And why is it important to You and your Ecoprinting?
I did something good for myself the other month :-). I became a certified practitioner of the art of forest relaxation and therapy known as “Shinrin Yoku” (which translates to “Forest Bathing.” ) It is the Japanese practice of ‘bathing’ oneself in nature with the intention of receiving therapeutic benefits. I prefer to call it “Nature Immersion”. If you have followed my blogs you know I am a big fan of getting outdoors, following dirt roads, exploring abandoned farms and walking trails and fields.
Anyone who has ever enjoyed the same thing or simply stopped a few minutes at a park or even their own backyards knows the enjoyment of those moments Most of us probably do not stop to think about or analyze the therapeutic benefit we are gathering from it. We just know that in those moments we are rejuvenated!
So Why is Nature Immersion important?
If you do a little research on Shinrin Yoku, you will find that in Japan the movement began as a way to use “Forest Bathing” to promote the health and psychological benefits of spending time in Nature. When I studied for my certification from Nature Connection Guide, this is what I learned:
Psychological benefits that nature has been shown to have
- reduced stress and anxiety
- restored mental energy
- improved mood
- improved concentration
- improved short term memory
- relief from PTSD.
Physiological benefits that nature has been shown to have
- boosted immunity
- increased energy and vitality
- improved sleep
- lowered blood pressure
- reduce inflammation
- lowered rate of obesity
- improved development of vision and the
- has an anticancer effect
- has a positive effect on longevity
- accelerated recovery from surgery and illness.
A magic formula? No. A stress reducer? Absolutely! And that it what started me on my journey to offer Nature Immersion and Ecoprint Retreats!
For those of us who enjoy ecoprinting, part of the initial appeal undoubtedly was selecting and collecting our own leaves and plants to creating something from Nature. And what could be simpler than using her leaves? Ecoprinting is a form of wildcrafting. We use what is available in Nature and create our artwork with it. Maybe we didn’t realize that our enjoyment comes from being outside. Whether it is 10 minutes or 2 hours, we are in a healthier environment. Our minds are preoccupied with one subject-leaves, trees, plants. We are stooping, bending, lifting and stacking and are enjoying every minute! We have a goal, an idea, a love of Nature and the final results of our wildcrafting!
My fiber work is a business. I have been a self employed artist for decades. I participate in shows, I teach workshops all around the country and in specialty venues. My work is in galleries and online. Slowly but surely I was in production mode-Fabric to paint or ecoprint, clothing to design and make, leather to buy, ecoprint and turn into a product, social media upkeep, additional artwork to create and bills to pay. It was easy to let my forays into the deep woods lapse.
Re-connecting my life long love of Nature through Shinrin Yoku was an eye opener. My training employed what I already knew and had experienced and took it to a whole new level. Now my forays into the woods are not hurriedly done or with a feeling of guilt (I should be doing this or that….) I go in routinely with a purpose to reconnect and rediscover that incredible feeling I got as a teen on snowy winter Saturdays, strapping on my skis and going solo through the birch forests and navigating stone walls in a glorious day of being in Nature with no distractions!
I teach workshops at my studio and my students collect their leaves from my trees, yard and pasture. But there is no denying that the basic goal in most workshops is to produce an ecoprinted work and go home! I wondered HOW to incorporate the whole ideology of what I feel is Nature and ecoprinting working in tandem? I wanted Wildcrafting at its finest.
Everything fell into place with my ideas when the perfect location to hold a Nature Immersion and Ecoprint RETREAT was offered to me! I cannot tell you how excited I am to share an affordable weekend retreat with like minded people and truly have them experience Ecoprinting with their 5 senses! Unlike most workshops with an emphasis on “intensive” our focus is on “Unplug. Slow down. Connect. Ecoprint.” Every leaf you use, you will know! You will have met the trees that gifted the leaves to you, walked through their environment, felt their presence and allowed yourself a weekend experience immersed fully in the real meaning of being one with Nature!
I reserved two weekends and reservations have already started for the April 3-5, 2020 weekend! The second weekend is May 29-31, 2020 (the weekend after Memorial Day). The beautiful lodge is located in the middle of 47 acres of woodland and here I will guide you through a session of Shinrin Yoku. It will change your perception of Nature and enhance your ecoprinting in a way you did not realize was possible!