Saturday, October 31, 2015

pulp joyous

when kids are motivated to do new things
to play with new media
and to take foreign ideas
and remake them into something for their own world
that's what happened in our school last week.
drew matott 
whose name is synonymous with peace paper 
(and several other paper projects)
 volunteered to come and make paper
 with us for a day.
he worked flat out.
 in ashley putney's art room.
 we made lots of paper
 from (mostly) cotton rag pulp
 our fingers all shared this amazing experience
 haptic understanding
 for kids of many ages.
 smurf blue was a favorite pulp
made from a sweat shirt
(we also had united states currency pulp).
 but it wasn't the color so much as 
how these young people
 were introduced to the concepts of papermaking
 as a personal art form
transforming one's clothing
into art.
 ashley and drew
 and i, well, we all 
had the BEST time.
 drew promised the kids he'll be back.
and the kids
well they are holding him to that promise!
thank you drew and ashley
for the opportunity to make paper in school.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

just have to show you this!

a review of November, A Map

"November, a Map" is so very beautiful.  I just finished spending some time with it.  

Aside from imagining a wandering through your autumn world, it brings to mind my life long love of Fall, memories of making similar "puzzle" books with students over the years, and how the honoring of the things we love is a poem.  I love that the words "book", "paper", "cloth", "stitch", and "thread" are in it, along with the ten tender stitches that follow the plant printed curve on the page.

It felt like a ceremony- 
first reading through it in book shape, 
opening it up on a quilt in the sunshine, to see the whole of it, and how the textures and patterns in each page connect, 
flipping it all over to see new designs and places to touch.  

It is now slipped back into its envelope (blue!), leaning near, on my desk, and shining its peaceful rich autumn moon.  

I feel enriched and grateful to have this to gaze at and hold.

cindy monte's words move me deeply.
i share them here with her permission.
and a few blushes.
this week mark takes the book, 
along with his other caliban press books
 to the oxford fine press book fair.
a couple copies of it are already in australia,
and with luck, soon in england!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


these images have been haunting me
all fall.
every time i find them
hanging around on my desktop
i sigh and remember.
 some presences are beings.
if only material 
they stand strong.

two friends got in touch lately with wonders,
todd pattison made a tiny bookshelf for me.
called "martha's vineyard sunshine"
a whole shelf!
of contact printed bindings on wee books
living on their wee shelf.
 lee thompson made several of her stitched paintings
based on photos from my barn.
she sent me two barn pieces (!!!)
 the door latch
 and one that is her own winding river in a wintery contour map of a place.
astonishing, again.
 i took some quick, not very well done photos
to share with you
because i wanted to show you how special
you human makers are.
my friend wendy speaks of how important matteria is
the stuff, the stuff i, we, make.
i am grateful and joyous to be a fiber, paper, book maker. 
and have friends who also make things,
useful and beautiful.
i added these last two 
indigo an stars from therese 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


i want to say
to all of you who read this blog
i apologize
for my sink into sadness
this autumn.
 my day job, 
teaching high school emotionally disturbed kids has become harder
 than ever before, 
and i've complained
about the 11 students, 
11 different schedules, 
7 with multiple mental illness diagnoses.
but this week two of them have gone to other programming
one with huge sadness,
and two disappeared off the radar
one returned.
this is how it is.
 i commute lately on very bumpy backroads.
they bring me closer to the comfort of earth mother
and sometimes i see things
like the wind harvesting milkweed seeds,
high hedges taking root,
brilliant sun splitting through clouds.
 what i am thinking about today is this stuff
i want to go out and harvest stalks and brew pulp.
and i may.
this week drew matott has volunteered to come to my school
to make pulp paintings with our kids
and i am so very grateful.
 as the october winds play with these seeds
i will try to be present to the beauty
of healing with pulp painting.
 i will try to remember that i have
a place in this landscape
and a purpose: to mother, to teach, to make art, to be a friend.
 i look at these miracles
milkweed and goldenrod
and yes, there is still a flower or two to be found,
and rose leaves i saw this morning,
and this changing, 
may i,
may you 
embrace it as right and good.
may we all find a still center
if only for a little while 

Thursday, October 22, 2015


virginia creeper was here last weekend
but the frost changed all this
in fact all these pictures are changed now
that's ok.
a place called home is making me happy
with a stash of cordwood 
and off the grid power.
those juneberries are naked now.
fall danced all around
 but this is now tan and purple and deep gold
this too, 
moving to darker now
 in the sun the clydesdales (now only four of them) 
are beautiful
 i found some tansy
blossoms couldn't stand up to the cold
inside some kami-ito waits on my walnut niddy noddy.
 and the last two books that still need stitches
are waiting, too.
 some paper on glennis' beautiful dyeing
 and i had a bit of stuff still to peel off
flax paper
after the first pressing.
and i wish i had my very own groomer
i think it might be a friendly thing
those of us who don't like too much touching, or talking
may like a little scratchy tongue 
just behind the ears...
or maybe not.
it's been a long week, it's not over,
but i will say a huge thank you to 
all of you who have trusted me
and purchased the map book.
there are some left still,
should you feel so inclined. 
so far some have made it to their new homes
with feedback
that makes me blush
and smile.
i hope the rest make it through with the postal service's care
safe and sound.
me, i'm exhausted by the rigors of eleven students.
which sounds ridiculous, i know.
i know.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

impossiblities and books

spotted at elevation 825 (i think) at the new place i call home.
for you who have placed orders for November, A Map, i thank you. 
i did underestimate postage, but then that's my error, no worries, please. 
for you who asked, don't send more, please.
 do let me know if they arrive safe and sound.
or not.
that's letterpress!
yes, i was overwhelmed last week. 
modified a little, i wrote a list to a friend.
it was overwhelming.
i am a juggler and my assistant is, too.
but sometimes we are topsy turvy or just plain confused.
(a blurry barn photo from bottom to roof)
this week will be better.
drew matott is on his way to make peace paper 
(pulp paintings) 
with us at school!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

upside down

 for all of my lovely friends
waiting for your books
things have been upsidedown.
like this bee in second growth goldenrod.
many of you know i teach emotionally disturbed high school kids
this week has been a doozie.
i'm a bit behind, but the books
are almost ready for the mail 
check check check
 just need to get put together and into the mail. 
this week is just plain stressful.
they're coming, promise.
xo, velma

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