Creating a phenology wheel to embed a daily practise of mindfulness.
A creative challenge
I’ve been wanting a little challenge of something to do in the evenings and at the weekends being creative and to just have some non- screen down time. After lots of Instagram scrolling I loved the look of phenology wheels. Phenology is the study of plant and animal like according to seasonal changes. There are lots of free templates on line you can print or use to help draw a template.
For April, my first attempt, I sectioned off each day around the wheel and filled it in as a bullet point diary. I’ve always wanted to keep a diary but just haven’t been able to stick to it. I looked on line for the moon cycle and filled in each day. I became so much more observant with looking in the sky for the moon to see the shape and how it changed throughout the month. I decided to record the weather for each day in the central sections. Some days I filled it in on the day, other days I filled in for 3/4 days if I hadn’t had chance earlier.
Being in the moment
I used a combination of Ökonorm watercolours and pencils/inks. I just really wanted to play and get in to the swing of making something and enjoy the process rather than worry too much about the finished outcome. Each day took about ten minutes to do, I really zoned out and it was very relaxing to focus on something at the end of the day.
For May I decided to expand the idea of the wheel and record nature around the edge. I took photos when we were out and about so I could draw in my sketchbook later. We visited beautiful Cornwall and I loved seeing the sea-thrift and marine plants embedded in the rocks in the cliffs. My two sons became intrigued with what I was doing and asked if they could paint too.
The watercolour tin is so light and easy to pop in our bags when out and about. We also collected flowers from the garden and looked for ‘treasures’ on our walk to and from school, collecting feathers, pine cones, leaves and pebbles. We stopped to listen to the birds and have spotted robins, ladybirds and even saw an amazing May beetle in our garden.
I think that from doing the phenology wheel it has made us stop and notice how the seasons have changed and what plants and creatures are appearing daily. It’s amazing to see the world through children’s eyes and be amazed by a ladybird or even a woodlouse. It’s made me appreciate the every day things and look for beauty all around me.
A family activity
My eldest son who is 7 asked if he could paint the things we found and really loves using the Ökonorm watercolours. The colours are very soft and have a lovely hue. It’s easy to layer paint to deepen the colour of you wish. I have only used the Ökonorm watercolours and a black fine liner pen for May’s wheel. Jack, who is 3, has enjoyed free painting and drawing with the Ökonorm wax blocks and Crayon Rocks pebbles. They resist the watercolour paint and so work beautifully together. I love how they don’t need to be sharpened and fit so well in small hands.
I have drawn my template for June already and am loving how I will have a visual record of the year. There are lots of templates you can use online- if a daily wheel seems too much there are monthly wheels you can use as templates to record the seasonal changes.
Here is a template for a 30 day cycle for June if you would like to have a go yourself. It’s such a lovely way of noticing nature and having a bit of ‘me’ time, and practice mindfulness. I would love to see your wheels if you have a go, don’t forget to post your pics on the Babipur hangout Facebook page or Instagram tagging Babipur.