Today we woke up to the sight of golden meadows and cypress trees veiled in a thick fog. It’s our first day at This Will Take Time where we’ll be artists-in-residence for the next three weeks. While our project focus has evolved in the months leading up to our time here, this morning was one of clarity and purpose.
One of our goals for the residency is to make paper from an invasive or abundant native plant that grows on the 80 acre property, so this morning we set out to start identifying species whose fibers can be utilized for pulp. Our first instinct was to visit Joe’s pond where we hoped to find strong reeds and grasses.
We came across a number of promising plants, but are most excited about a hearty and extensive sedge, or maybe bunching grass, that grows right along the water. The harder it is to break crosswise, the better the pulp will be, and this reed is incredible strong.
What felt like a half hour was actually 2 hours of exploration - time has a way of passing quickly in this place away from the distractions of city life.
The next step is to identify our samples.
So far we’ve identified Erechtites minima (Australian fireweed), Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle/spear thistle), Kniphofia uvaria (red-hot poker/torch lily) and Eucalyptus globulus (blue gum/common eucalyptus), with the help of our copy of Invasive Plants of California’s Wildlands (University of California Press), and the interwebs, of course. We are finding the field and wetland grasses the most challenging to identify.
Stay tuned for updates as we learn more about the flora, hone our papermaking technique and engage with the town of Point Arena. We’re elated to call this place home for the next three weeks.