Friday, December 1, 2017

gratitude in a big city

Toronto is a city that feels as right as a city can feel.
i like it there.
the first thing that we did was have lunch
with the beautiful, brilliant Judy Martin.
this is a thing i found in the soil that was around a tree 
in a toronto sidewalk.
it feels like an african trade bead.
hannah says it looks like a hoof
anyway, my trip to toronto was rich, indeed.
i stayed with my dear heart friend wendy golden-levitt
and saw the grief book,
my shifu book that the children work with.
it holds many things,
many tears,
and, importantly, healing.
(i wrote about this in the summer edition of HandPapermaking)
we visited a wonderful tea shop,
where i purchased some lovely tea, 
and met a young woman learning wisdom.
and when we looked out the window
 these tall ones were spotted
at Mjolk i had a good talk with John Baker
my rock book #3 or #5*
 lives there now
*i am so number impaired that i forget which.
conversation about art and design and making and life
moved me deeply.
the top rock book,
sections now bound on vellum tapes, 
is in toronto.
we went to the textile museum
to see hiroko karuno's shifu
pictures, at least mine,
don't show the beauty as i wish they would.
there were some stones at home, too.
and this magic 
out in the city 
we found an
artists' book store.
i bought two.
above, stubborn objects 
below, no title
(but you can see me taking the photo)
and this for free
i had wanted to finish this book before i left
but i didn't.
i showed these skeins
lokta kami-ito, walnut dye, walnut dye long bath, and natural
to some john and cha cha.
once i reached home there was snow.
i had to scrape the car in brockville at via rail
so i could drive back home.
 a little boy went widdershins around my house
a welcome, perhaps.
he wasn't worried,
he browsed on some dried goldenrod.
 at home i cleaned off a shelf
and found these little ones that, while teaching my kids,
i carved from soapstone.
i did this often with my students,
especially while reading Barry Lopez'
Crow and Weasel.
a bear, a bird,
a squirrel-bird, a selkie,
a coyote and a little pflump.
these need homes,
and may appear in my shop soon.
photos 5-8 by Wendy Golden-Levitt

ADDENDUM: they are now in the shop. please email me if you're interested. i haven't yet figured out the PayPal thingie. i will, soon, i hope!


  1. love that first photo - and the memories I have of your beautiful smile dear Velma. So good about Mjolk ! xo

  2. this whole post is electrifying! truly inspiring.
    the stones textile and the other quilt! what are their stories?

  3. your unfinished book looks very intrigeing and what a great photo of you two with Judy!

  4. judy, it was a great lunch, and all...
    alisa, i've made several found split rock books over the years, and the quilt--go over to visit jude hill's blog spirit cloth and look for the magic feather cloth in a side bar (maybe?)
    mo, thanks!!!

  5. Oh Velma what a richness there is in this post and this visit! I would have loved to have been there - it all looks amazing!

  6. Velma you carved these pieces of lovely wonderfulness. I have never carved anything. I love them.

  7. fiona, you're right, this november richness seemed amazing in every way.
    penny, that's lovely. i really like carving soapstone; shape and carve, carve until the animal emerges.

  8. Hi Velma,
    How do we find your shop?
    Sandy in the UK

  9. sandy, if you go to the top of my blog and scroll down a bit to see my website, just click on wake robin and it should take you to the website (that's my main web site). you can access shop and other areas from there. let me know if you have any more questions.

  10. all things wonderful, happy to hear you saw the exhibit at TMC. Would love to go to Mjolk.

  11. jean, the exhibit was lovely, accessible, but i wanted to touch it! mjolk is pretty wonderful.

  12. so many things to comment on:
    how lucky meeting judy
    the healing book touched my heart in so many ways
    you look fantastic
    so does the kami ito( it made me drool and you didn't :-) )
    the stone book, what can i say.
    it seems you had the time of your life
    and that's good.

  13. neki, i was blessed in so many ways, so many wonderful conversations, so much care. CARE.


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