Thursday, April 12, 2018


i have amazing children.
today i'm showing you ian's recent house drawing which
 appeared on facebook this morning. 
i see it as a wee bit different, 
and though we haven't discussed it yet,
there seems to be a change of some kind.
there is a wonderful flatness that is anything but flat
a volume or a geometry happening here.
and an amazing building.
another hoosie.
and here, again,
because i love my first-born
trees and barns and landscape for this now city-dwelling man
who eeks out a living doing
drawing and carpentry.
my children, 
ian stevens
hannah stevens
amazing human beans.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


what a trip.
i left at 5:15 AM last thursday after having my power go out at home
and sleeping elsewhere and packing in a windstorm
and drove almost straight through to bar harbor.
i was early to the yellow schoolhouse.
mt desert island's historical association publishes 
Chebacco every year.
this year Hannah wrote an article for it. 
so i attended the launch, met nice people,
and saw my nephew Rich MacDonald, who co-authored a piece in this issue!
kudos to the family!
Hannah, archivist at College of the Atlantic, invited Yaniv Korman
who prompted her resurgence in interest
in COA's historic Sunken Garden.
hannah, her friend tyler piebes of low tide glass and i had a sidestreet cafe supper.
i stayed at hannah's place.
the floor was moving, or so I thought,
but it was internal vibration from 10 hours of driving.
(and maybe the wine?)
friday we drove down the coast to freeport where we shopped,
and then to portland and our nifty air B&B.
tyler cooked us chicken curry. 
saturday was fun and the kids met up with my great neice.
and then sunday arrived  and the book arts bazaar.
oh, my.
this wonderful young woman 
(i've lost her name) made this garment
on Black Friday.
hardwarestore drop cloth and silkscreen,
i didn't catch her name, but she had this radiant
happiness, and liked my work, too!
well, i liked hers.
and another young woman came by to tell me she likes my work.
this is amazing to me.
i caught up with friends, todd and nancy, becky, nancy, jill
had a terrific table mate on one side who made
incredible books,
no photos.
i have her permission to post these,
and please, if you happen to come by here,
send me your name!!!
and i have to say i get so tickled to read something like this:
I love it when someone wants to make paper.
and i am a professor, i guess,
melissa said so, but this student has said it, so it must be true.
adjunct is fine by me.
it's snowed on and off all day today.
i love april and it 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

FLAX Notion finally for sale

many of you have been interested in this little edition. 
before i take it along with me to the Book Arts Bazaar
i would like to offer it to my online friends.
there are 7 only.
 some of you know the story already,
but here are the pages, the "text".

your copy will of course be signed.
i took the photos before i remembered to do that little chore. 

this is the separate colophon that accompanies the book.


Flax Notion is about a little love affair with flax.
These papers were pulled in the winter of 2017-18 by Velma Bolyard in her kitchen.
While most papermakers would snort at such foolishness, Velma found it easier to work at home, 
comfortably dressed and in Birkenstocks, than at the mill at SLU.
The cover is a heavy flax sheet, inner papers are a lighter weight.
This raw fiber flax was beaten in a Valley Beater for over an hour, 
and hauled home in yogurt quart jugs.
Papers were carefully pulled using Lee MacDonald moulds in a dishpan in the sink, 
pressed in my mill Wake Robin with the Aardvark Press,
 and carefully restraint dried utilizing old Newton Falls Paper Mill 
cotton letterhead paper for blotters, with lots more pressure from an old book press. 
Little papers were all stitched with beeswaxed linen thread which changed their ‘handle’, 
and stitched on pages so you can touch them.
The plain flax sheet was stitched with my handspun lokta kami-ito, 
the scarlet colored with a Japanese bengara ink stick and scarlet linen, 
the blue pigmented with Maiwa indigo and sewn with linen, 
and the gold with a mix of yellow and red ochers and gold linen. 
The three pigments used were obtained in Vancouver and Melbourne, 
and the changes in the flax paper from all that stitching is what this book is all about.
This tiny edition of 7 (and one for me) celebrates the wonderful snowy winter,
sensuous flax, 
and many, many stitches.

Velma Bolyard at Wake Robin Papers
North Russell NY

FLAX NOTION is available after the fair,
but I will reserve a few for readers who ask.
i'll invoice you, if you email me.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Flax Notion

coming soon 
Flax Notion
an artist's book 
a flax book, colored and stitched 
holding many hours of touch.
lokta kami-ito
bengara ink
yellow and red ochers
and stitches stitches stitches 
edition of 7
1 artists' copy 
 and flax *candies*

