Saturday, February 13, 2010

blogging through

i am realizing that i often start a post with a theme in mind only to find it has become another thing altogether. i started thinking about my intolerance for bullshit, the issue jude hill mentioned today. but as i wrote i realized that this is more a strong desire for authenticity and real relationships in both my life and work. and work, for me is my bread income (teaching in an alternative high school ged special education program) and the art i choose, paper, fiber, and books. life is, for me, about maintaining integrity and authenticity.  
i'm not sure that i juggle the two halves of me with any grace, but i do try. as i was thinking about these blessed nine days away from teaching, i walked and thought of papermaking. milkweed and dogbane are two favorite fibers that i can collect just out my back door and make lovely papers, full of character and north country liveliness. both were everywhere on my walk! often people put their noses right down into a box of papers as i show them, they inhale deeply and smile.
  

milkweed
dogbane
being able to spot the skeletons of plants is one of the pleasures of winter. years of practice and a bit of intuition tell me that i must skip the dogbane now, there's just not enough fiber to use even for a tiny bit of paper. (there might be enough if i was spinning or twining a short length of thread) but i once went out on my skis in march with my pack basket, and harvested milkweed, field retted, fiber white and peeling, and made wonderful paper. i make this in a cobbled together eastern/western method, which makes lovely sheets. it is possible that i will put on my boots tomorrow morning and gather up milkweed, bring it home, strip and cook it up for paper. it would feed my soul to do this. make a big mess. keep my hands busy.

and, by the way, does anyone out there have any wisteria fiber i might purchase or trade for? not much, just to sample a bit with.

12 comments:

aimee said...

i think you juggle REALLY well. and it's amazing you've already figured out that aspect of blogging. i often title and write and then look up to realize that the title now has nothing to do w/what i just wrote. i can totally imagine you out in the snow w/a pack of milkweed!

Velma said...

ha! i'll think i'm the only one experiencing something and it turns out not to be that way! i guess i assume everyone is so much more organized and, well, cerebral than me.

PiecesofD said...

Velma... I have to tell you this... I look forward to your posts more than any other blogs that I follow. I find you and your art (including your photos and your narratives) to be most authentic and sincere, as I'm sure your entire life is. I enter alot of challenges, because they prompt me to stretch my imagination and try new techniques (plus I like the nice comments - I admit it), but my favorite posts on my own blog are those that inspire others (I hope) to live authentically. You are an inspiration to me to live authentically.

Velma said...

thank you so much!
i can't enter a challenge. that's just the differences in personalities. making art-whatever (legal means) gets the work moving is fine. (i even have trouble entering shows where my work would be seen "out there" it's my innate orneriness causing me trouble!)

PiecesofD said...

That's because you create from the soul. I have to admit... most of my challenge pieces, while they are cool or pretty or whatever... they are made for the challenges, not for me... The work that I do for myself comes from my soul and, obviously, has much more meaning to me and I hope to others as well. Sometimes I leave a link in my comments to you... Those are the posts on my blog that I think (hope) you would read and enjoy. As always... I look forward to your next post.

chuck bolyard said...

velma.......you have a higher tolerance for bs than you think! you would not still be a teacher if you did not have thick skin!
eagle rock was interesting....it reminded me of a book i read many years ago about the summerhill school in england (another interesting site to check out). many interesting ideas are being tried at eagle rock....
i often wonder what will save public education in the usa........i have many ideas....

deemallon said...

I like the way you manage to express many aspects of yourself with an even hand... while I think it can be a good thing to emphasize the positive in a public forum like this, sts. the juiciness of a person is drained away. I may not be making total sense, here. anyway, I appreciate your take on things, including on yourself.

I DO have a wisteria -- are the fibers you mentioned earlier from a plain old wisteria?! I don't know why, I thought maybe it was a different kind of wisteria. Anyway, ours needs to be "savagely pruned" a couple of times a year, and I would be happy to send you a boxful. I can do it any old time (there's probably contrary wisdom out in horticulture circles, but some of that advice I pay no mind to). If you are interested, let me know by email me.

Velma said...

ha! chuck--i've only been in public ed for 9 years, before that i worked as an educator for cooperative extension, and before that i was a mom, able to stay home with my kids when they were little.

and dee, juiciness? i'm not that exciting, truly! and i'll get back to you about the wisteria--i've an email out to a friend who can answer better what i need--i can tell if i'm handling the material, but without my hands to tell me, i can't say. and i know nothing of wisteria.

chuck bolyard said...

similar to my wife.....she just got her masters in special ed and just started teaching this year at age 51......i notice plenty of "tolerance" on her part....

Velma said...

good for her! getting a job at 51 in education is one in the face for the "cookies".

deemallon said...

to me, juiciness is springs from being real... it's not about glamour

Velma said...

no, i just thought that juicy was way to generous a term for me. but i see, along the lines of annie dillard. thanks for clarifying.