Tuesday, August 31, 2010

travelers and friends

at 5:40 yesterday hannah left for grad school. driven to boston for a city experience, she left behind her car, bike and most of her stuff. and me. she was scared, but has already connected with friends. my kids are on both coasts now.
mouse attack: one of the visiting setters pointed a mouse in a trunk/table in my livingroom. inside, there was indeed a mouse, and the disaster of a momento from my babyhood. 
it's been cleaned up, there was mouse poop and piss everywhere. gross mess and now i have one less hidey hole.
after lunch i went to st lawrence university as a guest of mark mcmurray and his book arts class. they were having a special workshop given by these folks.
peter and donna thomas have been trundling abou the u.s. all summer in their pickup and gypsy wagon. they parked it at slu and students stopped in. so did i and took some pics. 
off we went to the library for peter's class.
also visiting campus were the combat papermakers. so the wagon gathering included the drews, tom lascall, mark who pedalled up and a slew of slu students. (he he he)
horrible shot. apologies. look at the treatment of the gauze (binding cloth-super-mull) curtain weighted down by buttons sewn on the hem. imagine the clickety sounds from a breeze.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


for you who read this blog, many thanks. i'm good at forgetting things, saying thanks should not be one of them. 

this is the text block prior to adjustments and the cover with text block laced in. 
august. 31 days.
thank you.

completed and beginning

i completed changed (above) and august (below), two vellum covered shifu books. they are books four and five in the series. 
stiff dyed vellum cover, laced in text block sewn on vellum tapes
the pages for august were made exactly one year ago, i made a page each day. looking through the book i see my thinking from the year before, stuff much on my mind in august. before going back to teach another school year. coyotes, dyes, flax, landscape, paper, shifu, tess, and a small gathering of much loved humans.
a friend valerie sparked a renewed local interest in hula hooping. she is amazing, here in the park during farmer's market, teaching a small group of enthusiastic hoopers. hoopists? i caught the end of the mini workshop, but i did see her with three hoops, all rotating.
this young lady is my friend's pup tess. she was with me for ten of the august days last year as a ten week old. it was NOT fun! she was very needy then. she's beautiful and has eyes only for him, though she likes everyone else with a breezy, have fun attitude. 
tess and the gwen. when these two visit, they bring along lena, a dobie. wendy deeply disapproves of them all, but mostly tess. these two are very cuddly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

further up and further in

taking risks is vital. pushing a piece too far, making a mess, is the only way you'll ever be able to learn materials. working today on the text for changed. i don't know if i'll make tackets yet, or what kind of closure. or if i'll like the poem tomorrow, though i wrote it weeks ago. 
sewing vellum text blocks on shifu pages with rust dyed spun lokta thread. 
these pages were ecodyed last winter. a sandwich made of hollyhock and rusty metals. wrapped and put into hot water for several days. the woodstove the heat source. while i was sewing, hannah was unknitting her sweater.
beautifully made, however, she disliked it. and decided to make another use of the yarn, a lovely wool/mohair blend. it''s curly from unbecoming a sweater.
making a sweater or an artists' book requires taking risks and maybe trashing the work.  it doesn't matter how you feel about it. it matters if it's good.
and sometimes your risks are a disaster. this shifu was made from pattern paper. spun 25 or so years ago. and it eventually just shredded as i was removing it from the loom. this is after salvaging what i could. it just didn't work. i learned a lot. that's fine. 
there's an article over at hand eye i haven't read yet, but it's about jude hill. go take a look.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

radio bob and full moon

i was listening to radio bob and trying to make up my mind whether or not go visit my friend tomorrow. maybe. probably. meanwhile i had a few things to see to.
another bunch of felts that i washed yesterday didn't make it. this is wool blanketing. always clean your papermaking equipment. i'm still not done, though close now.
i finished up the morgan portfolio of paper samples, and made a rustic running stitch border to stitch it together, rather than just a fold or gluing. 
it's on the way this afternoon, as are two books for another show. now i have to shift gears and think about stuff to complete, future ideas, the fall show, another possibility or two, and teaching papermaking in a couple of weeks, here. hannah leaves for grad school. next monday the wandering bookbinders will be in canton at mark's history of book arts class. oh, and back to work next week. did i mention that?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

