Monday, February 28, 2011


eucalyptus is a plant i have almost no knowledge of. here, in the north country of new york state, the most common eucalypt is the one seen in craft sections of big stores, often gaudy with weird pigments. local florists carry them, sometimes. yesterday i tried my second eucalyptus dyeing of the new year. (aimee sent me some lovely leaves from oakland.) i ordered some from whites's flowers. white's first got me tiny leaved eucalyptus, but it was't what i'd ordered. this week they emailed me: the silver dollar eucalyptus is in. i brought it home and have begun to work with it. yesterday i dyed a silk scarf and a piece of lokta. the silk is still wrapped, the lokta took up the dye in lovely ways, but the intense heat was a little hard on it.
it's a warm pinky tan with hints of green. subtle and fine.
some news:
this summer i will be teaching away from home, first at the morgan conservatory in cleveland at the end of june, and than in july on the northwest coast. details are still being worked out, but i will be in washington state, and portland, and even maybe british columbia!
i have had a couple of interesting requests: would i consider traveling to australia to teach. wow, she said. most certainly! maybe in summer (or there, winter) 2012.
eucalyptus on silk 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

green chair

my parents were rich in daughters. 
there are five of us, two have died, and never any sons. 
i am the baby, by over a decade. 
my mom called me bonus, but i know i was, shall we say, surprise.
one of my sisters moved to the north country several years ago, after staying "home" a long time, then living out west for a short time, she settled here. 
and friday we had tea in her fine new apartment, and she gave me these little treasures.
these please me, most especially the chair. 
thanks, claudia.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


a little bit of color in winter.
red osier dogwood.
a favorite basketry material.
a wee bit of green, too
two new artists' books
and i spun late into the night last night, and have one skein to finish today. that will be two sheets of matsuo kozo completed.
i'm learning and relearning slow.

Friday, February 25, 2011


 two cloths, one silk, above, one cotton, below 
eco dyed from eucalyptus leaves sent all the way from oakland california, 
a gift from aimee.
this week off work/school i have thought much about intention. 
barry has a series of sculpture based on the concept of choosing a daily intention.
this week my intention was purely selfish.
to travel, learn, and enjoy. to be in a BIG city, to improve my skills.
and what was this turkey's intention?
how do the the animals navigate the intricacies of thought?
two new little skeins
i am planning a small woven sampler now, there i've said it!
woven photograph of a stack of sheets
and paper making is calling.
patti roberts-pizzuto profiled me this week. please take a look. 
and take a look at her work while you're there.
it's good.
one more intention: india flint has challenged folks to donate cash to the earthquake recovery in new zealand. if you donate, you might also get a piece by her. take a look there, too. and make a donation. i'm going to. another intention.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

learning matsuo kozo

so this is what i did in toronto. a bamboo basket, with red lacquer paint. 
matsuo kozo, 1/2 sheet
ready to spin
i stayed in the place where my book becomes a journal for many others' thoughts.
my dear friend wendy and i had lovely conversations.
laughter, and caring.
i leave her grateful, challenged, and celebrated for being just myself. 
this is the amazing gift that mature friendship brings.
i worked with hiroko karuno to understand and expand my shifu education. 
i have far to go, but i must say that getting to this place was a huge victory for me. 
can you see the tiny arches formed between each "string"?
this step proved to be most difficult for me. 
my awkward hands fumbled as i sought to understand the work necessary to prepare 
kozo for spinning. eventually certain things "clicked".
i love that concrete blocks are just fine for this!
one half sheet (two quarters) of matsuo kozo, prepared for spinning.
this elegant wheel is perfect for the job. 
it has a wonderful flexibility in the "maidens" which are made from corded bamboo sheaths. 
(and i suspect also in the wheel adjustments for the drive band)
hiroko sent me home with my two small skeins wrapped around 
a plastic covered bobbin, still damp, 
with instructions to wind off while still a tiny bit damp. 
i forgot to photograph them in their damp state, i was so eager to skein them!
so at 10:30, after my train and car trips, 
i eagerly began to wind off my skeins.
89 yards.
i am ridiculously delighted with this spinning, this handwork, 
this almost meditation of making.
i honor hiroko, her kind husband, my dear wendy, and her husband.
i thank toronto, a city i'm learning to love.
i was made to feel very welcome, for this most exciting step in my textile education. 
when i prepare to make shifu, 
it seems like all the parts of my making are coming together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


afternoon, and as the long shadows (yes, there is sunshine!) 
and brilliance shine on these keys, i sit and think 
("sometimes i sits and thinks, and sometimes i just sits") 
in wonder and great peace. 
i have had a trip into a place of learning and growing. of laughter and love. 
of trying to make my hands learn faster than they want.  
a beautiful collection of one of barry's leaves, and my valentines. i returned to this, surprised.
 see the ship? a lake freighter on lake ontario
a train ride, there 
and back again.
i looked out the window, until i remembered that the grey was twilight 
and quickly took some photos.
smiling hugely.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

stitches and bones...

also from turning leaves of mind
the last time i was in toronto i found this book
this time this book found me
it may be that these things, stones, bones, stitches, skin, have a thing or two to teach me. 
i feel obligated to listen.
to learn.

Friday, February 18, 2011


from turning leaves of mind 
today i'm heading to toronto for an adventure. i will see friends, learn a bit about shifu, and be in a real live city, where faces will be the colors of the rainbow. haven't decided if i will take along the macbook, it might be good to unplug. so i might be quiet here for a bit. or not. 
quiet, but not gone! (yet)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

mid week musing

i've been up to a couple of things this week.
border collies have an amazing gait that is economical and quick.
on our walk, i see her energy saving way of moving.
hocks close, feet almost touching.
i started a cauldron.
couldn't wait till spring
a silk piece, a cotton piece
see the branches?
after yesterday's walk
the branches!
sun yesterday, and cold.
today, warm and cloudy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

wings and heart

this woman is special. one day, when ian was 15 and hannah 12, we ended up in her shop, warwick press, unannounced. i'm sure that was a surprise, to put it nicely. we were visiting prep schools where i thought ian might find a scholarship (he did, but not a full one). i had been writing to her for several years. so we met. 

how did that happen? well, i ordered a book called once upon a time, book two. and fell in love with her storytelling, her drawing, her quirky sense of humor. yesterday when i got home from work, this card was in my mailbox. it's a drawing of a figure that hangs in her kitchen (and that kitchen is a very important place). i think they are sisters. carol j. blinn, proprietor of warwick press, and a little figure, made by anonymous (who was a woman) who has wings AND a heart.

carol is one of a handful, a very full handful, of special friends, mostly women, who have, at times, saved my life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy heart

from jude
a sometime bookmark for velma's books
chewed by tess the english setter 
a little the worse for wear
how is your heart today?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


celebrating love is a strange concept to me, especially if your practice is love. and yet we set aside tomorrow as a day to remember love. the ones we love. to remember. i celebrate my tiny family of three. all the time. we are non traditional, non conventional in many ways. i am grateful for that.
ian at work at bullseye glass
(wonky pixels when enlarged)
hannah at work on knitting
the silent (ian and hannah will chuckle) one
this week hand/eye online came out with a new edition, including a new piece by wendy golden levitt. her work encompasses love on many levels, love and healing. that is her very strong gift. many fiber artists' works are assists in the work these children do.
 these hands working on wendy's book. 
you can see some other signs of love there, a heart, a moon.
gathered from the earth and pulped
 and sheetformed
 and stitched
 and knotted 
and spun 
and woven into a book.

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