I’ve always been interested in crafts. From making paper ornaments in elementary school to learning to knit or crochet or sew to joining a robotics team where I learned the basics of working with metal, give me a handicraft of some kind, and I will pick it up, play with the tools, and learn as much as my brain can handle. Now, this presents some problems; my home is not a TARDIS, so I literally cannot pick up any brand new craft skills at the moment.
But I stumbled upon a craft that requires me to buy no more tools or materials, to take up no more space, or to give up more than a little bit of time.
Foraging for food is something that’s become a bit more mainstream these days. People will understand if you tell them you forage for mushrooms or for berries one your hikes. Obviously that is the simplest form of food foraging, but it’s an entry point. I know some people forage for leaf mold for their gardens, or for branches for firewood. I hadn’t heard of foraging for natural fibers until a year ago.
I discovered a woman on Instagram under the handle @foragedfibres who was going out into her local countryside to collect everything from willow stems to English ivy vines to spruce bark to create little woven baskets or pouches. Since I discovered her feed, her small baskets have grown, and she’s expanded beyond twisting fibers to other similar pursuits.
It was a few months ago, right around the time my own daffodils had popped up and started spreading their springtime cheer, that I saw a Reel Suzie had made explaining how to collect spent daffodil stems, dry them, and then turn them into cordage. I thought, I could do that, no problem. So I did. When the daffodils were done flowering, I snipped the stems back to their bases and brought them inside, strung them up, and hung them from my accordion peg rack in my office. There they have sat for well over three months as they finished drying, waiting for my attention to come back round. They’re still a bit off from being completely dry, but as soon as they are, I’ll follow Suzie’s instructions on how to turn them into cordage, and I think I’ll start a found-fiber basket. Maybe in time I can bring it with me when I go for walks in the morning and use it to collect some more gifts from nature that can spend some time in my office with me before I put them to use. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye on the raspberries in my backyard, and the invasive ivy on my morning walks, judging when we both might be ready to try some more crafting.