Archives for posts with tag: pigments

a participant during Nuit Blanche in Griffintown trys out Snow Painting

This past weekend during the Montreal High Lights Festival, we participated in Nuit Blanche in the Griffintown Cultural Corridor. It was a great deal of fun to put our recent experiments in Herbal Snow Painting to the test.

Despite the cold, we had many keen public participants join us in creating some snow paintings!

the first image was a tree with robins on a hill

We began the day with a large canvas; on this we painted a tree and birds using alkanet and plantain, cabbage, nettles, blueberry, turmeric, coffee, beets, and hibiscus. We moved the activity along the expanse of our large snow-hill, stenciling some simple leaf-shapes in amongst the poles and pilons that poked up through the snow. This intervention would hopefully give people pause on their daily walks.

The Community Participation area was a lot of fun to fill with boldly painted graphic designs.

a participant paints a snowy garden

There was a little shed at the end of this (regularly a parking lot) space, and it housed a fibre arts installation. The fibre artists in this shed were a little frustrated that people were not making their way to their exhibit, so we went about remedying that problem.

leaves amongst the poles

Patterned, stenciled leaves, boldly painted arrows, and beautiful colours glowing in the snow enticed people to enter this parking-lot space. They could see that it wasn’t just barren and empty; it was alive and vibrant with activity, colour, and interesting smells!

Tammy used a delicate touch to pour elderberries, then sprayed hibiscus... a dash of Love

We encouraged people to try out snow painting for themselves, and we had many takers. Some very beautiful temporary paintings were made that day, and we took great joy in documenting the activity.

an herbal graffitist...

We will be continuing with our Snow Paintings. We will paint around the city, and host some workshops on the subject in the very near future (before the snow melts!)

One concern we have with sharing the work in public, is that unsuspecting people might assume that the work was made with toxic spraypaints. To deal with this, in the future we will tag our creations with a stenciled “fleurbain” signature, and the words “herbal pigments”.

Hopefully over time people will recognise this means that the pigments we use are not only non-toxic and natural, but are even downright edible.

dribbled heart

Keep your eyes open, Montreal, for renegade Snow Paintings… and keep your eyes on our Workshops Page for upcoming events!

To see the full album of photos from this day, go to our facebook page.

spiral and leaves

universal herbalism

pilon button

the impermanence of plant pigments on snow contrast well with the bright lights of an electric city

tasting the paint... normally you can't do this with paint.

Natasha Henderson and Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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Pigments for sale on market stall, Goa, India.

imagine pigments combined with snow... layered in the cold

Exciting times are ahead; this February 26th from about 5pm to 9pm (thorough details will come later…) we (Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, artist) will be participating in Nuit Blanche as part of the Montreal High-Lights Festival!

Our objective: to paint in an unusual way, using nature within the city. We will be painting using natural pigments; pigments that are not synthetic nor harmful for the earth. The body of the paint, as well as the canvas, will be snow and maybe ice. We will invite the public to add to our Snow-Painting, and to learn a little about the natural, herbal-based pigments that we will be using.

This project will be the second joint-venture of “fleurbain”; the first being the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend: Valentine workshops planned for February 11-12. Needless to say, Tammy and Natasha are excited to be able to share their knowledge about herbalism and the arts, and add to the cultural life in Montreal!

Raspberries

Raspberries!

One day a guy tried to sell me a supplement made from the red colour that is naturally occurring in raspberries.  At the time, I laughed and laughed. Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits, why would I start taking them in a capsules and miss out on the full experience of tasting them?

Many people take supplements of particular parts of plants.  Research has helped state the benefits of these plant constituents in a precise manner and people can supplement with high doses of these constituents.  And in the case of raspberries, research tells us that the colour in raspberries are anthocyanin pigments.  Found in blue-red fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, grapes, hawthorn, cherries, and raspberries, anthocyanin pigments are one of the 5 families of flavonoids.  Flavonoids function as plant pigments in colourful fruits and flowers and they are abundant in plants.  They are known for anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic and antiviral properties.  Anthocyanidins are also important anti-inflammatories that aid in wound healing by reinforcing the natural cross link of collagen that forms the matrix of connective tissue.  And as I type this, I wish I was enjoying these little blue-red bundles of beneficial constituents.

