soon we'll have more daylight because of the time change.
haven't they been looking around?
in this long harsh winter with little sunshine,
the days grow longer,
even if they are snowy
or just really cold,
i turned back on my walk the other day.
that person needs to go outside.
[as if the human grid of time
has a way of shaping the arc of days.]
inside i've been making prints.
really fine colors, patterns
happily surprising me.
looking out my windows midday in the 9 degree wind
i saw a very hungry youngster
braving my yard
hoping for food,
eschewing that scary road.
glad i dropped some bits from the twigs i gathered for printing.
but it's not enough to make that belly warm.
keeping my hands busy,
i spun up thread while waiting out the bitter winds.
i found a little of the leftover old lokta* to spin up.
here it is,
looking lovely in the early morning sun
*thanks to my australian friends
karen and robyn and as some of you might observe, i deleted the swear word. it's not my call to condemn if folks don't pay attention to their days. and it's hysterical that daylight fades their curtains within a timeframe that only they can understand. here, the sun fades things if and when it does. not, i might add, the contact prints on paper or not that i've observed. not once. ever.
and then it returns, more and more, till you know it.
i've had students a few times
j u s t n o t g e t i t.
usually those students have this:
s o m e t h i n g i n t h e w a y.
and i've had students
w o r k t h r o u g h i t.
case in point:
long ago i had the great opportunity to teach beginning handspinning at
pine mountain settlement school in kentucky.
i was barely an intermediate spinner, despite having spun several pounds of fleece using spindles and wheels. i was told by a friend that i could teach beginners.
i believed her, so tried it.
well, it was amazing and all of them got it and i was so proud.
except for one woman.
her hands couldn't relax and allow the wheel to work.
she fought the wool.
backing up a bit: i learned to spin on my ashford traditional that i put together right out of the box...i spun in my ridiculously ugly apartment complete with green shag carpeting.
and i pushed that three legged beast through the thick shag, that's how hard i treadled. but eventually i stopped chasing it across the floor and my hands began to learn the wheel, the wool, harmonize their particular tune. back to pine mountain: she failed, tried a few times, then refused to try, and left the class. i was mortified: i'd failed her. i knew i was young to be teaching and therefore couldn't figure it out.
again, the same thing happened.
teaching shifu to a beginner group. this time i was older, a longtime teacher. she sat close to me, eventually disclosing some difficult personal issues, and could only work for a few hours each day. her issues, that baggage, clogged up the capacity to learn. those paths were being used by other demanding things. she tried, but she couldn't, her hands hard and stifled. i wrote about how making shifu has helped some of my students with healing, processing their own personal stuff in Hand Papermaking (summer 2016).
it's not always a big processing that's going on.
sometimes it's just daily detritus in the way.
(the "you need to walk" or "do the dishes", or "ride your horse")
which is why you put in the miles. waiting for the bigger ideas that come along when they please. meanwhile you
practice. practice. practice.
i talked about this with a friend sunday, at my table, drinking tea,
sharing ideas and our lives.
practice. practice. practice. being present, too. with practiced skilled hands head heart.
as i teach young students i mourn some of the things those in education have chosen to leave behind, things like sewing, measuring, drawing, choosing and understanding tools. hand skills.
empowering another person, teaching them how to approach problem solving,
how to attempt,
how to succeed, how to fail
and try again
in the last two years i've made a lot of paper, much of it from raw flax, but some from linen rag (retired clothing). i went to pbi and took an amazing busy class with flax expert mary hark,
and i continue to put that new learning into practice. in two years what i know is a bit about how raw flax becomes paper. by hand. i know a bit. and that's the truth.
i haven't hurt my body doing this or bankrupted myself, but i have worked hard and continually at it.
and now i know something about flax papermaking
(and a bit about using it, how it behaves)
this format, the internet, makes it easy to think that mastery, or even competency is easy.
it could be. i say it isn't. not at all.
i belong to a few forums and the ridiculous questions people ask instead of trying things themselves or reading or practicing or understanding bother the heck out of me. because to be a maker, to be adept, to be skilled,
you have to
and every single one is, may i propose,
your own sacred.
none of us have to be the best, the smartest, the whatever we were measured against.
we do have to do our work well.
and with a few other qualities that you already know
or will learn.
i'll be teaching North Country Shifu in Pocatello, Idaho
at the end of march.
i'm looking forward to making string again. my slu freshmen are keeping me busy with a class called what is an image? together we'll find out a little bit about that very question. still learning milkweed
An international juried book arts exhibition September 3rd – December 11th, 2019 Collins Memorial Library University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
Call for Submissions All Stitched Up is asking for submissions of artists’ books from around the globe where stitching is a featured element. They may be visible stitches for the binding, text, or images, or any technique that leaves evidence of stitches. Artists’ books may be from an edition or unique, and created from any medium. There is a $10 submission fee for up to 3 works.
To stitch is to join together, to mend, or fasten as with stitches – to sew. To stitch is to bring together fabric, paper, wounds of the body, or cultural divides. Stitching can be an act of healing, hope, practicality, creativity, and revolution. All Stitched Up recognizes and celebrates the work of book artists’ where stitching has become an integral part of the visual design. Curators Catherine Alice Michaelis, Jane A. Carlin, and Diana Weymar will jury the show and a print catalogue will be created.
We are particularly (but not solely) interested in works that showcase collaboration and focus on building a sense of shared community. That may include collaboration between two or more artists, two or more communities, or crowd-sourced projects. Sewing that joins people and ideas link us to historical social and political sewing circles from the abolitionist movement of the 1800s, to the corporate resistant DIY movement kindled by the Riots Grrrls in the 1990s, to the knitting collectives of today that focus on the anti-war, pro-science, and pro-choice movements. In addition, you may draw inspiration from the embroidered books of the Victorian period, the rise of needlecrafts during the Arts & Crafts period, and family traditions of sewing by machine or hand stitching.
This exhibition will include pages from Diana Weymar’s Interwoven Storiesproject. This includes Refashioning Identity, which was created by members of the Puget Sound community in 2016/17 as facilitated by Weymar.