Mini Twig Sculptures

Twig wrapped in perle cotton beneath woven through leaves

Some years back, my family and I took in Steve Tobin’s Steelroots exhibit at The Morton Arboretum. Inspired by what we saw, my daughter and I came home and made our own mini sculptures from twigs we collected in our yard and perle cotton. Recently, I came across one of the twigs stuck in a vase that had somehow made its way to the back of a cabinet.

To make the sculptures, we looked for twigs with an interesting form – if there were scars or other interesting marks, we left those sections unwrapped. We played with different lengths of perle cotton – sometimes using just pinks or greens, other times using multiple colors.

When finished, we laid them on a table in the hallway where they were constantly rearranged every time someone walked by. Other found made their way into the “exhibit” – rocks, an acorn, a paper snake, origami birds… This time around, I pulled an interesting (but pesky) weed from the yard and put it in a vase on the kitchen table. And, then of course, the play began: weaving the wrapped twig into the leaves different ways, laying it beneath the leaves, propping it up alongside the vase…

For a fun creative break today, take a walk and gather some interesting twigs of your own, then wrap them in perle cotton, yarn, twine, kitchen string, cording or whatever fiber you have on hand. Arrange the mini sculptures on a table or your desk – and then rearrange again and again!

Engaging with Nature – The Explorer, Artist, Kid in All of Us

I love trees and flowers in full bloom but… I am totally fascinated by what proceeds the color show and what remains at the end of the season. For that reason, “A Tree in the House: Flowers for Your Home, Special Occasions and Everyday” by Annabelle Hickson caught my eye. The stunning arrangements she creates from what she finds each season is wonderful – especially when she creates a cotton cloud over the table and other installations! The photography is beautiful and nothing is over the top – just pared down, simple settings where nature takes center stage.

Reading this book and watching spring unfold (with a couple of hiccups along the way like the freak heavy snowstorm the other night), I am waking up to the abundance of beauty around us – including the debris that I am carting off to the compost pile and the shoots that are poking up through the soil. Some of those twigs and seed heads will make it into the house to sit on the mantle for a week or two, others might even make it into a craft project or inspire a needlework piece.

So take a break from whatever is consuming your day and grab your kids, a friend, colleague, or significant other and go outside to play like a kid, explore like a scientist, create like an artist: Bring along a paper bag to collect some interesting branches and whatever else you might find, as well as a magnifying glass to examine the intricate designs that are not immediately apparent or the bugs that you are leaving behind but look oh so interesting. Then, bring it all home and set about creating your own artful arrangements! Have someone who can’t make the trek outside with you, like a friend who’s been sick or a small child? Share what you find with them – and don’t forget the magnifying glass : )

“One of the greatest joys of playing and experimenting with flowers is that it opens your eyes to the beautiful things growing around you. The ones that are already there, doing their thing, that you didn’t have to buy or water or prune. You start to notice them. Like words whose meaning you’ve just learnt (nadir and akimbo), you start, as if by magic, to see them everywhere.” – Annabelle Hickson