Acacia

Acacia xanthophloea Fever Tree in Tanzania
Acacia Senegal

Common Names: Sweet Acacia, Popinac, Sponge Tree, and Needle Bush, thorntrees or wattle

Botanical Name: Acacia Sp includes Cassie-Acacia farnesiana, and Mimosa-A. Decurrens Delbata, Acacia Senegal, Acacia seyal
Family: Fabaceae
Description: A perennial thorny Bush or small tree roughly 8 m tall.
Origin: South USA and Mexico
Cultivation: The usual way of growing acacias from seed is by first soaking the seed in near boiling water and leaving it overnight. Seeds should be sown about 5 mm apart in prepared soil mix, lightly covered with mix to the depth of the seed or a little more, lightly pressed flat, watered and the containers placed in a semi-shaded site and kept above ground level or placed in a propagation unit. Soil should be kept moist but not wet. Germination can occur between a few days and a few weeks. Pruning is advisable each year to maintain a bushy healthy shrub. This is best undertaken after flowering.
History: The ancient Egyptians used Acacia in paints.
Parts Used: bark, flower, gum
Storage: In airtight container away from heat or light.

Uses:
Acacia’s are alterative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, demulcent, diarrhea, febrifuge, rheumatism, and stimulant. (Duke, 1981a).
* The Acacia flowers dried are used in herbal bath mixtures for dry skin, and facial steams for complexion.
* Cassie perfume is distilled from the flowers
* Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab produce Cassie pomades.
* The bark is astringent and demulcent.
* Gum Arabic is derived from the Acacia Senegal and the Acacia seyal. (See Gum Arabic)

Other uses: Tannins are derived from the bark and fruit and used in making dyes and inks. The pods and bark are used for tanning leather. Trees used as an ingredient in the Ivory Coast for arrow poison. The gum is used in painting. The branches are used as toothbrushes. In Ayurvedic medicine, Acacia nilotica is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating premature ejaculation.

Sources:

http://farrer.csu.edu.au/ASGAP/APOL16/dec99-3.html
http://www.worldwidewattle.com/infogallery/cultivation/
Excerpt from A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Fifth Edition (Paperback) Amazon.com

Alfafa

Alfafa in Flower

Common Names: Lucerne

Botanical Name: Medicago sativa

Family: Leguminoseae (legume) – fabaceae  (pea)

Description: A perennial legume used in agriculture. It grows to about 1m with an extensive root system that grows up to 4.5m.

Origin:  western Asia and Mediterranean 

Cultivation: It has a wide range of adaptation and can be grown in hot or cold climates in well-drained soils with a neutral pH of 6.8 – 7.5.

History: It came to Greece around 490 B.C. being used as a horse feed for Persian army. It was introduced from Chile to the United States around 1860. It is widely grown throughout the world as forage for cattle, and is most often harvested as hay

Parts Used: leaves

Storage: Stored in bales for livestock feed. Store dried in airtight container away from heat and light.

Uses:

Alfalfa is cleansing, and haemostatic (stops bleeding). It is high in vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and minerals.

* Alfalfa as been used in facial herbal steams to exfoliate, it contains protease, a protein digester.

* It is used in creams, oils, and herbal baths for its healing qualities and chlorophyll content.

* It has also been used in protein hair rinses.

* Native Americans used alfalfa for jaundice and to help blot clot.

* The seeds have been employed for the treatment of boils and insect bites.

*The extract of alfalfa is a natural cleanser and mild exfolliant.

*Alfalfa roots can be dried and used as a toothbrush.

Other uses: In ancient times alfalfa was used as a digestive aid, for water retention, and arthritis.

Contraindications: Some may be allergic to alfalfa, please do a patch test before use.

Sources:

The Natural Pharmacy, pg. 623-624
Herbal Body Book, pg.43

Sparrow Made co at the Thursday Night Market Downtown Chico, Ca

Sparrow Made is now a vendor at the Thursday Night Market in Downtown Chico Ca. I will have new items including this Sting Ray Armor Necklace!

I will also have my line of jewelry and music albums available.

For more information and directions visit their site here. 

Find Sparrow Made

Twitter and Instagram

@sparrowmadeco

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Why Create?

