Harvesting Kit

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’Tis the season for all kinds of great things, if you happen to be a resin artist

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Autumn leaves, for a start. Queen Anne’s Lace, Chicory, New England Astor, Goldenrod, and all those gorgeous flowers that grow in the scrubby bits on the side of the highway are in full bloom. Late season red clover, bright red sumach, touch-me-not orchids and even a strange little flower called the bursting heart plant. All kinds of gorgeous stuff, just growing wild and waiting to be turned into stunning jewelry. Isn’t autumn great?

But how to go about gathering all this goodness? I have what I call my ‘harvesting kit’.

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This small box contains 12 little metal canisters, great for keeping delicate blooms (like this New England Astor) separate from each other, nice and flat until I can get them home and start preserving them. I bought this one at Lee valley, but you can use anything that is small, and has a lid.

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Some of my sphere molds from Resin Sun. I like to carry these with me, because you never know when you’re going to find that perfect dandelion, and you want to be able to put it in a spherical mold right away to protect the fluff from falling apart..

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My leaf press, of course! Gorgeous leaves and Queen Anne’s Lace, which I know I’ll be drying flat, go into a leaf press right away. As a bonus I don’t need to move them at all until I’m ready to resin.

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A pocket set of garden shears, so I can clip flowers with minimal disturbance to the surrounding flowers, and without damaging the bloom of the flower itself.

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A mason jar – this is great for items that I plan to preserve in a form that isn’t flat, or a form where I want to take the flower and stems. Chicory, for example, wilts really quickly. By taking the flower and a portion of stem I buy myself a little extra time to get the flower home.

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A simple ziplock bag is a really great addition. I use it when I’m hiking, and I want to carry a lightweight ‘just in case I see something awesome’ bag without having to haul the whole kit around. I pretty well always have one in my purse, even when I’m not out harvesting, because you never know when you’ll find that perfect leaf.

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Finally, a dedicated bag to keep it all in. I like always having this bag ready to go, so I can be spontaneous, and it’s easy to just throw it in the car if we’re going for a ride. I keep one other helpful item in the bag that isn’t pictured here: a visual guide to the wildflowers of Ontario. It helps me identify flowers I’m unfamiliar with, and gives me advice on which ones are prickly, and which ones are rare, protected, or endangered, so I know to leave them alone.

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For the next month or so the world will be full of beautiful things to preserve, get yourself a harvesting kit to make the most of it 🙂