Archives for posts with tag: Business

YES! We did it! We opened our doors to the public…

in the midst of the celebration

On November 5th, we had a  party and business-launch and vernissage of art! It was a fabulous evening.

We are proud and happy to announce that we are HERE. You can join us!

Tammy is available for full consultations and mini consultations.  Please email tammy.schmidt.herbalist@gmail.com to book an

Tammy Schmidt, CHT

appointment. Her herbal dispensary is stocked and beautiful.

Tammy is also excited to announce a series of really cool workshops this winter.  Would you like more information?  Email fleurbain@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter.

private or drop-in painting classes with Natasha Henderson

Natasha is in Fleurbain during regular gallery hours, 3pm to 6pm Tuesday through Sunday. She also is hosting a variety of drop-in and pre-registered workshops in painting, feltmaking, and other creative endeavours. Please call 514-504-3290 or email fleurbain@gmail.com for more details!

Natasha Henderson, BFA

The beautiful Espace Fleurbain is ready for you…

Talk to us about hosting your event, about space rental, about your verdant ideas about life in the city.

elderberries, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves & elderflowers, yarrow, peppermint

Elderberry syrups are everywhere these days.

I love the fact that these products are available but I often wince at the price tag.  It is like anything though, you are paying for the convenience and the availability… and maybe a touch of hype?  I know how to make elderberry syrup, and I can tell you that it is not very expensive to make.   It’s no wonder that this syrup is in demand: elderberries are anti-inflammatory, relaxingly diaphoretic, antiviral against many viruses and a wee bit laxative in regular doses.  These little berries are helpful in cases of colds, sore throats and flus.

I like to keep elderberries on-hand. One of the advantages in doing so is that I do not have always make a syrup.  I can make a decoction of the berries, and then add little honey. Sometimes I forego the honey, since  it’s important to avoid sugar; too much sugar gives my immune system a lot to deal with. This will ultimately set me back.  On the other hand, there is a disadvantage to avoiding sugars in herbal preparations. In this case, an elderberry decoction has a much shorter shelf life – like between 24 and 72 hours – if kept in the fridge.  I add honey and make an elder berry syrup in cases where I want a longer shelf life, if I am dealing with people who are new to herbal remedies, or who have sensitive palates.

Elderberry Syrup

The most basic syrup is elderberries simmered for a long while in water, then squished, strained and composted. Add honey to the final decoction.  As always, I can add all sorts of tasty and useful ingredients to make it my own lil’ creation.

First Step

1/2 cup dried elderberries (50 grams)

3 cups of water

In a sauce pan, bring cold water and berries to a boil, then slowly simmer until it is reduced to 1/2 the amount, between one cup and one and a half cups.

Second Step: Squish the berries to release the juice, Strain with a strainer lined with cheese cloth.  Compost the berries.

Third Step: Mix 1 cup of raw honey into the hot decoction.  Sometimes I add tinctures, like 50 ml of echinacea.

Fourth Step: Put the syrup into a suitable container with a tight fitting lid, making sure that there is not a lot of head space.  Label clearly, note ingredients, suggested uses and the date it was made. Use within 2-3 months (before the end of the winter).

How I use the syrup: I take a teaspoon of the syrup several times a day if I am fighting a cold or flu because it will generally decrease the severity and duration of the illness.  It is nice to stir it into a tea… perhaps the elderflower, mint and yarrow tea?

The decoction: Take 1 tablespoon of the berries and put in a sauce pan with 2 cups of cold water.  Add fresh ginger or cinnamon if you would like.  Slowly simmer this until it is reduced by half or for a half an hour.  Remove from the heat.  If you want, add a teaspoon or two of dried leaves and flowers to this (yarrow, mint, elderflower) and steep for 10 minutes before straining everything.  This might seem like a strong brew, so I take a 1/4 cup every couple hours.  I drink other tea and water in addition to this because I know that I want to get a lot of fluids into my system when I am fighting something.

THE DIY elderberry syrup kit!

