Monday, November 30, 2009

november light, 4 pm

...and then this as i drive up into the foothills where i live after work. rain to snow to rain to sun back to snow. early winter, all right. at a horsefarm with one of my students today, we slogged through thick mud. 
i had intentions of taking pictures of my work table, but it has vanished under an indoor snowstorm of stuff moved off the dining table and other work in progress. i don't know why i work in this chaos, but it doesn't worry me at all. i remember long ago when i realized i work best with at least four pieces going at once. who cares? 

so, i promise some fiber soon. the IAPMA (international association of hand paper makers and paper artists) bulletin came in the mail today, and with helmut becker's flax covers, i'm about to settle in for a good read. thanks to gail stiffe and her crew for their dedicated work. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009


i've been participating in a discussion about teaching and storytelling, jobs given to artists, among others. (i also said i don't rely on quotes much, and that turns out to be an untruth, since i actually do.)

The Arapahos say that there are only so many stories in the universe, and from time to time, the stories allow themselves to be told. And when they do, they choose the storyteller. I second that. The idea for a story drops into your head because—you know what?—you have been chosen to tell that story.        
-Margaret Coel

i think she's right.

telling a story is what art is, i think. 
these pictures i took on a walk today remind me this is november, not very cold yet, but with dead light promising early dark, murky rain, possibly ice or snow. probably only a little. but can you see how beautiful it is? whose story is this?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

day four of five

these photos taken by hannah, are of a twisted paper thread and a scroll of my paper. the thread is thai paper, cut and spun fairly thick, and the scroll is thistle down (canada thistle) paper. in order to make a scroll i couched the 81/2x11 inch sheets together to form a length of about 5 feet. blank paper and a thread, a line, are what i've been given to write my story, which today is more than half finished. it's my birthday, and the sun came out to celebrate with me.
from the writer's almanac (and my refrigerator):
"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

it's william blake's birthday, too. he's 199 years older than me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

black and nothing

black friday is not in my world, for years i've avoided shopping and was pleased a couple years back when ian emailed me about buy nothing day. friday is recovery from feasting, pumpkin pie for breakfast, and enjoying time at the worktable. talking with kathy and carol. oh, and tea.

reflection on the supper we had, marc, leah, hannah and i. squash; potatoes both local and organic; chicken, heritage, local and organic from bittersweet farm. broccoli, good greens. pear pie, pumpkin, too. and maple walnut cake, syrup from camp oswegatchie. vermont farm cheeses, wine. good conversation, several toasts, four dogs: wendy, lina, gwen, and tess the puppy.

i love november, and march, the times between seasons, when the land shows her bones, when weather is changeable, and contemplation is appropriate. certain things are annoying, the mouse trapline, newly iced roads, cold fingers. soon the snow comes, it often is already here, but not this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


it's amazing that some people are looking at these words and pictures. thank you. i'm still not sure how this fits in my life.

there's a feeling around here this morning, anticipation, excitement, and the weather responds with crazy warmth. almost 60 outside.

when i have a chunk of space and time, i can actually work. so i've been thinking about taking shifu books in another direction. perhaps board covers, so i'm playing around with little poplar boards. here they call it popple. a word i like. and i like these retired maps from my pilot nephew. (a new way to see alaska and the northwest territories.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

five days away from the classroom

a note from pat included this:

"We must be willing to get rid
of the life we planned
so as to have the life that is
waiting for us."
Joseph Campbell

Sunday, November 22, 2009

sugar maple leaf shadow

sunday of not accomplishing much, just a bit of play, a letter, a shifu page, looking at poems. a time for thinking and playing with dogs. locking into the real cold to come. introspective. remembering, and wool sweaters.

this is a natural stencil on the white line on my road, the day the new lines were painted. katie found it first.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


always thursdays are hard, during the school year. light is leaving more and more, and today's cloud cover forecasts rain. inside, i'm thinking of shifu. it's getting dark. she always watches.

Monday, November 16, 2009

north country signage

today was a day borrowed from october, but the light was all wrong, thin and fragile and warning of the weather to come. i'm thinking about the changes in light and in texture as autumn slides into winter. and thinking about wood stoves and wood gathering and cutting down my hefty fireplace wood to fit into my tiny jotul stove.

on the way to work the fields are all in umbers and ochres and pale, pale yellow, the dogwood is red against the deer trimmed hedgerows. it's amazing how many geese can fill a field, or arrow across the sky.

the human element is sometimes quite astonishing. a chained sign sits on a road corner, in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

wake robin is a north country flower that blossoms in early spring but don't sniff, other common names are stinkin' willie or stink pot. guess why! but it's a wine red trillium that blooms along with the drifts of white trillium.

for many years i've borrowed this flower name for my fiberart and papermaking. and so i begin a blog, borrowing again. it's my intention to use this place to ponder and play (and probably pontificate, pointedly) my way through the process of art making using fiber and paper. i'm realizing that my work is constantly telling the story of my relationship to this rural place, north of the adirondack blue line.

above is a stack of my handmade papers, fibers are hosta, daylily, rhubarb, canada thistle, and probably some others. the golden paper is made from garage sale cotton bed sheets. and above, my banner is a sewn piece with dyed sheeting, paper, and spun paper thread. please bear with me as i navigate the scary world of blogging.

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