Thursday, March 29, 2018


i find things
some of them are totally unexpected.
papers-overlooked and left in the blotter sheets
money-dollars, but mostly change
jewelry-mostly my own, mostly earrings, mostly in weird places
like under the mailbox on the roadside
after the snow melted.
(see a pattern here?)
today i found both, an earring and a penny (tails)
i saw a glint of shiny in a dusty corner of my living room.
and when i touched the shiny it was a gold earring, next to a penny.
it looked staged.
i know what this is
found on a dried felt
i can't quite remember which alice, but alice
a little paper to identify alice's paper 
in a class.
flax kitchen papermaking continued this week.
my crazy drying set up on the counter
(which i was pleased to scrub off the indigo stain) 
and on top of the press?
the blotter sheets and a piece of flax i'd overlooked.
blotter sheets are old cotton letterhead 
Newton Falls Paper Mill.
 isn't it nicely dimpled from such strange drying?
 i found alice the same day i found two seed pods
that the thaw revealed.
my yard and the back meadow are still snow covered, 
a few spots of earth emerging.
 out walking 
i'm keyed into milkweed
 the stem has split and you can see how strong the bast is
as it holds the stem together
 soft gold inside the pod,
looking a bit like an abandoned wild silk cocoon,
 the snow retreating from edges on my neighbor's little barn,
 it was a beautiful sunny day
 and as snow melts i find other signs,
 and i found this photo over on facebook.
this is theTAFA group I taught shifu to last March.
their funding source required them to teach shifu to their community
which they just completed.
my wonderful host Wendy Warren (top, left,1st)
Sue Ferarri (top, 3rd from right), 
their teacher,
 this group was an amazing class.
I loved teaching in a small public school on a hill near the ocean,
these folks deserve a special shout out for their dedication to fiber art.
and no, 
the edition is not complete.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

edition brewing

these modest flax books 
edition of 7 
are what all that stitching and coloring and changing of rough flax into soft...
what all that has transformed into.
it's coming as soon as everything is sewn in/together.
i am really really excited.
it's a
or two,
coming soon (relatively).
(on the table, my favorite self made bone folder and new handmade watercolors)

Monday, March 19, 2018

below zero again

the view on that really cold saturday.
see the solar panels? they cranked away, 
so the woodstove's morning fire plus the solar gain from windows
kept the house warm all day and through the night.
snow is about a foot deep.
stuff on the work table
 more experimenting

portable mess-making.
it seems to be what i do even though i think i'm organized,
see my old stump?
and the empty nalgene bottle, 
hydrate, hydrate.
 trails in the snow? 
 stitching holey indigo flax before burnishing.
indigo smudge
i probably had a bit too much pigment in the pulp, 
though the water seemed clear,
or almost.
upon reflection, that almost is the problem.
 crazy icicle growth
they are really curly
 on the 
weekend photos for you
and for dear wendy, who continues to move
back to good health.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

what a week or so!

this march i am not traveling.
no trip to australia, or,
anywhere else.
this is fine, because i love march.
i love the weather changes, the way the land changes
bit by bit, and the birds return.
but i am missing australian friends
the australian landscape,
the kindness and big hearts of my friends there.
oh, and the sense of humor.
below is colleen jones with a friend in her installation.
i name them australian gothic.
 next is the shifu/paper work made by another australian friend, barb adams.
she makes amazing work.
see how her kami-ito turns into cloth turns into paper. 
 at home, or not far nearby,
 is a dear one some of you have a deep connection with.
wendy golden-levitt had surprise illness and surgery last weekend.
she pulled through well, 
but oh, my, out of the blue, surgery.
please send her your love and prayers for a speedy recovery.
 and even my big sister claudia had a health scare this week.
she's back home after a quick hospital overnight,
new meds taming the issue.
oh, my. 
and this morning on facebook 
another friend becky has a hernia
keeping her out of her studio.
beware the ides of march.
happy st patty's day.
i still like march, though i'm sorry 
people are hurting.
and then there was a big snow.
big and heavy and wet and continuing for hours and hours
and hours
building up to an over my knees height.
and my subaru couldn't get through the blockade at the end of the driveway 
(snow plow detritus)
i could get outside, high step through, but it takes a lot of energy.
one trip to the mailbox was quite an adventure.
(my mailbox was severed from its post by the county plow)
on snowshoes it was easier 
and i'm surprised that i enjoy them so much.
 happily a prince came to the rescue on his orange steed 
over 18 miles on backroads to dig me out.
 i'm now between both homes keeping the fire going 
and dog care-giving for awhile.
and i'm stitiching.
and stitching.
 running stitch, 
 it's definitely more a walking stitch.
 i've stitched several, 30 or so, small sheets of my flax papers now. 
all that stitching has given me a notion.
an idea for a book edition of five.
today i'll begin putting them together.
unless the sunshine entices me outdoors.
 stiff, strong raw flax paper 
becomes soft and sueded with the stitching.
taming a potato chip of paper 
into a soft, almost pillowcase almost cloth,
continues to fascinate me.
this idea began years ago, and here it is again.
 i've used kami-ito, 
 cotton, silk and linen,
often waxing the thread.
 i like putting on my own candle-leftover beeswax.
it's very soft and scented with the labor 
of local bees,
 and who knew? 
the candles i buy are made from local beeswax
by my last winter book arts student randy merrill. 
i've been enjoying her candles for a couple of years now.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

getting it right

when you get something right
even if it's only to please yourself
it feels really good.
this one is pretty big.
and waits
 for someone to work into it.
maybe me, who knows.
 all 10.5 x 12 inches of it
and believe me if i could photograph it well
you would be hooting and hollering, too.
er, maybe not...
 contact prints
 and handmade flax, hemp
 more prints,
just a series of folios,
some gatefolds
and paper you can work into.
 this has been sitting on my work table
waiting for tweaking,
which i did today
just before i sewed it together. 
and because i had to show someone,
i'm showing  you.

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