Sticks + Stones and Broken Bones! Foraging Inspiration with Ebenezer Stone.
Jan 03 , 2023
The more I get to know the earth, the more I love it. The more I love the earth, the more I get to know it.
Foraging has been one of the greatest ways that I have come to know more about the boreal forest around me. From rose hips, to violet chanterelles, Labrador leaves to Yarrow, turkey tail mushrooms to Chaga, birch Polypores to mullein… it has been a busy year of getting to know these beautiful woods.
My husband and I have learned to stow an extra little bag with us on our adventures, as we never come home without some foraged treasures. The pocket of the baby carrier almost always has some sort of mushroom or tea leaves stuffed into it after a hike. It’s special to me that my children run up to me with some treasures they have found, knowing they have value. One time, while at a friends house, my son ran up to me clutching a white flower. With glee, he exclaimed, “look mama! I found some Yarrow for you!“ And he had! The beautiful thing about foraging is that it can be both a family affair, as well as a beautiful way to get some time alone to restore. The three most common ways that I acquire my foraged goods are on hikes and bushwacking in the boreal forest, sitting and sifting on the shores of Lake superior, and from dear ones, who, like myself find value in found and salvaged items.
As a stay at home mother in the wild woods of Hovland, Minnesota, there are so many perks. I simply step outside and find extravagant beauty before me. My kids and I frequent the woods, allowing for ample opportunity to gather the natural materials I use to make jewelry. Being a stay at home mother is BUSY and often it is difficult to find time to restore the introvert inside of me. Thankfully my husband is my biggest advocate for protecting this time. I have learned that I need to take that time to be out in the woods hiking, bushwhacking, and foraging (which to me are all the same thing). I don’t recall a hike that I haven’t come home with at least one stick. This last fall, my husbands game camera caught me carrying a whole 4’ cylinder of birchbark in one hand, and an entire basketful of mushrooms, spalted sticks, more bark, and a full deer skull (jaws and all). Busted.
The shores of Lake Superior are a place of restoration for peoples of all ages. Even upon reading my words, you may reflect on your own memories of times collecting treasures while the waves make that sound that the letters of any keyboard could never collaborate to recreate. Growing up in Grand Marais, MN, I’ve spent my entire life sifting the beach through my fingertips. I was the local babysitter for many years as well and made it my aim to spend as much time at the beach with those kiddos to teach them what pockets were really for- beach stones. I’m thrilled to continue this with my own two little ones. I’m always finding pebbles in pockets and in the bottom of the washing machine. The beach has provided many treasures that I’ve used in the making of my jewelry; a tumbled piece of a hams beer can, unique plastic, bone, and ceramic shards, as well as some stones with veins of thomsonite. I collect piles of tiny pebbles and beach glass and drill them to make stone cairns for my jewelry. The best part is having two sets of tiny hands that are ever eager to help me comb the beach, and Lake Superior never fails to provide these hands with something beautiful.
As more people get acquainted with my work and my value of found, foraged, and salvaged treasures, I find an uprising of community within this simple, small business. This is yet another heartwarming way that foraging along the North Shore of Lake Superior takes place. There has been a great rallying of community around salvaging copper which excites me to no end. A friend of mine saved copper gutters directly from a transfer station, which filled my heart. I’ve had people bring wire from boat motors, fan motors, copper gas line tubing, copper gutters, and electrical wire of various sorts for me to repurpose as well as other natural items such as spalted wood, bones, porcupine quills, feathers, and stone. I am so proud of the team that’s formed. With so many electronics, there’s copper everywhere. We can do our part to bring it to where it can be reused and hopefully relieve some of the pressure to mine for more.
I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the beauty of the north shore. I’m grateful for the community I’ve come to know. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to turn nature’s beauty into something wearable.
Happy Foraging + Adventuring,
Katy is an artist and stay at home mother living on Minnesota’s North shore. Katy draws inspiration from nature; the created world is a catalyst for her own creativity. Her pieces, with little exception, are made from harvested and foraged materials—some have even been salvaged from her carpenter-husband’s worksites. Her goal is to create wearable art while maintaining the unadulterated beauty of each material she works with.