Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Just Around the Corner

Many a time I've looked at this blog of recent and wanted to write about the various things done or new things discovered. But I simply haven't had time and can't remember ever being busier.
On Friday we will finally set off for London ready to fly to Washington the next day. In the following two weeks we'll be doing all sorts of exciting things at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and if I manage to get any kind of regular internet access I'll do my best to post updates on how the festival is going.

The reality is becoming increasingly exciting and just a little daunting.

When we arrive we're due to help set up our little Welsh cottage herb garden full of plants we haven't yet seen. Around the same time I'll need to start experimenting with my dyes. I've bought a load of woad balls which should be fantastic fun, but I've never used them before so it's going to be a case of learning on the job.

Other than the garden and the dyeing, we plan to have a range of herbs and spices on display for people to touch and sniff. We'll be making aromatic teas and macerating a few oils in that hot Washington sunshine. We'll be dyeing wool with a whole range of plants and I might be teaming up with farmers and weavers to go the whole way from sheep to colourful blanket in a day if we can. Perhaps it would be more realistic to go from sheep to handkerchief instead.

We also have plans to attempt the distilling of some aromatic waters and will be melting beeswax to make our own ointments. What else? Well my esteemed colleague Gareth has just heard that his team of Welsh medical leeches have arrived safely in Washington so, whilst I share my room with fermenting woad balls, Gareth will be tending to his new pets in his. Hopefully we'll both develop a greater appreciation for them as the festival goes on.

Biochemist Alison will also be there to talk about the more modern aspects of plant medicine research and I look forward to learning a lot from her. And the daffodil will be our special guest because of its fame as a new Alzheimer's treatment being produced in the Welsh mountains.

And much much more I'm sure. But hopefully I'll tell you all about it when I get there.


JOE TODD said...

Please take several photos to share on your blog. Sounds like will be a great time.. Happy summer solstice

Kristina May said...

I'll do my best. Just packing brand new camera now and doing my best not to forget the charger and the uploading wire thingy. Looking forward to having far too much to share and far too little time to share it.