Thursday, January 01, 2015

Review - The Organic Artist

It has been a while since a book came along that combined so many of my favorite things.  This was written by Nick Neddo, who teaches wilderness survival and living skills along with drawing at ROOTS School in Vermont ( for his artwork).  He did a fantastic job of explaining and illustrating the hows and whys of the various projects in the book, and managed to instill a real excitement for making almost all of them.

Reading along, I could picture many Essential Herbal readers just waiting for the berries of summer to arrive (as I am currently thinking about pulling some of my hard won black raspberries out of the freezer), foraging for the woods and barks suggested, and quite possibly using the internet to swap reeds for black walnuts and turkey feathers.  There *will* be discussions about the projects in this book.  Oh yes...

Although there are a couple different sized kilns here on the farm, his description of the process of making charcoal for drawing makes me want to build a fire and make it his way.

The Organic Artist is going to have a lot of people looking at the ground differently.  From the clay in the creek bed to the colors of the rocks on the ground for pigments, we'll be thinking differently about the textures of twigs and even those whiskers on the cat!  My herbie friends will be experimenting with all kinds of plants for color and those who have been dyeing fibers will be adding mordants to the instructions given in the book to take the inks to a different place.  I've already been thinking about the boiling water from the distiller, and how deep and dark some of those colors get as it boils down...

In any case, I think this book will be very popular among our readers, with good reason.  It's so well done, and written very purely, in close touch with the earth.  It's kind of a love story, because you can feel how appreciated all of the earth's offerings are to the artist.  The writer/artist did many of the illustrations inside, using charcoal, ink, or pigment made from the subject of the illustration.  For instance, a depiction called Oak and Acorn is done in acorn ink.  A panel of different berries are all drawn with ink from the individual berries.  Amazing!

The book is $24.99 and is available from  It may also be available from the writer at the website above, but it is brand new, due to release this month, so I'm not sure about that.


Uniquely Yours Creations said...

Thank you Tina for posting this on FB! I just ordered the book on Amazon. I have just renewed my interest in Eco dyeing and printing (forgot about it after my husband passed away). I have been writing about my experiments on my blog.
Linda in Lancaster

Catherine Ann said...

Thank you, Tina! This looks like a fun book to have, so many projects that I think I will try.


Ammyness said...

hey, just btw, if ordered through Amazon the writer doesn't actually make anything from his work. not sure what he makes when it's sold from quarry books, but he does now have it on his website.

hoping to add it to my bookshelf eventually!