Friday, May 11, 2018

leaving and arriving

michigan to be exact.
some samples i put together this week
that beautiful indigo wool above tied the wonderful
sarah swett tapestry into a nifty bundle.
 the tapestry and the yarn are all that textile can be.
that sort of textile, that is (wool).
 i moved the remains of two chimneys elsewhere,
tidying the yard.
 and this came from catherine 
 such surprise
 unfolding and blossoming
 a lovely thing from a fine friend.
and a gift from the ostrich ferns
waiting to be worked
as i get ready to leave tomorrow nerves kick in,
the drive, the teaching, the whatevers...
and aimee talked sense to me, which was just what i needed.
on the road at 5 AM tomorrow, across ontario to ox bow and PBI.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

first flower

this morning the first daffodil from my garden
is curling up and going away.
i need to bring daffs and narcissi indoors, also black eyed susans.
 yes, they are.
 and this one is blurry, a low light photo
about 8 pm i htink
i cleaned up my perennial border this spring,
uncovered the heavy maple leaf "mulch"
and the flowers are so happy, 
wild and cultivated alike, they are flourishing.
and because there aren't that many
they are very special to me. 
and there are two daffodil clumps over the wall
relocated, perhaps, by enterprising rodents.
this weekend i saw two amazing sights,
a bald eagle hunting, an egret lifting off a marsh.
egret is a bird i've never seen here before.
turtles are about
as are silly old porcupines
i'm preparing for PBI and i found i had to do some "stuff"
 flax paper, still quite wet,
ready for blotters and pressure again
~clean off my work table
~locate all my appropriate spinning devices for this workshop
~loom choices?
~make lists and pack (i have the entire outback to fill with stuff)
~make 1.5 pounds of flax pulp into small papers
~make some books (!!!)
~sew bindings for a friend
~meet with a special collections librarian to talk 
do you see where this all is going?
it's like i have to tie together all the sloppy bits of my life 
in order to travel and teach. 
i even did a wild mend on a glove i tore while working last month.
i also washed them.
(this was about half way through the mend)
it's almost a frenzy. 
i gave myself a week but really,
i've been at it for a while.
 my tea kettle develops a thick layer of mineral deposits every so often.
this time there was a big break-up
and look what the large pieces had!
letters! words!
i save these pieces and throw them in the dye pot.
when i return unless i have time before i leave.
are you tired yet? 
it's wonderful to have energy
this will change once it gets hot and i slow down.
oh, and this:
i bought this
in order to have a travel wheel
and because it's so darn cute.
i don't know if i'll love it, but i do like it.
i'll photograph it put together sometime, 
but for now,
i must get going and make some STUFF.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

finding out that your hands know something

this water is part of the grasse river.
taken two or three days ago, 
there is more green now though you might not notice.
 what am i thinking?
i went over to school last night and beat another pound and a half (more or less)
of flax.
i'd like to make some more paper.
before pbi.
there was this on the way to the library
 for the life of me i can't remember what the white things were.
 some kind of installation.
ceramic, maybe.
 you can just barely see the rigging that holds them in place.
 i've been doing a LOT of stitching on flax as well as cotton paper this winter.
you may remember me going on and on about it all.
(which is what my book Flax Notion is all about).
once the holes are punched
and the stitches made
i like to burnish them a bit
nestle them into the surface of the paper,
i needed a burnisher,
one that fits my hands and feels just right.
 did i take a before photo?
but this was a deer leg bone that i harvested
from a carcass heaved aside.
 i had already cut it to size with a band saw, 
but i could have just as well used the hatchet
which i did use to hew out the general shape.
this little sampler of kami-ito
on st armand cotton cover stock needed to soften a bit
 so i used my new burnisher on it.
the stitches flatten nicely, you can feel it make itself more of a whole.
 i'm showing you lots of photos so you can see the delicious curves and shapes
ready to be used.
though i was tempted to decorate it some,
i left it plain.
 the slight color irregularities are particularly evident in deer bone.
when i learned this skill from jim croft
i carved with elk bone as well.
 there's a small and a larger end. 
even the edge can be used.
i took the surface down to a 400 sandpaper sheen
but i now have 600 and a really fine steel wool
that i've used a bit. 
I don't need this to shine, just almost.
now my hands know this tool, it knows me.
the oils in my hands will help it get to know me and me it.
i'd forgotten how satisfying it is to make what you need to make something else.
and to make it well and have it be
 this morning i was outside working
and i found that i'd forgotten to brush my hair.
 it's curly again, now that my underactive thyroid is boosted,
and the resulting hair loss has subsided some,
and my energy levels have returned,
i am so happy.
 last night sunset was enormous
after days of rain.
 today has been very productive.
over at the new place there's a woodcock hen on a nest very close to the house.
i watched her today, shuffle around and move. 
she's so close i can see her beak 
and her eyes.
but my photos didn't land in my inbox, so i'll show you later.
today, tuesday, may day.
what a day!

