Sunday, January 8, 2017

winter paper intensive

the animals around here 
certainly have a sense of humor.
this black walnut is hidden in plain sight.
(hidden after the cushions were removed for the winter)
on the old, many times repaired glider on my porch.
there was a lot of milkweed prep & papermaking
 an almost empty pod
 finished stack
 a sense of translucency
 meanwhile, a little tour of Zone 4
 making paper with lee mcdonald moulds
(see the tiny one on upper left?)
 surface design
 further Z4 images
 i keep finding more
 sending this out to our pres
 thought crime
 and home curating milkweed
reading the recipes
winifred lutz, gin petty, lilian bell.
lilian bell's helpful book was a treat to re-read
right there were my notes in the margins from ages ago.
 at Z4 i was going through a basket of paper offcuts
and leftovers
meant for recycling.
and there was a bit one of my first milkweed papers.
it was great to see this
and very informative because i keep learning.
left: milkweed circa 1986
right january 2017
 what changed?
fiber was cut to 1 inch in the old sheet, and formation aid was tororo aoi.
new paper i left fibers long, hand beaten until my hands hurt
 eventually i chopped and blendered a bit.
i also used prepped formation aid leftover from peace paper at Z4.

and then, 
 i got to the linen rag paper.
that pulp that clogged the hollander a month ago,
was set aside, fermented a bit, frozen on the porch 
(see the walnut above)
and thawed and beating completed.
the first little linen rag paper sample
 the levis after papermaking
linen paper with jasper beach stones
there are also some large 12 x 18 sheets.
(the largest here is 8.5 x 11
smallest is business card size)
 it was cold outside yesterday morning
and today it's snowing. 
we can use it, and if we get enough, 
the new snowshoes will get a workout!
 the woods was etched with rime.
 beautiful beyond belief.
this project i participated in
love trumps hate
shu-ju wang orchestrated this, made the print (in my case)
and just sent the whole bunch out to the 53 participants.
now i will make the prayer flag.
and i have an idea where it should hang.

Monday, January 2, 2017


evening and night
 my meadow,
where i harvested all that milkweed
 we celebrated new years eve
listening to our local public radio, wslu,
and talking.
wakening to a lovely day.
we often drive from the place i call home
to cranberry lake
down tooley pond road.
i had ice cream for lunch
and then we went out for a walk in the woods
at home.
evidence of an old tree stand
and some amazing trees
that have grown in unusual ways. 
 this one holds two dead trees.
 this birch really really wanted to keep growing
after winter arched it down
 it continued on.
 this woods is very rich,
but actually the soil is thin
and galacial erratics pepper it.
 and so many 
rock ridges follow the same path,
of course there are sugar maples
red and striped maple, hickory, hemlock spruce, white pine
june berry...
 and here's another.
a stream makes an S 
 through this little bit of the
 great north woods.
at home
the barn continues to bend.
 isn't it crazy
that something so huge 
just melts away? 
i am so happy
that the days are a fraction of an inch longer.
i sense it, know it, and celebrate it. 
happy new year.
and thank you all for your attention, 
your caring.

and there's a new interview with me
over at zoneone arts.
seems that zones are currently in my world 
(zones one and four, that is).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


this has been a doozie of a year.
so many losses.
so much sadness.
a terrible election process and a worse result.
more evidence of global warming.
and yet...
and yet...there remains 
the generosity of plants
the kindnesses of human beings
the love of our animal companions
brave people
art, and the joy of using tools. 
recently my son ian went public 
asking for financial help via gofundme.
he is hoping to pay his counseling bills.
ian's campaign came online just after amanda degener started
one for bridget o'malley (these two are Cave Paper).
bridget has had a health crisis.
these two remind me of amanda palmer
who has made a case that asking 
is ok to do.
 yesterday i went out to my meadow
and harvested milkweed in the mild winter weather
sharpened by wind.
(i remember harvesting milkweed one year on skis
the snow was knee high or so.)
last night,
unfinished though i worked seven hours stripping the bast,
i had time to ponder asking
giving, receiving,
and realize i have to rethink all of this.
 on ian's gofundme one woman donated the cost of a pack of cigarettes. 
this strikes me as generous
and sacrificial.
some friends of mine have contributed, too.
abundance shared is beautiful.
here's a photo taken out the kitchen window at the new place
i call HOME.
 and our old barn at my old place,
so loved by my kids and me continues  
returning to earth.
 one stalk of milkweed,
waiting for me, perhaps,
or a songbird next spring might 
harvest the fibers for nest making.
the generosity of plants
and i ponder gratitude.

Monday, December 26, 2016

catching up the year end

she's been visiting regularly
but i don't see her often,
just her tracks.
 i made two homes for special pebbles.
the australian ones came from the southern oceanside
at cape otway.
the acadian ones came from mt desert island, maine.
 i couldn't get them all in focus, but it didn't matter.

 the last three contact prints
with the left over flora from this fall.
i had saved it
and it was mostly all dried out-
 some freeze-dried plants shared their 
 the colors were strong, lots of green, too.
what a surprise.
 i practice bindings
 on leftover scraps of paper
you can see tension was an issue here.
 over at zone 4
milkweed pulp.
i made three different milkweed papers,
from here, field retted and colorful and wild
 milkweed from berea 
gathered by gin petty and dried for some time
lovely tidy paper
sheet formation a bit better
 and butterfly weed
also from gin.
all three were handbeaten, the best was the butterfly weed.
either i was more patient
or got tougher
but my shoulders and neck are still complaining.
using the gift of the zone 4 studio
i've been happy working 
with different moulds,
formation aid that was already prepped, 
and all i have to do is haul stuff around.
i've gotten to know which moulds over there i like
and which ones are beguiling 
and rather strange for my work.
aimee reminded me of placing thread between two wet sheets
so i did some with kami-ito
long ago i used linen for this purpose,
and in fact my very first hard bound book
was made with this paper
my teacher was the amazing sally smith.
 this is the corner i like to make sheets in
there's a drain directly under the mat i stand upon.
 and felts. 
i've washed and/or brushed all of the felts now.
 drying out moulds
my own and zone 4's
 there's even a manifesto of sorts:
Let's make paper!
and books! 
and silkscreens
and adinkra prints
and journal binding
i've been using some of the larger 
offcuts from caliban press
for funky sewing.
making paper with the smaller ones.
 drying blotters
 on christmas eve
listening to the festival of nine lessons and carols
from king's college in cambridge
a tradition i adore.
i cleaned and tidied and readied myself
for christmas.
 christmas morning breakfast
pancakes and strawberries leftover from that summer wedding.
(and maple syrup and butter)
 we'd agreed to have a quiet christmas,
 purchased new tubbs snowshoes for ourselves.
but then this little machine appeared.
and it works just fine!
astonished me
i love it.
 we went for a drive in the 27 degree sunshine before lunch 
and i found the first paper-related "official" sign i'd ever seen!
 that huge mission oak table will move through the doors
into my studio soon
 where i will set up the dry studio.
  a chilly and frozen and slippery walk ended
coming home with the dogs
through meadow
and the long shadows
you can see the new place,
 bridge to the side door.
home, where soon with luck,
i will be full-time.
all of the kids are away this year.
 to you
my dear readers,
friends, and sometimes even students,
happy holy days 
see you on the other side.

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