rainy day

i emailed a friend today and i wrote about framing my life in my work, this has been on my mind. like many women i made the choice to have children, instead of pursuing a career, i set up a studio at home. the marriage failed and i had to make some real money, so i went back to school to get all the papers i needed to teach, so i could make a living, keep this home for my kids. not an unusual story. the work, an alternative high school program. is interesting and intense. and it commences in a week and a half, until the end of next june. 
i want to keep the intensity of this summer, the art part of my life, vibrant through the school year, i think it will make me a better teacher, certainly a better person.
these are my rock books. these five are waiting for whatever pages i build/bind in them. (one is hiding under the one in the foreground). i found them (and many small ones as well) on my walks around this place. here. not one came from more than a quarter mile from my door. i will make pages soon. i hope. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010


sometime around the end of july, early august they kick in, and i, like most northeasterners are allergic to mother earth. i manage. it's just how. it. is. when i was farming i had fewer allergies than i'd ever had before; haying was a joy, not a trial.
so i fight the scatteredness of a cloudy head each morning. i finished the shifu for the morgan,  three sheets of morgan kozo wove about 7 1/4 x 11 1/2. they were small sheets, and the web is very stiff. i'm thinking of printing on this with bloodroot.
i have allergies on my mind, because i had a scare with my fingertip cuts, one became very irritated after being exposed to god only knows what nastiness i had my hands in as i cleaned out dead and gone pulps and dyes, moldy nastiness and dust and insect bodies everywhere. a little tlc and all is well.
so i've been weaving until my fingertips are a little tougher. but i'm eager to make paper.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

news in the foothills

 cleaning the mill, clearing detritus, readying for work. i have thrown out oodles of stuff, fortunately it's all compostable so out went quantities of plant fibers saved for pulp, old dyestuffs, spiders. saved: daylily, poplar seed, rag (linen and cotton). last year i left a stack of felts dirty, and when i went out last spring to check out the mill, they disintegrated. they were old, all wool, i lost my very first ones (over twenty years old). clean your felts!!! hannah helped.
working on books in the house, and blithely cutting right into my left index finger. makes spinning kozo, er, interesting! 
the dusty apricot is kozo from the japanese paper place, the lavender is abaca
weather has turned, and it's absolutely beautiful. i'm ready to harvest dogbane, cattail for the class, and maybe a little more slippery elm, and that's all. i think.
shifu cover: sewing shifu to iowa case paper 
three sheets of morgan kozo paper=three small balls of spun paper. one ball woven into shifu 
there is a stirring of ideas beginning over at india's, a brew, and i encourage you to be in contact. if you have any interest in making marks and color on fabric or paper, be in touch. can you imagine what might happen? 
i got this for the mill, think i'll sell, too massive for my use. but cool. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

mountain day

living 10 miles or so from the blue line is a boon. i get to live in the foothills, with university and st. lawrence river and ontario access, in the biggest county east of the mississippi. the blue line, a magic line encircling the adirondack forest preserve has as it's creed forever wild
we visit, attend concerts and openings, eat, shop, hike, ski there. i learned about lichens crawling around in the woods there. i found a brown shelf fungus that grew on red pines that yielded a lavender dye upon testing. 
the birch store in keene valley always has at least one exquisite textile. you find cashmere and linen and textures to dance your fingers over. exquisite items. i used to sell my miniature tapestries and igs, and even some books there. contrast with this place
i don't know joe's story, but his is a place name now (and there's a place called paul smiths where paul smiths college is. one nephew graduated from there). so sunday hannah, wendy, and i took a break and went to the mountains. now, this morning, these foothills look even more beautiful. very few maples had begun to turn color, it's a long hot summer. that top photo: it's a cloud event. another nephew (who also graduated from an adirondack college) used to record these events on whiteface mountain. part of the initial acid rain research. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

color and text(ure)

these are naturally dyed kozo papers, a gift from wendy from the japanese paper place, that i have out to use, or at least to think about as i step forward into making shifu. 
it's a book, says mark. i want you to show it to my students.
i went to town today to the slu library to look at a book by mark mcmurray of caliban press and archivist at the library. this is what i went looking for:
it's called  
illustrated by tim ely.
i went to look at this book, to talk with mark a little about the papermaking class he asked me to teach to his history of artists' books class, and to go on to the farmer's market. what i found out was that tim was his binding teacher in the 80s.
andrea (with lovely toenails) and marilla and their wheels, just back from two workshops, nuno felt in massachuetts, and spinning in harrisville. i'm no fan of felt, but this stuff has lovely drape and hand, and reminds me of the cloak of india's i wore.
color feasts, pale in kozo, richest in silk
and huge in sky, and i'm guessing, paint on letterpress.

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