Friday, July 30, 2010


peeling porch paint

yesterday i HAD to be still. my body demanded i take it easy, so instead of going out or thinking about big things i looked around myself at beauty here. my porch floor.

for your concern, i thank you. looks like my allergic reaction was the sweet cherries i ate, or most probably the chemicals that were left on them. i also got a nasty menopausal style period which surprised me. i THINK my body is enjoying being unpredictable. i had good advice to honor the body/spirit connection with gratitude. so i am saying here thank you.
textiles on a table. layers of memory that please me. joanne's rope.
a collection of book pages and parts wait for bindings. they are some of the extra ideas i have hanging around to work on when i have a chance. i walked around the house looking at texture and color. it seems that i must look. touch. smell (now it's sweet grass!!!) in the studio.
a gift from the sea and from stephen
so a gift of time given because it needs to be is mine for a few days. i am lucky enough to have this time now to take and learn what i need to. now. here. fully. if i only can do it well.

wendy went to the vet for a shot and exam. she is well, she is 12. she has a heart murmur which may need medication in the future. she also has worn down her teeth on toys (frisbee, kong, rope, ball, stick). but she is very well. we are friends.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


milkweed after the monarch flew
so today i am waiting for a plumber who was briefly here and now again and longly gone. i experienced a violent allergic reaction around noon, my throat was instantly sore, nose running, took a benadryl type med from the cupboard and it's all calmed down, but the throat feels odd, voice is weird. ian called and said, do you think it could be stress, mom? you've been very busy. yes, i think he's right. 
i am tired. still. the weather is winding up into a storm. the trees dance. the breeze erratic, gusty. i have friends to contact, commitments to follow up on. my body wants to rest. 
this is what i need to be contemplating for a bit. not this. yikes. i am chair. i need to be snow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

meanwhile, back at the ranch...

i'm beginning to get over the huge sleepiness that's overwhelmed me for a couple of days. i swear that this chair was no where near the grapevine that has tried to claim it for it's own.
it had also climbed up my porch screening and begun to boogie along the roof. this summer is galloping ahead of itself.
not an amish farm, but definitely an amish style sign. new since i left.
some p.b.i. samples. melissa showed us several traditional fine binding techniques that transfer over to thick/artists' books. i was entranced with this spine sewing, and went overboard with these little presentation booklets.
you can see that i used a precious object that i found in machias, and built a home for it. this little book swings easily and we had fun (i was sitting at the FUN table) swinging it and pretending to be police. book geeks.
this checkerboard spine has many many possibilities, and i think i'll be exploring this one more. melissa learned this from betsy palmer eldridge. 
the three books, in different stages of completion. the ones presenting pebbles are leather trimmed. i am learning, and you can see many mistakes.
melissa's class was all about incorporating objects that are not necessarily found in books into the structure. we made thick board books, using several techniques to bind them. we did a lot of experimenting and everyone's book(s) were unique. melissa managed this chaos with grace and ease. i have a new way to present textiles, and unfortunately the photos don't really show much, so i guess i'll have to make up the thing in order to share it. number 25 on my list of things to be done immediately. after trimming the grapevine, that is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1,842.3 miles

though i never saw a moose, i did see two bald eagles
it's been a long two weeks, many miles on my subaru, and a trip into the time warp of home town/family. i will tell you this: here in the north country the robins are still singing, and redwinged blackbirds, sparrows chirping and a multitude of other voices i know but don't identify. wendy waits for me at 7 when i can spring her from the kennel. i woke earlier than normal, eager to start the normalcy of living at home.
a gem in hardwick, vermont
i like this town
someone asked about pbi--i will give you the standard spiel: the paper and book intensive is a working sabbatical for practitioners of the paper and book art from librarians and conservators, to artists, from binders to papermakers. it is intense eight days of classes, plus a day of  excursion/field trips and a pack/wrap-up/celebration day. you work with others passionate about paper and books, and take classes from the best in the field.
chela has an alchemical sign, and taught me the stationer's bindings i love.
jan's sketch book and finished 18th century french binding
papers made in katie macgregor's class
giselle's prints
david's print
i came home, hauled in my copious mail, paid bills, and went off to my sister's memorial service, five hours west of here on the niagara river. it's been over 20 years since i visited my home town. the bones of the escarpment are there, the river itself, the old, old houses i have always loved, the chapel of the presbyterian church--all there. everything has gotten gentrified. i doubt a working class person can afford to live in the village. needless to say we were definitely working class, just barely!  my old house is small and the trees mom planted are big. i saw five of my sister's eight children, all grown up some with gray hair. one has three children, all artists, all lovely children. i am heartened to see the creative gene burgeoning, also in my niece's daughters, the sweet and the surly one. they are all lovely children, and i have great hopes for the future.

my traveling companion and sister claudia and i stayed in a bed and breakfast that once was the  nun's residence. and, great news, coppins' service station is still there, complete with the mobil oil horse! also vincenzo's pizza! we remaining three sisters sat in the humid, hot sun in deep emerald fur covered seats (i kid you not)  while the holy guy read a wildly inaccurate summation of my sister's life. what he got right was that she loved her eight kids. 
two creative young men put it this way: gee but it's great to be back home. st lawrence county looks so good. 

a link to some more pbi stuff: melissa, jeff

my son ian spent some time with painter nate praska. go over to facebook (you don't have to play stupid games or even pay attention) and check out the mutuality. ian and nate.

oh, and it's deliciously cool here today. YAY!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

why aren't i sleeping?