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Aster by Angel Russell

When I’m not creating for Sparrow Made Co. I write a music arts and literature blog. In this blog I often interview artists and one of my questions is, “what inspires you to create?” The answer is always different. It is a unique and flavored response for each individual. When creators are in their early teens, or even younger, this urge is fervent and deep-rooted. It’s just “a part” of us and you can’t ever take it away and it totally defines who we are as people. We creators tend to wear this on our sleeves as proud youth, and later in life. Yearbooks ask us, “where do you see yourself in five years?” My response was a musician. I wrote that money didn’t matter and that no matter what I was going to do that because it was in my blood and nothing could take that away. I feel like I was on a high horse then. The feelings were totally genuine and I meant every word of it, but it was a little dramatic. I had that air about me that was an all or nothing attitude, but it prevented me from taking critique and I so defined myself by this “artist/musician” persona that it almost took away from the act itself. Why did I create? Why did I have this overwhelming urge to make something? Why did it pain me when I hadn’t had the chance to do so because of other various activities? Why does it pain me still?

Josephine by Angel Russell
Josephine by Angel Russell

I don’t know if this is a valid question. Why create? It is one I often ask myself. I don’t know if it’s answerable. Is it something you’re born with? Is it something we learn to do because we are taught by our peers or imprinted upon by our elders? George Bernard Shaw said “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” Do creators have overactive imaginations?  Charles Dickens said, “The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” Where does that will and love come from? Is it selfish to create? If the answer from every artist is different and individual for them, then what is it that unites us as creators? Surely, the act it self unites artists. There again though, why create?

Forest IV by Angel Russell
Forest IV by Angel Russell

Often I think that creating can be self-serving. My desire to hone my art to become the best I can at it has definitely caused problems for me in my life. It causes me to have a lack of income at times, which can be troublesome with family and partners. You can seem to be a burden or lazy even, if you don’t just get a real job. The problem with this train of thought is that for me, creating is a real job. Devoting myself to it fully is the only way I can see myself getting good enough at it to make it a worthwhile means of monitory support, which to me is also of secondary importance. I suppose I still am on that high horse because I refuse to give up on my dream. In that same vein why is my dream any less important because it does not have an immediate financial reward. Why is honing a craft looked down upon in this way? Going to school for seven years and spending exorbitant amounts of money on education is a valid way of life because there’s a magical money rainbow at the end of that journey. Is there even? Look at the people who spent all those years in school only to graduate and have no work. Why is money a factor in deciding our future. Why is it not what is inside of us, the gifts we were inherently born with, that is celebrated and sought after. I feel like my path is valid. I work at my craft as much as possible. I do have to work a “day job” so to speak at this time, to support that craft but it is my end goal to be able to be an artist in whatever shape that takes. Even that day job I chose is creative because I am a gardener. I apply my creative eye there splendidly. I, however, feel that the only way to truly “make it” in an artistic pursuit or career is to devote yourself to this mission wholeheartedly with fervent passion and dedication. All of our personal journeys should be pursued in this way. Perhaps we creators are on that high horse because we have to prove to others that this path is a valid one.

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Armor Cuff, to feel protected by Angel Russell

Art can heal. It can express emotions in a way that few things can. Artist Georges Braque said “Art is a wound turned into light.” Perhaps this urge to create comes from an over abundance of feeling. The first example that comes to mind for me is the mother of modern dance, Martha Graham and her dance Lamentation. With her entire body and being she creates a dance so moving that many are brought to tears. Martha Graham said “It’s the tragedy that obsesses the body and the garment that is worn is just a tube of material but it’s as though you were stretching in your own skin. One of the first times I did it was in Brooklyn. A lady came back to me afterwards and looked at me, she had a very white face, and she had obviously been crying. And she said “you will never know what you have done for me tonight, thank you” and left. I asked about her later. It seemed that she had seen her child, her nine-year old son, killed in front of her by a truck. They had made every effort to make her cry, and she was not able to cry, but when she saw Lamentation she said, she felt that grief was honorable. And that it was universal. And that she need not be ashamed of crying for her son. And that, I remember that part. That story is a very deep story in my life. It’s made me realize that there is always one person that you speak to in the audience, one.” If a dance can move us to tears, is creating not a vital part of not only expelling our internal pain, but helping others to do the same. Is this not a valid pursuit? If we languish in our misery but find a path out through creation and that creation can help others to find a light of their own, is this not a valid pursuit?

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Copper Feather Earrings for strength. Angel Russell

Art is not solely the result of suffering, but as humans we are able to create art, dance, poetry, topiary, jewelry, etc that evokes mood, feeling, eases pain, brings joy, power, overtakes resentment or loss, or just plain makes us feel good. I think that through that experience, that commonality and ability to connect on a deep level with a stranger, just one, that is why I create. Creating eases a place in me, whether that place is loneliness, pain, happiness, anger, presence, inspiration, imagination, or the unexplainable. I hope that through my creations others feel a kinship, a similar easing and through that we are able to join in healing that place in all of us. Marianne Williamson said “The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.” That’s as noble a pursuit as any if you ask me.

