Saturday, March 17, 2018

what a week or so!

this march i am not traveling.
no trip to australia, or,
anywhere else.
this is fine, because i love march.
i love the weather changes, the way the land changes
bit by bit, and the birds return.
but i am missing australian friends
the australian landscape,
the kindness and big hearts of my friends there.
oh, and the sense of humor.
below is colleen jones with a friend in her installation.
i name them australian gothic.
 next is the shifu/paper work made by another australian friend, barb adams.
she makes amazing work.
see how her kami-ito turns into cloth turns into paper. 
 at home, or not far nearby,
 is a dear one some of you have a deep connection with.
wendy golden-levitt had surprise illness and surgery last weekend.
she pulled through well, 
but oh, my, out of the blue, surgery.
please send her your love and prayers for a speedy recovery.
 and even my big sister claudia had a health scare this week.
she's back home after a quick hospital overnight,
new meds taming the issue.
oh, my. 
and this morning on facebook 
another friend becky has a hernia
keeping her out of her studio.
beware the ides of march.
happy st patty's day.
i still like march, though i'm sorry 
people are hurting.
and then there was a big snow.
big and heavy and wet and continuing for hours and hours
and hours
building up to an over my knees height.
and my subaru couldn't get through the blockade at the end of the driveway 
(snow plow detritus)
i could get outside, high step through, but it takes a lot of energy.
one trip to the mailbox was quite an adventure.
(my mailbox was severed from its post by the county plow)
on snowshoes it was easier 
and i'm surprised that i enjoy them so much.
 happily a prince came to the rescue on his orange steed 
over 18 miles on backroads to dig me out.
 i'm now between both homes keeping the fire going 
and dog care-giving for awhile.
and i'm stitiching.
and stitching.
 running stitch, 
 it's definitely more a walking stitch.
 i've stitched several, 30 or so, small sheets of my flax papers now. 
all that stitching has given me a notion.
an idea for a book edition of five.
today i'll begin putting them together.
unless the sunshine entices me outdoors.
 stiff, strong raw flax paper 
becomes soft and sueded with the stitching.
taming a potato chip of paper 
into a soft, almost pillowcase almost cloth,
continues to fascinate me.
this idea began years ago, and here it is again.
 i've used kami-ito, 
 cotton, silk and linen,
often waxing the thread.
 i like putting on my own candle-leftover beeswax.
it's very soft and scented with the labor 
of local bees,
 and who knew? 
the candles i buy are made from local beeswax
by my last winter book arts student randy merrill. 
i've been enjoying her candles for a couple of years now.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

getting it right

when you get something right
even if it's only to please yourself
it feels really good.
this one is pretty big.
and waits
 for someone to work into it.
maybe me, who knows.
 all 10.5 x 12 inches of it
and believe me if i could photograph it well
you would be hooting and hollering, too.
er, maybe not...
 contact prints
 and handmade flax, hemp
 more prints,
just a series of folios,
some gatefolds
and paper you can work into.
 this has been sitting on my work table
waiting for tweaking,
which i did today
just before i sewed it together. 
and because i had to show someone,
i'm showing  you.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

flax and roof

they arrived early most days,
between 7 and 8 and stayed until almost dark.
this is rudy
shortly before hauling up 4 x 8 foot metal roofing
and here is my old ark of a house 
in all her soft green glorious sheathing.
and then, well, rudy spoke with me about siding...
indoors i've been messing around with flax and stitch,
charlie's flax here with my stitching.
making lots of small papers
and reading this book which excites me no end.
i bought some old hemp from sri
which i love
and intend to put to good use.
notice the stitching here.
can you guess the stitching material?
notice these squares.
can you guess fiber and pigment?
they really look good together
these colors
i'd like a nice soft red with them.
actually, i'd like all the colors
i was a happy woman to order
and receive
a LOT of indigo
kitchen papermaking.
mould by britt quinlin, the paperwright

my next splurge will be a lot of flax.
i've used up almost all of the 10 pounds i ordered last fall.
and today there was a breakthrough of sorts
but i am too tired to mess around with blogger and pictures and stuff
so it'll have to wait some. 
i've offered a friend a book, but if she doesn't want it,
i may offer it up to you all. 
my first ever contest,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

really big doings

in the past little while my old farmhouse
got spiffed up.
rudy and henry and levi
risked falling on (off?) the steep old roof,
but they persevered and there it is
the whole house is clothed.
moreover, two crumbly and useless chimneys disappeared,
the one useful and rather nice one remains.
two porch roofs and the garage remain.
but this morning they're back, working on them.
back after they got started with sugaring.
these three men have just recently moved here from pennsylvania.
the land is cheap and it's possible to live well here
if you like hard work.
they do.

