In the darker recesses of our house, tucked away in drawers and on shelves and squirrelled away in treasure boxes, there is a little selection of natural treasures. I try to discourage wholesale plunder of the countryside and coast - in my experience boys would collect pebbles by the sackful if they could - but a few things come home with us from time to time as reminders of happy days of exploring and adventure.
The pebble above was one I found with the middle boy on a very beautiful afternoon at the remote Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset. It's an important area geographically, being part of the Jurassic coast, and it's also a marine reserve. All in all a place to treasure. It's not easily accessed, and we got there late in the day when the tide was up high over dark flat rocks. The sun was low and everything was a hundred different shades of grey. It was stunning. We slithered up and down the rocks looking at the fossils in the big boulders and searching for crabs. It was one of those perfect moments that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
We found this lovely dark grey pebble. So simple but so striking. It sits on a shelf in the bedroom and I look at it every day. Sometimes I pick it up and feel how smooth it is and run my fingers over the seam. I love it and I love the memories of a small hand in mine, the taste of salt sea spray and the sharing of childhood wonder.
The two big feathers are from a pheasant, but I'm not sure about the small one. Unusual feathers are a rarity, most of the ones we see are still firmly stuck in a bird. I don't mind the little people collecting these at all (once they're not in a bird any more). They're exquisitely patterned and I keep them where I see them every day, in a pewter pot on the mantelpiece or the piano.
Shells from a holiday a few years ago. It wasn't the best shell collecting area, but that just made the finds all the more special. Chunks of thick ridged scallop shell, beautiful tan speckled cockles and an old barnacle encrusted slipper limpet.
A jar of sea glass that lives in the kitchen. We regularly visit beaches that have a good supply. Not a natural find, but one that I'm happy for the boys to bring home. Little chunks of broken bottles that have rolled backwards and forwards with the pebbles so long that they have that smooth opaque quality. The subtlest shades of blue and green, along with a few more vibrant pieces.
Our two nests are precious finds indeed. This one was on the ground at the country park. It had been built in an evergreen tree, and if you look you can see bits of dried tree in there, together with the softest feathers and animal wool. There are llamas at the country park (or alpacas? I should know the difference), so no shortage of the finest quality softness to line a nest.
This one was on the ground in our back lane. It had fallen out of the ivy, long after the babies had fledged. It's bigger than the other one (a blackbird's nest?) and not lined in the same way. The eggs don't belong to the nest, we found those separately, but I keep them in there anyway.
I love how you can see a little trial beak mark on the tiny blue egg. A tiny bird had a go at getting out on that side before he finally nibbled his way out on the other side. I'm guessing this is a hedge sparrow's egg, and the white ones are probably wood pigeons, although those are just guesses really.
When I look at our found treasures all together the thing that strikes me is the subtle beauty of the natural colours. There's nothing bright or jarring here, just muted greys and whites, browns mixed with cream and a hint of blue. The calm serene colours that nature does best.
To visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.