Tuesday, May 1, 2018

finding out that your hands know something

this water is part of the grasse river.
taken two or three days ago, 
there is more green now though you might not notice.
 what am i thinking?
i went over to school last night and beat another pound and a half (more or less)
of flax.
i'd like to make some more paper.
before pbi.
there was this on the way to the library
 for the life of me i can't remember what the white things were.
 some kind of installation.
ceramic, maybe.
 you can just barely see the rigging that holds them in place.
 i've been doing a LOT of stitching on flax as well as cotton paper this winter.
you may remember me going on and on about it all.
(which is what my book Flax Notion is all about).
once the holes are punched
and the stitches made
i like to burnish them a bit
nestle them into the surface of the paper,
i needed a burnisher,
one that fits my hands and feels just right.
 did i take a before photo?
but this was a deer leg bone that i harvested
from a carcass heaved aside.
 i had already cut it to size with a band saw, 
but i could have just as well used the hatchet
which i did use to hew out the general shape.
this little sampler of kami-ito
on st armand cotton cover stock needed to soften a bit
 so i used my new burnisher on it.
the stitches flatten nicely, you can feel it make itself more of a whole.
 i'm showing you lots of photos so you can see the delicious curves and shapes
ready to be used.
though i was tempted to decorate it some,
i left it plain.
 the slight color irregularities are particularly evident in deer bone.
when i learned this skill from jim croft
i carved with elk bone as well.
 there's a small and a larger end. 
even the edge can be used.
i took the surface down to a 400 sandpaper sheen
but i now have 600 and a really fine steel wool
that i've used a bit. 
I don't need this to shine, just almost.
now my hands know this tool, it knows me.
the oils in my hands will help it get to know me and me it.
i'd forgotten how satisfying it is to make what you need to make something else.
and to make it well and have it be
 this morning i was outside working
and i found that i'd forgotten to brush my hair.
 it's curly again, now that my underactive thyroid is boosted,
and the resulting hair loss has subsided some,
and my energy levels have returned,
i am so happy.
 last night sunset was enormous
after days of rain.
 today has been very productive.
over at the new place there's a woodcock hen on a nest very close to the house.
i watched her today, shuffle around and move. 
she's so close i can see her beak 
and her eyes.
but my photos didn't land in my inbox, so i'll show you later.
today, tuesday, may day.
what a day!

it's wednesday and here they are:

 mama woodcock on her nest.
first: rear view, 
second: head view.


  1. Stunning photos! I can feel your connection to the deer bone burnisher. Actually, I feel things about all you do. I’ve recently started making paper from plant materials, and now I don’t want to “make paper from paper” again. I hope you post your books waiting to happen. Oh, those white things? They remind me of milkweed seed pods, but that’s too easy, so not quite. Let us know if you learn what they are.

  2. barbara, thank you for your kind words. it's so stupid that i can't remember what those things are, but they were hard and surprisingly heavy. i think. but maybe i've forgotten. sigh. there is deep satisfaction in whittling away at something, even if it's with sandpaper.

  3. Oh the wonder of the handmade helping with the handmade! It must feel so good in the hand. And that sunset - so rewarding. I also like the installation and the way in which the wee pods evade memory is kind of charming; you have to just accept it for what it is...go well.

  4. what a HUGE day!!! i love it all. i love love love what you are doing with your hands, your life, your energy, your heart, and now coming into balance with your thyroid! so much inspiration and contentment knowing that my dear friend is so well.

  5. fiona, accept and then just enjoy. handmade helping with the handmade. i like that!
    aimee, maybe balance, and yes, i feel very happy. what a wonderful change.

  6. Your blogs never fail to delight. Each post is a present! Thank you for sharing your work and thoughts and photos.

  7. c. that is relaly lovely to read! how do i know you-grampians?

  8. '... As Carl Wilkens writes, "When we make something with our hands, it changes the way we feel, which changes the way we think, which changes the way we act."'
    from 'The Hour of Land' by Terry Tempest Williams

  9. 400, 600, steel wool smooth...your tender narrative.

    Roxanne | roxannelasky@gmail.com

    Note: This email was sent via the Contact Form gadget on https://velmabolyard.blogspot.com

  10. Nice long post Velma! And I am wondering if my thyroid med is what made my hair curly again now that it has grown back after falling out! xo

    Catherine Alice Michaelis | maydaypress@msn.com

    catherine, yes, it was exactly the same progression. now that my med (new condition and therefore new med just last year) has been increased, i wonder if the hair will follow the same path.

  11. You have the most tactile posts...my fingers tingled while reading through.
    Had the craziest dream about you, your house, and a missing roasted chicken, just crazy.

  12. hazel, holy moly, girl, what are you eating before bedtime?!! but i'm really glad i prompted your fingers to tingle. yay.

  13. Loving the found bone tool. Your hair is lovely!

  14. patty, i've made several bone tools, this one seemed exactly right for what i wanted it to do. my hair is, er, unruly!


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