it's wednesday and here they are:

 mama woodcock on her nest.
first: rear view, 
second: head view.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

still catching up

yesterday there was a starling in my kitchen, misguided into the old chimney,
one that rudy removed the top part of.
that starling comes from a long line of starling spring chimney nest makers.
it didn't like the kitchen after i opened the chimney nipple.
it did like flying away.
there have been mice, too, there big fat ones
living high off the hog in my bag of black eyed susan seed. 
they went outside 
(and undoubtedly came back in through some hidey hole).
 two days in the yard,
trimming, raking, 
picking up branches, leaves, mortar, bricks and nasty sharp pieces of metal roof offcuts.
i found these yard sticks.
objects to contemplate, and whittle.
rosa rugosa, 
wild black raspberry, 
rose of some sort that i replanted from the old milkhouse to my house.
 and this is the final pile, almost, 
i added another 30 or so sheets
of the paper I've made that's still here 
since the election.
THAT election.
 there are stories here. 
the pink sheets were a dark red shirt
that belonged to a friend's deceased husband.
creamy yellow is milkweed seed fiber from gin petty.
the little boxes are full of tiny sheets, mostly flax, colored with earth pigments.
there are sheets that are large and long and tiny and lots between.
a plethora of paper.
this would make a tiny library of books, perhaps.
i was hesitant at first, trying things, and then it all 
now i have some books to make, 
but first, 
a sampler for my "records".
and in local news, 
the atv'ers are trying to get riding on roads legalized.
currently this is against nys law.
(atv makers say they're not designed for road use which is, 
instead, quite dangerous)
their reasoning: 
 getting from trail to trail on the roads between. 
where they propose to have a trail speed limit of 25 mph.
these are multi-use trails
shared with people riding horses, bikes, but mostly humans on foot  
and in winter, snowmobiles and skiers and snowshoers.
i hate the snow machines, noisy and stinky,but they don't ruin trails.
atv's on our fragile public lands will cause erosion amongst other abominations.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

loose ends

 some things to catch up on:
i used to blog pretty often,
now i seem to forget.
but i do love this, as i understand, outdated mode.
the last two days i was out in my yard making some order
out of the chaos of february's new roof construction
many storms-worth of broken trees.
i do have some stamina but i can't go flat out all day every day like i used to.
there are little green sharp roof off-cuts that I keep finding, 
those and roofing screws.
 and lots of broken asphalt shingles to clean up.
sticks and leaves and mortar and brick pieces everywhere.

in the house prep for pbi continues.

i have two copies of this little gem left, Flax Notion.
I've had good feedback from the folks who purchased a copy.
if you would like one of these that remain, 
drop an email...
i'm searching for one or two of these,
Good Wood Looms.
if you have one in great shape you'd like to sell, 
please let me know.
this photo was sitting on the desktop somehow dredged up from the depths.
it's a shifu/basket book that now lives with a book binder friend.
i love giving a book a basket to live in.
 below is a famous basket.
holding my prepped kozo being spun into kami-ito. 
 and almost the last of the roof snow
slid with a big noise off the porch roof.
(yes, i jumped) 
i'm still unused to the shedding activity and resulting noise of this roof.
the soaked and heavy chunks were not going to be moved,
i couldn't, i tried,
 so they stayed there for a few days. 
see that tangle of green?
the lightning rods and their grounding wires were frozen in for a couple months.
the rods and the 'knit' wire are copper.
rudy removed four of them and two chimneys when the roof was done.
he also removed a silly cupola from the garage.
all this debris is mine to clean up, so that's what I'm doing outside.
it's uphill work!
jude is making an even richer resource over at 
spirit cloth.
her blogging continues to inspire me as she revinvents 
what a blog is and how it works.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

all the things by hand

all the things.
the first time i heard this phrase
was in michelle moode's beautiful letterpress book
it was index item #1.
the first thing was all the things.
 i handle this book,
handle, the touch or the feel of something held in the hands
this book
haptic knowledge
anyway, it has delights and puzzles quietly presented.
The whole world is a series of miracles, 
but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.
Hans Christian Anderson

I've been thinking about the intelligence of 
our hands, how they become smarter with practice, like our brains do.
unmoored, by shanna leino
 i've read over and over.
it's a small poem, not many words,
but about big things.
the care she took as she stitched this exquisite spine 
 the monoprints on silk...
see her tiny stitches?
an exit in SLU's print studio
with my favorite cheesecloth drying after being washed out.
i'm not quite sure why it is
but for me the things that have meaning
are the things made by hands that have knowledge,
and also are my favorites
for (whatever/all the) reasons.
in last summer's seattle workshop
my students' hands all together could indeed have ruled the world,
with exquisite intelligence, grace, and love.
hazel and gabby
 an envelope came recently that held this rich 
 Banks of the Dogbane by sarah swett
a hand sized tapestry (3 x 3") rich in simple detail
and texture
 woven on handspun linen
 i love this thing.
 over on the next farm this structure
was never honored by finishing
or by use
 now it's failing
i believe it was intended for hay storage 
for these bovines.
why leave it undone, 
a public testament to failure of some kind?
i watched them build it, but then it was ignored.
these cows don't seem to care. 
the lovely little brown calf stands out in this black and white crowd.
a lilac burl
from my garden.
enhanced by me cleaning and oiling it,
rolling it around in my hands with pleasure and love
handling it into another use
(maybe an awl?)

 a beautiful handwoven hemp textile
hand spun hemp on a cotton warp
found by my dear friend who allowed me to buy it
at mjolk in toronto.
 tiny waxed linen crocheted basket by Nina Payne
a gift from a gifted friend.
 shanna's lake michigan rocks
beautiful and useful.
 a little natural history book nest i made
two feathers on a shifu page and a seaweed float/bladder
 milkweed bast becoming thread
 ginkgo message
from therese
and words from the wise.
i'm reading a new book: 
Craeft by alexander langlands
which may help me understand (or perhaps just frame)
my thoughts on hand work.
all the handwork.

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