Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2009

This summer I am due to go to the US to partake in the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Free to visit and typically drawing more than 1 million visitors, the festival features a different combination of nation, region or theme each year and for 2009 Wales will be the guest nation.

It's hosted by the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on the National Mall of Washington, DC, and will run for two-weeks spanning the July 4th holiday.

Preparations are well under way for the army of Welsh singers & dancers, artists & crafts people, and all manner of others who are involved. And for us, a small group of plant & medicine professionals/enthusiasts of one sort or another, there is much work to be done.

We will be celebrating the wonderful plant-medicine heritage of Wales. From the teachings of the famous Physicians of Myddfai to modern-day pharmacognosy in Aberystwyth, we hope to raise enthusiasm for the native plants of Wales and their medicinal potential.

Apart from a mock-up of a Welsh Cottage Garden and wilderness, we hope to feature a variety of demonstrations and activities. From brewing herby beverages to extracting medicinal constituents as dyes, there should be a lot to see and learn.

We're still working on much of it, but I'll keep updates on our plans coming. At any rate, this isn't just an opportunity to showcase Wales. The "Sustainability" theme for this years festival will give those of us who already know about the medicinal benefits of plants an opportunity to spread the word about a more holistic and sustainable form of healthcare.

(Image: James Smithson, Smithsonian Institution founder)


Herbaholic said...

As I'm starting up my own herbal dye bed this year and experimenting with herbal dyes I'll be interested to follow any posts you make about herbal dyeing :)

Kristina May said...

Some due shortly I hope. Just doing the research now.

Personally, I think a dye bed has to contain Meadowsweet(the most beautiful soft green)and Solidago for glorious yellow. In the kitchen onion is a favourite and we now have a special bag to collect all the dry peel for later use.