freehand.
october: wide open, plenty of spots available! however, i won't be booking anything on my birthday (10/25) or the weekend before (10/23-10/24).