Monday, September 18, 2017

a gift of summer in fall

i have continued making paper with hemp and linen and earth pigments. 
managing drying at home can be tedious
using blotters and weights helps, but oh for a dry box!
these are hemp (the indigo) and hemp plus linen (the pale with threads) 
and i like their strength and presence.
making small sheets 
(about 5 x 8 inches) 
gives me a chance to really enjoy these slow draining pulps
without pulling out my hair in waiting frustration.
which is what i do when i move to larger sheets.
sunday i made 12 x 14 size, 
not large, 
but 
oh
so
slow.

meanwhile i decided i would buy 
a heavier jenkins turkish drop spindle
for kami-ito making.
it's a pretty thing.
and the next photo is a bit humbling, but...
you need to see and understand the mistakes which are signposts of learning 
or re-learning.
because i have to practice skills i haven't used for years.
(this reminds me of driving standard again after years of automatic.)
but when you scrutinize less
you can see some interesting things here:
all recycled book except the thread.
book cloth was gifted.
pages were failed silkscreen prints
foraged from the trash can at school.
board recycled from another use.
and it was a way to stretch myself:
lots of sewing
four needles
estimating thread lengths
gluing the bookcloth
guling the endsheets
double or not the attachments to boards
pagination: how to keep the green, blue, yellow, and white interesting
so you want to turn the pages.
i like setting up challenges for myself.
and learning that i have to keep that sewing pattern
right so the book is not an embarrassment.
yesterday i was stunned by this
and this
we are having such warm weather
that we can have windows wide open at night
and it's sunny and so different to have this wonderful time.

Monday, September 11, 2017

september is always so busy!

the second day of peace paper at zone 4
drew and jana set students up to prep cloth
here a multitude of retired t shirts
color batched into the hollander and ready for papermaking.
z4's little valley beater
(drew says it's the best one in the country)
makes short work of a pound of t-shirt
actually about 20 minutes or less per load. 
 below, combining peace paper blurb, military uniforms from drew's work with veterans
and our sophomore seminar (melissa and me doing book arts)
 intergenerational chopping
in the print shop at slu.
 and then sheet forming.
our class really became quite skilled.
in the background is tom lascall 
who lives here and always lends a hand when peace paper is in town.
 the paper production line
 sara lynch and her friend viola came by
and made a couple of sheets
sara is an artist/potter from potsdam, 
she taught me a bit about clay last summer
 we dried paper in the dry box and by hanging the pressed papers on their felts 
 a full mill
 on the home front
we had the sawyer in to make boards from the trees
m. felled last winter
practicing forest health
and making lumber.
 the piles of drying lumber 
are behind the extra firewood (look between the two front stacks).
 saturday afternoon/evening and sunday morning we unloaded 
two wagons of lumber
mostly white pine, but also
oak, ash, black cherry, and poplar.
 pallets sourced from local businesses
are the bases for our drying stacks
 and where, oh where, are the final stacks?
if your body was as weary as mine was
after 6 hours of helping (and i was only the helper)
you'd have forgotten that photo, too!
back home i made some kami-ito
steamed it
and wove a small long cloth
for a tsunobukuro
 grapes for size comparison.
 and then i made a second one
with only one strand of linen sewing the seams.
 if you have Hirokos' book you will have seen her set up for cutting kozo
and Susan's shows it as well.
my set up included shanna leino's leather weights
which serve to hold the sheet while cutting
and serve and a hand rest for my left hand
which gets mighty tired holding down that straightedge.



 i kept a candle lit to keep me focused and happy
i love the smell of beeswax.
 and am almost ready to use these covers i made
years ago with local jeweler and bead maker 
mary harding.
and today i get to teach again with melissa
book arts
and we get to see and touch all our beautiful new paper.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

peace paper

in the mill that healed me last winter
 many vats full of pulp
made from t-shirts and a few other bits (like hosta)
our intergenerational students
 joined drew and jana
 with some support from tom and melissa and me
 (this is our book arts class, by the way)
 making paper,
for peace, for life, for love
 we hung our pressed papers to dry on lines at the end of the class.
our class is part of this sophomore success initiative
and today, 
yard alchemy 
fresh stuff to make prints.
it's been a long time.
YAY!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

stars and fiber

this came home with my partner
delicious and beautiful
supper was fresh sweet corn on the cob
amazing bread
and garden salad lettuces
at Zone 4 
the paper mill at SLU
the papermaking continues.
(today i begin teaching papermaking and book arts 
and next week
peace paper comes to visit)
a small test sheet.
linen rag,
a FLAX suit
turned into pulp after three or so hours of beating!
the color is quieter than the original cloth
which was a tan with a pink tone that i found rather off.
here is the sheet with the original cloth
the sickly pink tone is gone now
to this base pulp i added
retention aid and 
caput mortuum (dead head)
earth pigment from Melbourne Printmaking Supply. 
close up 
and full size.
it's a small sheet, still damp here,
 but has possibilities.
since i have 3 buckets of this linen
i'll be coloring some more
for, hopefully, a book.
and finally
barry smith sent me leaves of peace to share
the word
peace star echoes the bread star
bread and peace.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

a week of muchness

patterns on the morning table
remind me of where my thoughts
 traveled this summer
summer,
(which is now waning.
morning temperatures in the high 40's.
and heavy dewfall.)
i play patterning paper into spheres.
changing 
 reflections, 
 there has been so much rain
 and the babies are so big now.
 evening
 and below,
some useful and beautiful plants
goldenrod, canada thistle
 and these are the indoor doings:
i had the incredible honor of this gift,
shifu:
 margaret sent me a piece of beautiful shifu
woven by sadako sakurai
a piece that i held in my hands earlier this summer
in seattle.
she also sent some reading, 
articles i'd perhaps once seen, but had forgotten.
an astonishing package, and
so welcome!

 and i found i actually had this catalog
hidden away in my studio shelves! 
YAY!
 see the paper here, 
thread and the small rice seed 
where the sadako spun around the corner (so to speak)
 my 4 selvedge shifu echoes this,
so different, 
like a country bumpkin cousin
  i now have enough pages here
spun from kozo account book paper
for a japanese stab bound book,
and a few wee squares
left over.
 i've been spinning
 AND i discovered this woman's work!
i'd heard this summer that i should see a show of sarah's work.
i wish i had. she's written two zines
full of comics and fiber,
you'll learn a lot and be delighted.
i promise.
more news this week includes me acquiring a parking sticker
at st lawrence university
where i'll be teaching book arts this fall.
and a slew of slu meetings
exhausting
but next week: class begins. 
this is going to be a semester of possibility,
we have sophomores, and adults and a printmaker and me teaching.
i'm expecting to be challenged and have some real fun!
oh,
and i've spruced up my website a little bit:
www.velmabolyard.com
it's still a work in progress, though.
sigh.

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