I do this work because I feel like the world needs it. We need to notice the magic and engage with the wonder. We need to see the beauty in nature so we feel compelled to protect it. And, importantly, we need to have fun.
Spreading wonder through writing about everyday magic to enhance our connections to ourselves, our community, and the glorious natural world of the Pacific Northwest
Miss Wondersmith’s Story:
I grew up in the backwoods of Idaho, spending my childhood summers on a remote fire lookout a long drive and 4 mile hike away from civilization. Those formative days spent in the woods alone or with my sister instilled in me a deep reverence for nature, especially my relationship to plants.
I have always been a “maker” by nature, and you could often find me carving wood, dyeing fabric, or sketching projects. I followed that passion to an art college in Alberta (Canada), where I majored in glassblowing. There I learned how to hone my craft and developed my passions. I learned that I loved creating pieces that were meant to be held. One thing led to another, and soon I started filling my pieces with food. I found that I was more interested in the various aspects of dining - the community, the sensory experience - than with having my work displayed distantly on plinths or platforms.
I had to drop out after my 3rd year due to severe health issues I’ve been battling since I was 17. They got very bad that spring, so I came home to Idaho to see doctors and recover. It was a long year of very painful flare-ups, and I wasn’t able to eat solid food for about 3 months. As I recovered, I longed for community and a reason to get out of the house, so I started apprenticing for the wonderful local herbalist Darcy Williamson. Darcy taught me to forage ethically and respectfully and how to cultivate an even deeper relationship with the local plants of our area. I ended up moving into her other home to help caretake while I recovered. There, outside of cell reception, I re-connected to the simplicity and beauty of spending quiet time in nature, whether helping to gather herbal supplies or tending to the garden. At the same time I started developing and hosting immersive dining experiences, which were definitely rewarding but not quite what I felt was calling to me.
Eventually, I was well enough to set out on my own again, and I moved to Eugene, Oregon. I loved the richness of the rainforest and the magic of the coast! Since barnacles have appeared in so many of my art pieces over the years, I felt it was only reasonable to spend some time much closer to them. My frequent trips to the coast were inspiring, validating, and healing. It was while living in Eugene that I threw my first free event on a whim, after feeling frustrated about the limitations that commercial events imposed on me. It was such a beautiful and rewarding experience I decided I needed to devote my practice to doing just that, and began many months of research and development to figure out how. But once again I fell ill and needed to move a little closer to home.
Now I live in Boise, Idaho, and find time to create ceramic art pieces and meaningful foraged recipes when I am well enough. During breaks in my flare-ups, I travel all over the Pacific Northwest, sharing my free wonder-based events with strangers all over the region! These generous events are funded by others’ generosity, my wonderful patrons who contribute anything from $1 to $50 a month to keep the magic alive. My health has continued to decline, and the many specialists and doctors I have seen are still searching for answers. Being able to share the wonder I see in the world with all of you is what keeps me going through the uncertainty and pain. I have hope that I’ll find a better way to manage my symptoms or maybe even a cure for whatever ails me, but until then I’m working around it as best I can. One of those ways is my blog, where I share recipes, writing, and inspiration to make your own magic. Even when I’m stuck in bed, I can still dream and write, and those thoughtful essays each accompany a beautiful recipe.
Frequently - Asked Questions:
Q: What is a Wondersmith?
A: "Wondersmith" is a word I made up to describe what I do. Just as a goldsmith works with gold, I use wonder as my material. I am also a glass and ceramic artist but that contributes to my work as a Wondersmith instead of competing with it.
Q: What's the catch? Are these events really free?
A: Yes, they really are! They are funded by my generous patrons and are my gift to you.
Q: Do you make all of the artwork yourself?
A: Yes, for the most part. Though I do occasionally collaborate with others I will always indicate if I am showing work other than my own.
Q: What is your name?
A: I prefer to be known simply as "The Wondersmith." This program is about generous giving and sharing the magic and using my "human" name seems unnecessary. If you have any safety concerns please feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Where do you find your ingredients?
A: I forage for many of them myself! Sometimes I order wild herbs and spices from companies like Wild Rose Herbs, but usually I harvest and process them myself. I've apprenticed for a Master Herbalist and make sure that anything I am feeding to others is 100% safe.
Q: What if I have dietary restrictions?
A: Even if you have dietary restrictions, you are still totally welcome at my events! I have quite a bit of experience catering to different needs, so I will do my best to create something you can eat as long as I have enough notice to do so. If you're attending one of my events, please feel free to reach out beforehand to discuss menu options.