Saturday, September 11, 2010

september shifu

early september mama nature encroaching on wake robin. not much autumn showing, but the light show is beginning.
this is all that's left of the milkweed paper i made years and years ago, in the days of frequent job changes and unemployment. it was made in winter, from field retted milkweed fiber. i remember stripping the fiber in my kitchen, cooking, then taking it out and preparing it in a blender, adding tororo aoi, and making the thinnest sheets. these are strong despite being thin. and so i sacrificed a poorly formed one to the shifu goddess.
and made several short lengths of spun paper.
this little ball of paper was spun from a variously thick and thin sheet, and the resulting thread is quite irregular. 
i am growing weary of struggling with unevenness, however, and may take a more deliberate approach to my thread making. it looks like i may travel to toronto's japanese paper place to hear hiroko karuno speak about her work. this is for me an amazing opportunity, and i am quietly excited. 
oh, and my student's book: he said guess who i gave my book to? and i, thinking only that he was unhappy with it, said you didn't keep it? and he said no, i gave it to my brother in law. (who is a soldier, heading back to afghanistan) why? i asked. so he can use it to write while he's there and he'll have a special book to bring back to the family. that's perfect, i said. this soldier is my student's hero. how beautiful is this?

20 comments:

Mnemosyne said...

very! very beautiful!
i think our insides shimmer more than even we realize.

deanna7trees said...

i love the uneveness of the weaving...

Margaret Braun said...

I love your threads. They're perfect!

Velma said...

you should haer me curse at the too frequent breakage!

jude said...

life is uneven but very beautiful sometimes. perfect.

Joan Kirton said...

I was really moved by your story of how your book will have a special place in your student's family history. How absolutely wonderful.

I'm fascinated by the spun paper. I've never seen it before or understand how it's done. As for the uneveness I thought that was part of it's charm.
Cheers
Joan

kaite said...

i'm wondering if you finger spin it the same way as i make bush string, or if you palm roll it over your thigh? i could show a small woven square that i made from finger spun string of fine Japanese paper.
your student would have been very proud to be able to send a little part of himself with his BIL to Afghanistan...k.

Velma said...

uneven is fine, i just want a little control. ha! i hear myself!

i spun this on a swedish boat shuttle bobbin winder designed for weaving. it works like a cotton or a japanese wheel. i also sometimes use a louet wheel. i spin so much i need to have a spinning device.

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

I love your paper weaving. I'm planning on visiting the Japanese Paper place next weekend. Perhaps I should go to the November talk as well.

Velma said...

yes. make sure they know you're coming so they have adequate seating.

aimee said...

i cursed a LOT today at breakage! i am loudly excited for your toronto trip. and that milkweed paper makes it even HARDER for me to walk around this neck of the woods and NOT cut down all the milkweed here!!

kaite said...

yes finger spinning would be a little slower than the boat shuttle winder, but i end up with a 2plyed spin. k.

iNdi@ said...

i was permitted to lay hands on Hiroko's work some months ago...simply exquisite..

Fiona Dempster said...

The student story just got a better ending - how special. I imagine these moments lift you a bit higher for a bit longer. The shifu is lovely and the uneveness special - but I also think its worth a try to see how the control thing goes!

Velma said...

kaite, no reason for two plies in this case.

welcome back india! i too, touched her work. like handling a rembrandt.

fiona, thanks, you are so right, in both instances.

Velma said...

aimee-there will always be milkweed! most people hate the stuff.

Barry said...

Velma - What a great story of the book - both in its creation (and the confidence imparted); and in what hope it represents in being given to someone going to war - the expectation that they will bring it safely home. It iso good when we can offer so much in such small ways. Well done. I like the unevenness it offers the opportunity for texture. Barry

T said...

I love the unevenness of this spun paper velma. so much texture and character in it.

And its a wonderful story about your students book.

xt

Deb G said...

I certainly understand the desire for control and consistency, but love the story that unevenness brings to things...

lynne h said...

everything in this post is beautiful, velma...

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