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Martha Graham’s Lamentation:

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A New Year

2014 is upon us already, surprising and unready as I am for each new year I am still ready to create and forge ahead. Another year has gone by. 2013 was one of the hardest years I’ve had. I experienced a great loss. My health and mental state suffered because of it, but I refused to give in to my heartache, though I was consumed by it many times. I wrote, and created after the dust settled. Pain can often stop us dead in our tracks both creatively and in our daily lives but with determination we can find new strength. The last thing you want to hear when you are suffering are those one liner quotes that are meant to make us feel better. “One door closes and another opens.” “This too shall pass.” “God doesn’t place before you anything you can’t handle.” When you hear these during painful periods in your life you can feel angered and frustrated, because that’s the last thing you want to hear. You might hold on to the pain like some wounded warrior nursing your battle wounds. These one liners come to be because others have suffered and healed and through that healing new light and hope can be found. Looking back it is easy to say, “this too shall pass.” During the pain however, you just want a hug, you want to back into a corner like some injured beast and lash out at those that come near.

I was there in my anger and hurt in that corner when my friends and family rallied. They didn’t give up on me and in my pain came to me and nurtured me back to my old self. They made me food, held me, brought me jars of honey from their own hives, listened and cried along with me. They welcomed me into their homes when loneliness was too much to bear on my own. They held my hand and helped me to remember I was loved. They reminded me to breath. Through that I found hope again. I took steps out of that misery and began to look around me. I was sitting in a self made box of despair. I decided to return to the studio to create, and while I was there I made a large and powerful pendant.

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The stone is a druzy quartz. Through lore this stone is believed to be a powerful healing stone. This necklace became my talisman for strength. It reminded me of who I am as a creator and the feeling of peace I attain through creation. It’s weight reminded me to be grounded. The heat of my flame molded the silver into a warm embrace around the power stone as I too worked to heal myself. I took up archery again which helps me to focus my thoughts and breath. As I hold the bow and focus on my target, my mind must be still, my pains must be forgotten, and my breath must release. I cannot fire until every part of my being is stilled, and only then can I aim true. This reminded me of my own focus in life. How every day our spirits can benefit from stillness, our minds can be calmed by slow breath, and we can let go of our past hurts just as we exhale all calamity can escape us.

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It is my wish that this year you are lifted up by those you love in times of need, that you find an outlet for what ails you. Remember or learn that you have beauty, strength and power. You only need to believe. And if you cannot, I hope that you find the will to come out of that corner, no longer injured on the path to healing, the path to hope. I have come up with my own one (technically two) liner for this past year; every day I try to fill myself with positivity, love, and light. I don’t always succeed, but every time I try it gets a little easier.
Blessings,
Angel

The Sparrow Made Co Fundraiser for the Typhoon Haiyan survivors

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Sparrow Made is doing a fundraising campaign to help the survivors of the Typhoon Haiyan.

Donate HERE

In the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, millions of people in the Philippines need our help. The massive storm has caused catastrophic damage throughout the island nation.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.

Mercy Corps has launched immediate relief efforts to help meet these critical humanitarian needs of survivors.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this important work. Together, we can help families devastated by this disaster survive and rebuild their lives.

I am fundraising through Mercy Corps; Since 1979, they have helped people in the world’s roughest places survive the crises they battle and have turned them into opportunities to thrive.
Their staff work in the environments they are needed most. You can gather information about why you should donate through Mercy Corps here. . I have had successful campaigns in the past for the Japanese Tsunami, and the Pakastan Floods. Please help this to be a success too!
love Ange

Sparrow Made Feature!

Sparrow Made was featured today on a local Martha’s Vineyard blog, Point B Realty written by Guinevere Cramer.  You can visit her blog here: Point B

Here is a picture Guinevere took of me in my studio!

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Spring 2013

I have begun posting my new Spring creations on my brand new website!!

www.sparrowmade.com Click here to purchase.

I hope you enjoy my new creations!

New Heart Earrings !

I have been working on some new Heart earrings.

Brass is cut out, each heart is stamped, sterling silver studs are soldered into place, and each piece is filed, sanded and polished by hand.

You can find them in my store, here.

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