An off grid art laboratory in the Secret Forest

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Latest Stories from the Secret Forest

  • The grass and the wild flowers around the lab

    The grass shouldn’t be cut because Nila likes it as much as the snow! Then also because it is full of melliferous wild flowers, which provide nectar to bees and many other insects. Also, high grass is really magnificent. And the fawns hide inside. With a little delay everything is starting blooming around the Art […]

  • Cooking with the Moon flowers (annual honesty)

    This year the forest was filled with Lunaria annua, a wild biennial herbaceous plant. Also known as Moon grass because of the silvery fruits that recall the full moon. It is among the first to bloom in spring. I cook its leaves and purple flowers with a pumpkin puree. Leaves can both be eaten raw […]

  • Cleaning the Forest floor and preparing to plant new trees

    On this spot of the Secret Forest the brambles had taken over and nothing could grow anymore. Last December I cleaned up while waiting to plant new trees to make up for the existing forest fabric all around. That is, a mixture rich in oaks, maples, ash trees, chestnut trees, walnuts, rowan trees, cornus, conifers […]

  • Crossing the valley in winter

    My third winter in the Mannarolo valley is almost over. Those times that I return in the evening through these woods and its mule tracks is when I better reflect on the meaning of things and of being here. Where it is necessary to point towards the darkest part of the horizon and enter a […]

  • Wolf pack spotted near the Forest Lab tonight

    A pack of 4 wolves was patrolling the Secret Forest tonight and they passed a few meters away from the Forest Lab. They are particularly shy towards the trailcamera, they continouosly check for everything and a trailcamera make them nervous. More than other species do. I should find another camera with less obvious IR illuminator, […]

  • I am stuck in the Secret Forest after a snowstorm

    Last night snowed and I cannot use neither the rover or the bike to get to the valley. I tried but the tires immediately slided unpromisingly. Since there are cliffs everywhere for kilometers I convinced myself that I am not able to drive in these conditions. Then I moved on foot to the Mannarolo’s alp, […]

  • The Secret Forest as you’ve never seen it before

    The Secret Forest as you’ve never seen it before. The house and the Art Lab can be seen at the beginning and at the end of the video. There it is where I live and work. It is an ancient off grid house, meaning that it is completely self supported (Water from a spring source, […]

  • 8×10″ enlarger. A DYI solution for the Secret Forest Darkroom

    I finally tested the 8×10” enlarger that I made here in the Secret Forest. It is conceived as an extension of the previous enlarger from 1900 that I had restored and will remain in use for the smaller formats and with which it now shares the vertical movement system (rail, counterweight, gears) After tinkering a […]

  • The Olive Harvest

    There are a few high altitude olive trees in the Secret Forest. I am picking now their olives 🫒🫒. Last autumn those trees didin’t produced any olive, due to a couple of coldsnaps during the previous spring I guess. It indeed snowed in April, which is not unsual here. To my understanding these trees are […]

  • The Pears and the Apples from the Forest

    Two weeks ago the man who lived in my house 60-70 years ago (he is now over ninety!) Suggested that I hang the still unripe pears on the beams of the house, as they used to do in the past. When the pears turn yellow they are ready, so you avoid them being eaten by […]

  • I was surrounded by howling wolves tonight

    The house and the lab were surrounded by wolves last night. One of them began to howl in front of the building to recall the pack. After half an hour of calling in total darkness I heard them all walking around the house.Nila remained alert all the time but silent. Only when she heard the […]

  • Miniature Print Series in the Darkroom

    Some stages of darkroom printing one of the miniatures of the Secret Forest series. These will be available in a series of only 10. I don’t know yet if I will provide a small frame or not. To achieve a result that fully satisfies me, various tests and studies on the negative in the darkroom […]