In some cases, it makes sense to supplement the diet with therapeutic doses of particular plant constituents.  For the most part, I prefer to get these beneficial plant constituents from the plants themselves.  I enjoy eating and drinking; it is as simple as that.  I also see a spiritual aspect to it all.

Water is a universal solvent.  We get this because most of us at some point have witnessed someone making tea and coffee.  Alcohol is a fine preservative and solvent.  Sugar is another fine preservative.  What do you get when you put the three together and add a few botanicals?  A stable liquid that can taste good and it can even be good for you.

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Delice de Sureau Image by TheDeliciousLife

If you enter the liquor store you will see many bottles that were originally tonics.  In fact, many of our modern sodas were once used as tonics.  These fermented beverages were important because they were stable drinks that people could rely upon.  Not only in terms of safety, but also as a product that would strengthen and sustain.  The people making drinks knew the benefits of the botanicals they were using and made drinks to nourish others.  These days though, I feel that beverages are often a mere shell of what they once were.  We don’t know what is in the bottle, it is often much too sweet and it is sweetened with highly controversial sweeteners such as GMO high-fructose corn syrup.  It might be coloured with a dye that is not nutritional in any way (there go my anthocyanins!)  The flavours are to mimic tastes in particular ways.  It may be generally regarded as safe, but it has nothing to do with nutrition!  It is the experience, the flavour sensation that is important.  It is assumed that you are not looking to these drinks for any benefit other than pleasure.   From this herbalist’s perspective, there is room for growth in our understanding of what we are ingesting.  Rather than being pleased by a flavour that imitates something good, I would rather look for foods and drinks that taste good, because they are good for me.  (And, this is not to be confused with the trend in functional foods.  Good food is functional, pointe finale.)

I don’t want a world where all the pleasures of eating and drinking are gone.  I am not going to start a drab way of living that involves taking supplements as a means of sustenance.  At the same time, it can be tricky as I shop for food and drink because I so often fall for something that looks good, but has little benefit to me, other than a taste experience!

So, this is how I do it: I make things I might want to enjoy in the months ahead.  These are two simple examples.  There are many ways to keep the fun in functional.

Raspberry Liqueur

Making a stable liqueur is easy.  Use quality ingredients that are clean and mould free.  Use clean vessels.  Ensure that at least 25% of the volume weight is either sugar or pure alcohol or a combination of the two.

Ingredients

300 grams raspberries (fresh or frozen)

200 grams sugar

700 ml vodka, cognac or brandy

And for a little more inspiration: add some other flavourings: vanilla bean, organic orange peel (avoiding the white pith) and honey.

Pour the above ingredients into a mason jar.  Agitate a little bit daily and let it sit for two weeks in a dark corner of your countertop.  Using a cheese cloth and a sieve, strain the raspberries from the liquid.  Decant the liquid into a nice (clean) bottle with a good (and clean) stopper.  Use your creativity to make a charming label with the name of your product, ingredients and date that it was made.  Serve as you wish, perhaps with sparkling water and a twist of lemon.

*after you are finished with the fruit, you can add it to a trifle pudding or you can bake it in a cake.

**Don’t use honey, unless you include a large amount of alcohol.  Honey and water will ferment turning your product into mead.  This is not a bad thing, but it does require a little more knowledge and care.

Raspberry Vodka

200 g raspberries

800 ml vodka (40%)

This is the exact same method as the above recipe.  Pour the above ingredients into a mason jar.  Agitate a little bit daily and let it sit for two weeks in a dark corner of your countertop.  Using a cheese cloth and a sieve, strain the raspberries from the liquid.  Decant the liquid into a nice (clean) bottle with a good (and clean) stopper.  Use your creativity to make a charming label with the name of your product, ingredients and date that it was made.

Studies prove that consuming excessive amounts of sugar and alcohol is detrimental to the body.  Moderation is key in fully enjoying the benefits of these beverages.

By: Tammy Schmidt, Montreal


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