Friday, January 7, 2011

Herbal Ally Tools

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Herbal Ally and  Finding Your Herbal Ally to begin a year of learning about 1 herb. For those of you who want to join in, read the previous post to help you select an ally. Once you've got an ally chosen, now it's time to get started!

During this year, you'll become best friends with your herbal ally. The goal by the end of this year is to know your ally intimately, know what his uses are, how he makes you feel, what he looks like in all seasons of growth and how he tastes, smells and feels.

During the winter it can be hard to sit with your herb daily outside if you live in the Northern hemisphere. Since we are starting in January, we will have to start with dried versions of our herb. We'll get to that in a minute. First though, I'd like to discuss some tools that you will want to have a long on your journey.

First of all, I highly recommend a journal for this journey. It can be whatever you are comfortable working with, from a lined notebook to a moleskin to a sketchpad or watercolor pad. I've chosen a spiral bound mix media pad by canson that is 7 x 10 because of the flexibility. I'll be able to sketch in it, watercolor in it, write in it and more.
 Canson XL Mix Media Pad- 7x10 Inch (60 Sheets/Side Wire Bound)

Next, a good drawing pencil, eraser and some waterproof markers with various sized tips are nice such as these:
 Pitt Artist Pens - Wallet Set of All 4 Pen Styles in Black
Also, if you'd like to color your drawings, you'll need pencils, paints or pastels. I prefer watercolor pencils because I can control the color but still get the effect of watercolors. And, thanks to water brushes, they are extremely portable and unmessy. I have 3 different sizes, small, medium and large brush.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils - Gift Box Set of 36 with Brush

Niji Waterbrush- Medium Round 12mm

Also, a magnifying glass is handy to have so you can get up close and personal with your ally. Tweezers can be handy too. 
SE 30X Illuminated Jewelers Loupe

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Point Tweezer in Assorted Colors

A pair of clippers and a hori knife may be handy too. I use these a lot.
ARS Needle Nose Pruner HP-SE45
Japanese Hori Hori Garden Landscaping Digging Tool With Stainless Steel Blade & Sheath
A field guide can also be helpful for identifying different species of your herb if you are seeking him out in the wild. Also, a few containers and bags are handy to have on hand for collecting: containers for collecting seeds, bags for the rest.

Now that you've assembled your Herbal Ally Learning Kit, it's time for your first assignment!


Comfrey Cottages said...

I have never been very good at creating art through painting or drawing, but I am going to get a set of watercolor pencils, if I can, and give it a try working with them while studying pine this year. thanks for the handy list! xx

Jennifer Shackleton said...

Thank you for presenting these challenges. I have always wanted to study a plant for a year. I am just getting started and hoping to gather my tools and get my journal decorated this weekend. This tool list is very helpful.

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