Susan Moss Bourne lives in the country outside Kingston, Idaho, where she spends much of her time hiking and gathering lichen, moss, antlers, pine cones and flowers for handmade wreaths. For the last three years, she has been making wreaths to use, sell, donate, gift and inspire.
“It all started 15 years ago when I bought a wreath from a friend to give as a gift to my daughter,” Bourne, 71, says. Her daughter loved the gift so much that when she found a moose antler on a hike in Montana, she asked her mother if it would be possible to make it into another wreath.
So Bourne started her own wreath-making journey. The friend she had purchased from became her teacher, and now, three years later, it is a craft they take up together gathering their supplies throughout summer and piecing them together in the autumn and winter.
Bourne says she has family and friends all over the country, including a sister in Virginia, who will send her pine cones, moss and other found forest treasures for her to use.
Her favorite organic materials to use are lichen, especially lichen found in the Spokane area she describes as “iridescent green,” pine cones from Coeur d’Alene and materials her daughter sources from a bike trail in the Mead area.
“Being outside, being with nature is so therapeutic for your spirit, your body, your mind, for everything,” Bourne says. “I’ll go out to gather things for an hour. Soon enough, it’s been three or four hours.”
She describes her time spent making and collecting as spiritual. “Each one is unique,” she says. “You never know how the spirit is going to guide you to make one.”
Bourne’s work is on display and for sale at New Moon Art Gallery through Sunday. It is her first time in a gallery, but she has been known to barter goods, and she sells in shops in North Idaho and accepts commissions. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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