our work stations/benches on the last day were a tad out of control. as we madly tried to pull together our pieces, there was a quietly desperate rush to complete what ever we could. i made a bunch of samples, and really focused on the last binding melissa taught. it's a checkerboard spine and looks much like pattern weaving.
around three, about a half hour before scheduled clean-up, one over eager student kicked into  clean up gear, but we held out at our benches and i soldiered on to finish the model. we tidied that studio, eventually meeting for supper. where we were entertained:
i'm not sure, but it looked like this ukelele band had WAY too much fun. the guy with the horn, whose name escapes me, teaches here and was a crane school of music student back in the day. 
one of many pieces...shows itself just as well upsidedown. margaret's first coptic binding. and below, lisa's little books with leather and textiles.
as i sit here, hair dripping and sleep deprived resulting from a couple of blue moons at the thirsty moose last night, i know how special this group of book arts practitioners is indeed. to have come here, focused totally and encouraged by wonderful teachers has been a huge blessing for me. it will take time for me to process this, but i do know this: already i am receiving ideas, new ways to put my work into book format which for some reason is what moves me deeply. 

a crow is making itself known out my window, i am sleepy again after a short night, and will leave this afternoon, after the famous pbi auction, but before the banquet. tomorrow i will be home again, then off for a bit, then home for good.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

a day of work/play

a breakfast fire alarm, complete with trucks and fire guys. i thought i was hearing cedar waxwings, then i realized the tempo was all wrong... lasted about 20 minutes i think.
the feet of one of book arts finest artists. guess who?!
the view out to sea from jasper beach where melissa and i went after supper. it's amazingly beautiful here, lots of jasper in the pebbles, which seem to have a life of their own. they sigh and chuckle and move in response to the waves and seem very much alive.
we both found a few rocks for weights for our binding studios, and for me lots of small rocks that just plain felt good in my hands. it was easy to be greedy in such plenty, and easy to leave treasures and only take home a few. it seems that at jasper, one just collects rocks. the atlantic was cold and fresh and salty and felt wonderful on my grumpy feet.

the heat/humidity here this summer is fierce, and i just don't feel as healthy as usual. so i'm not producing book art, but i am working on samples and learning more than a few things. this intense atmosphere is sometimes so huge that participants get swept up in it, and i am more reserved by nature. and already i am looking at the end of the week when i will drive back to my home town for my sister's memorial service. by next sunday i will enjoy a huge and quiet rest.  and just now, a loon flew over campus, calling. a blessing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

books today

one of melissa'a books
i am in the presence of a very good teacher. the way i know it? i am exhausted and confused. this happened last week, too, but these four days, all day long, i am with melissa jay craig. and i am sitting there trying to figure out how these new ideas and techniques (and i am a bit sloppy at bench skills) will bring together my work in a meaningful way. and juggling the class dynamics as well (hot and humid, fairly tight space, well organized, people are using up materials quickly, and LOTS of options). this is good work for me. really good, really hard, and bob walp tonight helped me figure out what i'm trying to do. (thanks, bob)
melissa tightening up this "shoelace stitch" sample
a deceptively simple and strong way of connecting two board pages together. elegant. 

and on the fifth day, they "rested"

yesterday we went on excursions, including visiting katie mac gregor's mill and petroglyphs and bangor and jasper beach and, unfortunately, not a whale watch, which was cancelled because of fog. the petroglyphs are easily missed, they are very subtle. we listened to a native guide, whose name i have forgotten because i didn't write it down, talk about this place. it seems the people also believe the pool next to the rock shelf is a birthing pool, but quite honestly, the water is maine shore cold, so i find that hard to imagine. but perhaps.

katie showed her spotless mill where she can replicate old papers using meticulous formulae which use mostly aquaeous dispersed pigments and cotton. katie is not on the web, you have to call her and request a sample of her conservation papers, or to discuss a project. 
this mould has an adhesive watermark, created for a Hand Papermaking portfolio.
and this is the finished sheet. katie had prepared a stack of 4 inch square samples for us, her visitors. katie's husband alan furth is involved with an alternative high school educational program, cobscook community learning center, which i only just barely got to talk with him about. the program looks amazing, and the facility which we visited quite fine. there were some huge red raspberries eaten!
jesse meyer and his father carl visited, and in the evening jesse demonstrated parchment making. jesse owns pergamena, which sells lovely parchment and leathers. jesse said his family has been involved in tanning for almost 500 years.
we watched him stretch a goat hide and then scrape it down with a round knife that reminded me of an ulu.

my carful of frank, emily, tom, bob, and me, spent a little time shopping in machias at hardware and junk stores, and each came away with a treasure or two. frank is searching for a good lobster roll, but opted to wait a little longer. no links right now, maybe later...but today we start a more intensive class, four full days with one teacher...and mine is melissa jay craig!

Friday, July 16, 2010

wrap up session one

the kozo vat and me
frank brannon scraping alabama kozo bark
me pounding hemlock spruce bark
one of rebecca goodale's amazing books
nancy morains making sumigashi
if you can observe the puddles of dyes under the kozo, you can just imagine what my old linen towel was up to between my dyeing and overdyeing.
exquisite and tiny shibori by giselle simon
emily martin talks about her class in movable books

pbi is an amazing energy, learning and collaboration and high jinks and serious conversations, and fun, and just about everything you can imagine. i had a blast watching people discover blueberries. today was a rest day, but i'm too tired to post today's pics. yet.

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