Take the ingredients of your choosing and put them in a little muslin bag.  Or put them in a cute jar that could hold the syrup after it is ready made.  Attach clear instructions on how to make, use and store this syrup.  Add a little container of ye olde traditional blend of peppermint, elderflower and yarrow. Decorate as desired.  The ready made syrup is a nice gift too.  I like the dried berries and such because it is easier to transport and people have the choice of making a decoction without sweetener or a syrup.

optional additions:

1 stick of cinnamon , 5 cloves, 3 crushed cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon echinacea root, 1/4 tsp ginger powder, a few slices of raw ginger

*glycerites of elderberry are also wonderful.

** the elderberries I am referring to are Sambucus nigra and Sambucus canadensis.  Be sure to know what berries you are working with.  The red berry elders are toxic.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

by Natasha Henderson, Montreal

In This World solo exhibition in BC a few years back

As some of you may know, I am a painter. I paint in oils, which are a lush and rich material. Pigment is suspended in oil, it slowly dries, it holds its body and texture and translucency… it is like painting with light. Who wouldn’t want to paint with light? It sounds like magic, like miracles. Like painting with rainbows. You layer this suspended pigment over other layers of suspended pigment, time passes, it dries so slowly… slowly. Because of the intensely slow drying time of oils, many artists add in products and other things that are not oil to make the oil dry a bit faster. Up until very recently, and then starting again yesterday, I used Alkyd Medium. There are a few options out there for that stuff, and I use the Gamblin one. With this “goo”, a layer of paint will be pretty much dry within a day. This is important for an artist who is always inspired to paint, and who sells her paintings to make a large chunk of her living. We’re talking practicalities, here. (Don’t even get me started on the feeling I get when I think about the painters who have come before me, the links to a shared history and a huge family of painters. Maybe some other time I will wax historical and poetic about that.)

I take issue, though, with needing to buy “product” in order to paint. I am even leaning away from the idea of using store-bought pigments. With my friend, Tammy the Herbalist, I have been discussing natural dyes and pigments. I like the idea of gathering plants and natural substances and using them to make my own paints.

Bucka! Bucka!

I recently saw (and was very moved by) the Otto Dix show at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal. Otto Dix would use mixed media in his paintings, and lots of egg tempera. I want to paint with egg tempera! It is an age-old method of applying pigments to canvas. Why not? I would start with buying free-range eggs for the paint, and, hoping that the bylaw to allow chickens on the Island of Montreal will pass, one day might raise my own hens for egg-eating and paint-making!

Cluck 'N' Lurt, my cartoon chickens (Lurt is the round one)

I had chickens when I was a kid, an illegal arrangement in a small town. My Dad always wanted a farm, and this was as close as he could get. My neighbours enjoyed very cheap, excellent eggs for many years, ’til a newbie blew the whistle. Anyhow, I am interested in using a mixture of eggs, oils, and natural pigments that I would mix in glass jars all by myself. No more need to buy things in throw-away tubes, no more throw-away glass with resin hardened to the inside of it.

I had my first urge to go Herbal in my painting a couple of years back. While perusing all the little bottles of “stuff” that one could add to their paints at a major art-supply store, I saw a bottle of “Oil of Spike Lavender”. In with the toxic paint mediums was one of my all-time favorite scents/tastes/herbs. Lavender… oooh! So I bought it, thinking that it would add a lovely working-smell to my paints. It does, it did. However, I finally did read the small print (come to think of it, it’s all small print on this little tiny bottle) and what? What? It contains a petroleum product, and they actually say to not breathe the fumes. I will use Oil of Lavender in my works, in the future… just it will be a more pure extract!

Lavender... can't you just smell this???

A part of my rationale for change is based on health, outside of environmental concerns. I know I’d need to be careful about loose pigments, and I would buy a respirator. If I succumbed to buying loose pigment from the loose-pigment place, Kama, then I would most certainly do this. I would stop using cadmium and cobalt, no question about THAT one.

What changes will happen within my work? Only time will tell. Time will always be an internal and eternal aspect of painting, and especially of oil painting. Like many changes, this should be pretty exciting and a challenge.

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