Kate Ortolano is an incredibly prolific artist and a mentor to many-a-youth over at her co-run non-profit, Art Escape in Sonoma. She is also a dear friend and a soul sister. Today I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with her at her home in Inverness. Nestled right up over the bay, Kate has carved out a sweet little spot to experiment with all the wonderful goods we can grow and find to make art, right in our own gardens and parks.
In her own home garden, Kate grows a variety of plants that can be dried and ground up to make ink and watercolors. She also raises bees and collects their honey and wax. Today I watched her experiment with charcoal she had made and that home grown bee's wax to make crayons. It was a little bit of magic and a little bit of luck. She took the little home made sticks of charcoal and soaked them in the melted bees wax. Having no idea if it would work, she persisted. Until, voila! A charcoal crayon. Magic. Pure magic.
She shares the space with her artist and photographer husband, Brian and one very sweet kitty. I am so inspired by her curiosity and lightness of spirit. Watching her potter around in the kitchen trying to melt the wax over a make shift double boiler warmed my heart and set me straight about what matters. We also hatched the begins of some plans for classes. Classes maybe on how to make that charcoal - and other goodies. So stay tuned.
Below are photos I snapped around her home and garden and of the crayon making in progress.
Until next time. xoxo
Here is the indigo plant that Kate harvests to make her indigo dye. I thought it would be blue. Shows you what I know.
Beautiful glass pigment mashers - made by her son.
Little witchy shelf full of natural hand made dyes and paints.
A piece of Kate's inspiring work.
Pulling the charcoal sticks out of the bee's wax.
Amazing. A charcoal crayon. I got to take this one home.
Kate's sweet kitty cat.