Sunday, September 6, 2015


a web, 
if i were to spin one
the way ms. spider does,
it would include friends and book arts folks
from all around.
catherine michaelis and her husband bill moody
are friends i met through this world web.
they are artists, 
from washington,
on the other ocean.
my first stay on the pacific
was with these two lovely folks.
catheine has operated may day press for many years, 
and is now,
like my lovely friend carol j blinn 
(warwick press) 
making more one of a kind books, 
delving deeper into the world of artists' books
making more special small editions and unique books.
below you see catherine's most recent book, 
Beyond Blue
here's another shot
 what she wrote about it:
 The box is salmon leather that Bill made and I beaded it together. That was the whole reason to make that piece - for the salmon leather box! It is for a "box" show. The text is embroidered and wrapped around a seal knuckle bone. There is a "map" embroidered and beaded onto indigo dyed cotton and the box is also lined with the indigo dyed cotton, courtesy of your workshop!!!! Thanks for being excited about it! I want to just make salmon leather boxes now. . . 
Catherine wrote this little bit about the book for the show. 
Every box holds a story. That story may be known or yet to happen. The story for my box became known during its making, and began with a piece of salmon leather. Salmon are adaptable creatures; they are born in fresh water, but adjourn to the salty seas. Nearing the end of their life, they swim against the current back to where they were born to reproduce and die. The salmon from which this leather was made might have been on its return to the river, or on a runaway adventure into unknown depths and perils with the desire to embody the fierceness of Moby Dick, the TV fame of Flipper, or the allure of an Aegean mermaid. The story this box holds is none and all of these. It is told one stitch at a time, and strung into a semblance of meaning making. The point of the story is that whatever was once known was taken by the unceasing stealth of the Pacific tide, broken, and left for scavenging. There’s a map, for those wishing to find, but not be found.
the poem i haven't quoted here, but it is a 
catherine is serious about the embroidered book/box path that she is on,
she says that she will gladly accept commission work, 
along these lines, 
please contact her for a conversation.
therese swift-hahn sent this photo of me
from sandra brownlee's workshop this summer.
therese says it's the only photo she took in our workshop
it was great to share the table with therese
and great to look out the window
and see her spiraled by paper
as she worked in the meadow.
shanna leino sent me a new weight
 the woman knows how to make you want to enjoy
each step of the opening.
 i have two already
and always need one more.
now i have one more,
and it's yellow!
shanna will be at the guild of bookworkers 
annual meeting 
and selling tools, i believe.


Catherine Alice said...

Thank you Velma for appreciating my work so much. I am grateful for the dyeing we did together and the weaving of distance we managed to gather up between us into a small wrinkle, easy to cross. I look at what I am doing now and see so many influences, like small stitches, that came from so many. I also feel like everything up to know has been the warm up, the training ground, for doing this. Thank you! Love. . .

Velma Bolyard said...

catherine, when you feel this way about the work, well it is the THING, i think. i am grateful for you believing in my work, those few years ago. it meant and still means much to me.

Anonymous said...

love the photo of you - it is everything I imagine you to be. The salmon skin box and the entire concept is breathtaking.

Mo Crow said...

fish skin is magic!

Velma Bolyard said...

jean, it's me--wearing linen and cotton and my wild white hair! catherine is cooking with gas, indeed!
mo, oh, indeed! do you use it?

ronnie said...

everything about this post is yummy --- but I must tell you --- did you know in aussieland that there is an organisation called 'beyond blue' --- this group raises awareness of depression and anxiety (so very needed don't you think) --- so the first thing that I thought of when I saw 'beyond blue' was how folk with mental illnesses feel blue and boxed in... or how society often compartmentalises mental illnesses.... and so on and so forth...... (I think that still strangely suits don't you? ahhhh that is the magic of art - that the viewer brings their own story to the work...)

ps --- I'm loving your wild white hair.... its the hairstyle of my dreams ... :D

Velma Bolyard said...

ronnie, well, i can only say that then there are "the blues". i think indigo has enough umph! to hold its own as happy or sad. maybe i should indigo my hair?! it's never been dyed, and my hannah insists i trim it once a year-she does that deed!

Mo Crow said...

re fish skin, I made this Barramundi fish skin book back in 2003
eel skin is wonderul too, here's the pentacle pincushion from 2013
& cane toad skin is wonderfully weird, here's the Toad Moon
and the Moon Star
Cane Toads are an introduced pest here in Australia brought in to control the native beetles in the sugar cane and they are moving further south by the year so if we can use their skins so much the better!

Velma Bolyard said...

ah, thanks so much, mo, and anyone else, go over and check these out. i have made the acquaintance of a cane toad as purse at tom balbo's place.

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