Problem solving

When the results of first attempts are guaranteed to be imperfect, creativity gets the room it needs to work its magic. The finished product may end up on your coffee table, in your garden, or on the scrap pile. The creative process can turn from fun to frustrating to fun again in a matter of minutes. But that first moment of surveying something finished, something surprising, something not at all how you imagined it, is empowering. So bring on the next project!

September 20, 2011

Drying Herbs

Camera-happy Chester, daydreaming of dried catnip...
A mid-September overnight freeze! What else could have driven me to harvest all my herbs at once, right before sunset, toss them in bunches on the kitchen table, and only then ask myself, "Where will I dry all these?"

Earlier this year I cured bunches of garlic by attaching them with clothespins to a length of twine strung between chairs in the basement. But I have an herbs-drying-in-the-basement paranoia that revolves around spiders, oregano and rosemary, and the possibility of eating a home-made spider leg pizza, so I needed a different drying method to put my mind at ease.

Dill leaves/seeds, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint
My few requirements for the herb drying rack were that it be located on the main floor, out of direct sunlight, out of cat-batting range, and made out of something I already had on hand. And so I created... a willow branch herb drying web.

I made two versions. On each, I first braided together 3 long branches for the frame, and connected the ends to form a hoop.

In the first design, I slightly bent 4 long branches for the interior, leaving loops outside the frame, and then crossing the ends before poking them through spaces at the opposite ends of the braided circle. Luckily, the lopsidedness that you will notice when it is empty is hidden when it's loaded up with herbs.

For the second design I used fishing line to connect the hoop, and instead of bending the branches, I simply cross-hatched lengths of branches throughout the hoop, all willy-nilly like.

Herb-drying frame, version II
As far as looks go, I could have ramped up the country charm by tying the herbs to the frame with bits of ribbon or lace or twine. But sometimes when this sort of exercise is staring me in the face, practicality trumps charm, especially when the need is only temporary.

So, mission accomplished. I could still harvest more oregano to fill all the gaps...but I've got other projects to get to!  

1 comment:

  1. that is so ingenious! you are such a creative girl!