both rudy and henry looked at my for sale place and passed on it.
on sunday two paper and book friends were here
both of them had looked at my for sale house the other time years ago
but i pulled it off the market.
and now my house looks better than it did years ago.
having three uninsured men walking around on your very steep roof
is worrying.
i can't watch-it's better if i stay away, but not too far.
i was very aware of every untoward clatter and thump.
it was the worst when they chimneys went down.
my amish workers were somewhat taken aback by my dining room.
rudy asked if they might eat inside everyday,
to warm up and get out of the wind.
there is all that "stuff" on the walls and
piling up my work areas.
unlike other "english" i have no dishwasher, tv, microwave, or dryer.
but i do have an imac (they did appreciate the weather reports).
worlds collide, i think, more often than not.
handling that can make us better people or  monsters.
it's our choice.
they're working again this morning, 
and i wish i could show you their faces but their religion eschews photography
which is why my photos are surreptitious.
i want to share this, as respectfully as i can.
it's very important to me.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

learning printing

i've made lots of flax paper this winter.
one mould,
custom made by britt quinlin the paperwright for a zone 4
and brush gallery project,
makes a dry sheet of about 10 x 24 inches.
the mould is unweildy and tricksy to use.
but i like it. 
working with the expert guidance of melissa schulenburg
i made some collagraphs 
about weave.
my living room furniture as drying rack. 
there was no way i could abandon these to the drying rack 
in the studio for five days,
they're too new and special for me.
and living with them helps me figure out the next steps.
dog kennels re-purposed.
 my living room includes two,
for the visiting setters,
gwen, who has made a happy comeback from her bad spell, 
and tess the princess birddog.
i opened up my sketchbook
looking for pulp stories
 and found this
from two winters ago.
a pulp herbal.
shanna's covered rock holding the page.
at school
the freshman group made 
super mokuhanga self portraits,
here are some of them.
and a warwick press surprise
i found in my mailbox.
a reflection on the times,
a poem, and this lovely, lovely landscape.
it feels like almost nothing in my hands,
so light and airy.
it's been a good week.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


several years ago my amazing son ian drew his heart
his woods
his love
maybe because he was raised next door to woods
and was babysat by a grandfather maple
and played with his sister
climbing trees,
tasting sap-weeping sugar maples in march,
and now borrows wood bits, old and new,
to carpenter into useful
and beautiful
we would do well to remember how rooted our hearts are
in this woods
all our woods,
this world.
please, be mine.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

how creativity infects life

i edited this a little, especially trying to explain how creativity works for me,
and the alignment, etc. is still wonky, but i'm leaving it. 
i still maintain that others, non-creatives, see it as procrastination. 
creatives know better,
but still have to manage it.
remember that poster from the 70's? 
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."

sunday's post:
i was informed by my love that procrastination is part of creativity, 
(research proves it)
that the gestation taking place while procrastinating is part 
of the process. 
i like that.
/girls; it's what we're not.
sometimes creativity springs spontaneously from need:
i had to fix those basket handles.
as i walked past my work table i noticed
two long pieces of thick hemp string
that tied up a recent gift
and had to be reused. 
they were right there ready for me.
many years ago now i heard the term "compost dyeing".
way before i knew what it could be, 
then eventually found websites,
still not understanding much i made it up and then, and then, 
i found an amazing book, eco colour,
  and fortunately met india flint, and ecodyeing, now contact printing.
she who is teaching via facebook right now, a very creative, online class.
i'm getting ahead of myself, though...
knowing what i did about compost and natural dyeing
i put it together and thought: what if i wetted a fabric,
hung it in my green cone composter and let the heat and microorganisms make some color/pattern.
so i tried it.
meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say,
there was a 55 gallon barrel 
brought over by a riding friend to make practice jumps for my mare and me.
it had burned in a shed fire and then rusted, being exposed to weather.
i rolled it into my yard, 
wrapped white cotton sheeting around it, tied it on
and wet it out. 
for a couple of autumn months.
i used: water, vinegar, milk, wine, beer...whatever interesting liquid i had that day.
mostly it was water.
the final cloth was colored and patterned, 
salvaged before any weather damage.
i washed it well, dried and ironed,
 and off it went to become someone else's shirt.
this is what it is: 
gestation. creativity. procrastination?
i've been making small sheets of paper
from the pulp leftover after bigger runs at school.
(2 pounds of flax = a bunch of large papers and 
a gallon of leftover pulp too small for the big equipment)
i make little papers
 and can be at home, in the kitchen! 
and manage pressing and drying at my leisure.
early, i sometimes wear my nightclothes.

and the other day the ups delivery guy and later on a state trooper both startled me

stomping up on the back porch in a snowstorm, 

when i was making paper in the kitchen (they were both ama/uzed).
i, fortunately was clothed appropriately.
but where these new sheets will go, 
prints and books,
this is what i'm working on now.
all the while i'm prepping for pbi, 
and for summer/fall papermaking class, 
and thinking about another cool opportunity that i hope
i can share with you once it's finalized.
i found this ⇧ while tidying up at school.
the storage closet is now easy to navigate.
and this year there's winter, 
who does winter's own creative work being poor man's fertilizer, 
and slowing down drivers of cars and buggies.
(slowing down the work on my roof, too.)
a woven landscape,
with new snow and now freezing rain today 
 hearing from both kids
during a snowstorm in one day 
highlighted my week
 and the neighbor three
see three, now? 
often joined by two others often check in during the dayout back the snow around the barn
looks like a sewing machine went wild
stitching patterns all aboutand as usual 
i see weaving everywherealders and other brush
woven by wild grapevine suggest patterns for books
maps for living
a life.

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