Tuesday, July 3, 2018

reading design

i'm reading about two compelling things,
(when i'm not reading Phryne Fisher stories)
design and craft.
phryne i reserve for the very humid and hot days, in the afternoon
when my head feels enormous and mushy
especially after i did this
have you tried to walk or make paper or garden 
when your big toe is swollen and bruised
or hauled a fan up and down stairs (16) because you only have one?
i did, however, complete this chore first:
i felled a basswood that was growing in my perennial border
where it's not allowed.
sawing basswood takes almost no strength, 
such a pleasure to do this job quickly (the cutting, that is, stripping is still work).
i clip off the branches
and then stripped the bark leaving outer and inner bast intact, 
to send to Heather from PBI
who is sending me a trade.
grin. this is fun.
and basswood, well, it's delicious.
it doesn't smell or feel quite as lovely as slippery elm, 
which i still have to "weed" out of that border...you know,
the end of the border where it becomes forest?
i also made a little stack of 27 square flax papers
laying them flat to air dry without restraint.
(black cases hold typewriter and sewing machine)
as they dry they become dimensional
which always pleases me
stacking them is fun
especially when i can stack them on top of some shifu
that i dipped several times,
i lost track how many,
maybe 7 or so,
 in the vat.
and below is one of many dimensional pieces i made in Mary Hark's PBI class
flax with inclusions,
dipped in the same indigo vat,
see how the dye works on different fiber
and different numbers of dunks?
can you guess what the inclusions are?
so this morning,
toe feeling much better,
i worked in the mill for 2 1/2 hours
made a big stack of larger heavy flax sheets.
(i'm beginning to understand flax)
and reading design and craft?
i'm still very much pursuing that, 
 today, after spending the early morning with this book
i went off to make paper.
a very good balance for me.
andrew's book is a treasure, teaching through stories. 
i read a a few pages,
go away mulling it over, and return to read and think some more. 
his understanding of the creative process, of problem solving, 
and building well designed and beautiful environments
combine teaching wisdom with caring wisdom.
i am learning so much--
a very good book.


  1. (((Velma))) good to hear your toe is starting to feel better, love seeing your photos of paper & process + the heads up for a good book!

  2. I love the textural quality of your pile of curled paper! Thanks for the book suggestion.

  3. Basswood ... now then, I had to look that one up ... new to me. Native to your parts it seems ... a Tilia, yes? And so I'm wondering about all those gorgeous leaves - happen to know if they print on cloth or paper??
    Bummer bout that toe, Velma, take good care, hope it heals fast.

  4. Hi V - I'm with R&S - those photos of the stacks of curled paper are just delicious. B

  5. Your flax papers are wonderful! The various shades of blue from multiple dippings are beautiful. Inclusions look like linguini or fettuccini, or shoelaces ;) but I know they aren’t. Question: where can flax fiber be purchased?

    Barbara | Barbjmoore18@gmail.com

  6. Mo, you always send hugs, which i so appreciate. It slowed me down when I least wanted that, but was NOT a crisis at all!
    R&S flax paper is so interesting, i love it too. Andrew's book is excellent.
    Christy, It is a tilia, basswood is the local name. in Japan it's also harvested for fiber, but I'm sure it's different than our local one, it's also got a European cousin, linden. I'm too lazy to go look it up right now.I haven't printed with our basswood enought o notice anything special. But do try your tilia and let me know.
    Barry, they really are fun!
    Barbara, the inclusions actually are used rubber bands!!! I buy cut fiber flax from Carriage House.

  7. (Youch!)
    Velma, you are one of the most industrious pioneers I know, in body, mind & spirit. You've brought back a childhood memory of that wonderful smooth wet feeling of peeled branches.

  8. Owie toe! Lovely paper and raw basswood! I love watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries :)

  9. hazel, it's almost all better. yes to those memories, i have them too. i couldn't understand why all twigs weren't the silky wet kind.
    nancy, have you read Kerry Greenwood's books? they're even better than the tv and the tv is damned good.

  10. Velma...no I have not, but at this point I'd be picturing all of the actors I'm so familar with as I read!

  11. nancy, do give them a try. the stories are richer, one way to make up that lack of seeing the clothing and locations, but different, they're still ALL Phryne.

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