Wednesday, February 28, 2018

really big doings

in the past little while my old farmhouse
got spiffed up.
rudy and henry and levi
risked falling on (off?) the steep old roof,
but they persevered and there it is
the whole house is clothed.
moreover, two crumbly and useless chimneys disappeared,
the one useful and rather nice one remains.
two porch roofs and the garage remain.
but this morning they're back, working on them.
back after they got started with sugaring.
these three men have just recently moved here from pennsylvania.
the land is cheap and it's possible to live well here
if you like hard work.
they do.

both rudy and henry looked at my for sale place and passed on it.
on sunday two paper and book friends were here
both of them had looked at my for sale house the other time years ago
but i pulled it off the market.
and now my house looks better than it did years ago.
having three uninsured men walking around on your very steep roof
is worrying.
i can't watch-it's better if i stay away, but not too far.
i was very aware of every untoward clatter and thump.
it was the worst when they chimneys went down.
my amish workers were somewhat taken aback by my dining room.
rudy asked if they might eat inside everyday,
to warm up and get out of the wind.
there is all that "stuff" on the walls and
piling up my work areas.
unlike other "english" i have no dishwasher, tv, microwave, or dryer.
but i do have an imac (they did appreciate the weather reports).
worlds collide, i think, more often than not.
handling that can make us better people or  monsters.
it's our choice.
they're working again this morning, 
and i wish i could show you their faces but their religion eschews photography
which is why my photos are surreptitious.
i want to share this, as respectfully as i can.
it's very important to me.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

learning printing

i've made lots of flax paper this winter.
one mould,
custom made by britt quinlin the paperwright for a zone 4
and brush gallery project,
makes a dry sheet of about 10 x 24 inches.
the mould is unweildy and tricksy to use.
but i like it. 
working with the expert guidance of melissa schulenburg
i made some collagraphs 
about weave.
my living room furniture as drying rack. 
there was no way i could abandon these to the drying rack 
in the studio for five days,
they're too new and special for me.
and living with them helps me figure out the next steps.
dog kennels re-purposed.
 my living room includes two,
for the visiting setters,
gwen, who has made a happy comeback from her bad spell, 
and tess the princess birddog.
i opened up my sketchbook
looking for pulp stories
 and found this
from two winters ago.
a pulp herbal.
shanna's covered rock holding the page.
at school
the freshman group made 
super mokuhanga self portraits,
here are some of them.
and a warwick press surprise
i found in my mailbox.
a reflection on the times,
a poem, and this lovely, lovely landscape.
it feels like almost nothing in my hands,
so light and airy.
it's been a good week.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


several years ago my amazing son ian drew his heart
his woods
his love
maybe because he was raised next door to woods
and was babysat by a grandfather maple
and played with his sister
climbing trees,
tasting sap-weeping sugar maples in march,
and now borrows wood bits, old and new,
to carpenter into useful
and beautiful
we would do well to remember how rooted our hearts are
in this woods
all our woods,
this world.
please, be mine.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

how creativity infects life

i edited this a little, especially trying to explain how creativity works for me,
and the alignment, etc. is still wonky, but i'm leaving it. 
i still maintain that others, non-creatives, see it as procrastination. 
creatives know better,
but still have to manage it.
remember that poster from the 70's? 
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."

sunday's post:
i was informed by my love that procrastination is part of creativity, 
(research proves it)
that the gestation taking place while procrastinating is part 
of the process. 
i like that.
/girls; it's what we're not.
sometimes creativity springs spontaneously from need:
i had to fix those basket handles.
as i walked past my work table i noticed
two long pieces of thick hemp string
that tied up a recent gift
and had to be reused. 
they were right there ready for me.
many years ago now i heard the term "compost dyeing".
way before i knew what it could be, 
then eventually found websites,
still not understanding much i made it up and then, and then, 
i found an amazing book, eco colour,
  and fortunately met india flint, and ecodyeing, now contact printing.
she who is teaching via facebook right now, a very creative, online class.
i'm getting ahead of myself, though...
knowing what i did about compost and natural dyeing
i put it together and thought: what if i wetted a fabric,
hung it in my green cone composter and let the heat and microorganisms make some color/pattern.
so i tried it.
meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say,
there was a 55 gallon barrel 
brought over by a riding friend to make practice jumps for my mare and me.
it had burned in a shed fire and then rusted, being exposed to weather.
i rolled it into my yard, 
wrapped white cotton sheeting around it, tied it on
and wet it out. 
for a couple of autumn months.
i used: water, vinegar, milk, wine, beer...whatever interesting liquid i had that day.
mostly it was water.
the final cloth was colored and patterned, 
salvaged before any weather damage.
i washed it well, dried and ironed,
 and off it went to become someone else's shirt.
this is what it is: 
gestation. creativity. procrastination?
i've been making small sheets of paper
from the pulp leftover after bigger runs at school.
(2 pounds of flax = a bunch of large papers and 
a gallon of leftover pulp too small for the big equipment)
i make little papers
 and can be at home, in the kitchen! 
and manage pressing and drying at my leisure.
early, i sometimes wear my nightclothes.

and the other day the ups delivery guy and later on a state trooper both startled me

stomping up on the back porch in a snowstorm, 

when i was making paper in the kitchen (they were both ama/uzed).
i, fortunately was clothed appropriately.
but where these new sheets will go, 
prints and books,
this is what i'm working on now.
all the while i'm prepping for pbi, 
and for summer/fall papermaking class, 
and thinking about another cool opportunity that i hope
i can share with you once it's finalized.
i found this ⇧ while tidying up at school.
the storage closet is now easy to navigate.
and this year there's winter, 
who does winter's own creative work being poor man's fertilizer, 
and slowing down drivers of cars and buggies.
(slowing down the work on my roof, too.)
a woven landscape,
with new snow and now freezing rain today 
 hearing from both kids
during a snowstorm in one day 
highlighted my week
 and the neighbor three
see three, now? 
often joined by two others often check in during the dayout back the snow around the barn
looks like a sewing machine went wild
stitching patterns all aboutand as usual 
i see weaving everywherealders and other brush
woven by wild grapevine suggest patterns for books
maps for living
a life.

Friday, February 2, 2018

back and forth

the buddhist monk's chest holds a bunch of stuff
it's a constantly evolving surface filled with things i love.
and now there's a winged being
from aimee.
 i was away in toronto
and just before i left rudy and the boys 
brought over the lumber for my roof.

there has been some snow, 
and wind, too,
but they did work on the roof one day while i was away.
these guys tried hard to get this done
 but this crazy on and off winter has had its way 
 with the best laid plans.
 so a dark green metal will soon grace this old place.
feeling like i can get things done:
yesterday i walked three miles and then sat myself down
with h & r block and my mac
and got the damned taxes done.
up till midnight with that, but oh! it's done.
this morning i repaired my laundry basket.
 the handles had moved from functional to, 
 now they'll do for a bit.

 february is such a strange month,
short but cold,
there's a little shrine on my cupboard.
(shanna leino heart)
 and jack frost is busy 
painting frosty fern shapes
on my old storm door windows.

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