Wednesday, October 17, 2018

serial photography/cereal photography

wrapping paper, hangi, from aimee became one long strip
soy beans added to help keep paper from sticking to itself
after the spinning and most beans were removed...
and the spun thread
kami-ito ready for north country shifu
a night prowler
yes, it's a bobcat.
m's seen this one or its relative, up close, too close, and personal.
buckthorn berries
harvest from my yard
retired the potato masher to the dye kitchen
the froth settled
the cook begins
draining through a paint strainer
borrowed from the paper mill
the liquor

why cereal photography?
the top bowl is from east fork pottery and is their cereal bowl.
the bottom bowl is a pyrex (vintage same as the potato masher) mixing bowl
the cereal bowl my once teenage nephew used to use.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

black walnut work

the new reality of blogger is that i can no longer make comments 
to you wonderful readers
so conversation is curtailed.
i will move the blog back to square space, where my website lives
because i hate all this confusion.
if feels like that strange phone call i got from the admin.
or the email that also came.
i call it lousy.
for all of you who read and comment and/or try to comment
bear with me as i try to make the switch again,
and leave the clunky blogger.
it may take a bit.
here's a little tale of a warm, medium brown.
i had the gift from a black walnut tree from my neighbor Val.
this was a sweet thing because i really want to make stuff this fall.
as antidote to craziness.
 this big stock pot completely full
was filled with water (which barely covered it).
 i've seldom picked black walnuts,
i wait till they fall (usually the trees are huge).
this time they were all very, very green.
the citrus scent was fresh, lovely!
another neighbor and sometimes student of mine Regan 
and her granddaughter helped pick.
 it went fast
the tree was so generous and abundant with nuts.
 covered with my hard well water, set covererd on the stove, at full high heat.
(it takes a while to get up to heat)
but here's the pot after the first un-lidding and tiny stir
9not much room to stir)
 the scent intensified, 
a hot citrus dance.
 you can see the change.
 after stirring the pot-they start to darken.
i never saw this before
 duotone walnuts
 after an all day cook,
who knows how many hours-maybe 9?
 they were all dark and dye liquor was developing from the water.
 punctured hulls are beginning to fall away from the inner nut.
i stirred and chopped away a bit with the big spoon.
and then it cooled slowly,
 disintegrated more overnight.
 this morning I started the stove again and it's simmering away now
and smells of earthy, off-chocolate.
 much more "in pieces" than before.
on the way to becoming a colorant: 
ink and or dye.
something positive.
i also made 5 big boco prints. 
antidote to despair.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


autumn is late and the golding of trees seems pale and unhappy.
virginia creeper and a few red maples have flamed up,
but it's a weird late fall
mirroring the weirdness in this country.
hard frost forecast for tonight.
so i continue making art
in my corner of the adirondack foothills
an act of hope.
these goofy buckets? 
prizes from horse shows in the 90's
 my students continue to amaze me.
the papermaking, and this week volvelles
and this one who took barry's peace piece
and wears it with deep pride.
Quin explained how he and another student enlarged the holes
just enough to lace through a thick leather cord.
another student, eli, 
is making custom moulds after lee mcdonald.
on the kitchen counter of alchemical delights
turmeric ink, and black eyed susan leaf dye
and in the shadows an ancient one
judy serebrin's polar bear
guards the table that's not just for meals
and lovely ink from tim mclaughlin and shanna's rocks
a wee stack of indigo flax papers 
a skein of petal-dyed yarn.

to the right of these objects is a west window
that looks out on my back yard that decreases in size
 as the woods reaches in around the perimeter
 young deer learn that this place is a safe one
and they get used to me speaking
a little bit. 
i have always loved the ancient south american textiles
perhaps they mirror a politic as vicious as ours is now.
where our deepest language reveals our acceptance of 
injustice and misogyny.
when i look at these pieces
i don't try to understand much about their place in space and time, 
that's the work of the good scholars, not me,
i look at the color, the design, the weave/craft of the making
imagining what the whole cloth might have been like and how precious it must have been,
the many hours in the making,
their power and art.
these thoughts sustain me.
when i can turn my mind from the worldly worries.
from the very great hedi kyle to all of us who fold paper into books and things:
it's out!
elissa showcased projects from this book and i have been a little envious of her.
also, i admire her like heck as she's blogged about the book 
while caring for her wee daughter.
i had a weekend workshop with the amazing hedi at syracuse university 
several years ago. 
she was a clear and kind teacher, 
generous with her huge understanding of the book arts.
if you're not familiar with hedi,
know that she is one of the greats 
who has taken the arts of the book to new places with her curiosity and work.
i had taken a stack of my papers for the weekend,
and hedi honored me by buying a bunch. 
modern weavers making a scaffolded warp...
keeps me thinking.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

listening and students

i am listening today.
i will only say ugh. 
so i'll talk about my papermaking class.
eli likes to make things, 
he's taken to making tools like a duck to water!
 the big folder he fashioned from cow bones he sourced nearby.
he softened the edges and formed this tool. 
it's not exactly right for folding, so he made another tool, the small one above. 
between these two he can do a lot of book work.
and then he made four picks and one had a fault which he took advantage of.
he can tell you which one is best for his mandolin.
 so the Maiwa cloths, which sat patiently waiting for me to wash them out.
 there was very little dye loos and no color change that i saw.
ironing them was sweet.
 and another on my students, Roman, is a fiber worker.
he sourced nettles, t
hese arne't stinging nettles but a local unrelated nettle, 
but still a nettle (i am NOT a botanist)
 the first batch he brought was one thin strand, 
this is a bit more and such a glorious green
 he retted them i think he said not quite long enough, but was happy. 
i could barely keep my hands off eli's picks and roman's nettles, 
if they only knew how proud i am of their accomplishments!
these students are two of the handful from the Sustainability Program at SLU.
they live at a farm about 5 miles from campus and practice sustainability
as a house, a way of living for an entire school year.
Racheal is doing a second year I believe,
and my class is part of their program this fall.
they're highly motivated. 
these guys questioned me about the over-use of water for papermaking 
and the disposal of waste... 
they are thinking and doing young people. 
oh, and eli--he's onto making moulds now! 
i can't wait to see what he designs!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

gratitude and paper

thank you all for your kind wishes for hannah and tyler.
they are feeling a bit better, a bit less shell shocked.
which makes my heart beat more easily.
after the first evening walk in ages
 i gathered up some black eyed susan petals,
from my backporchpatch
 and set them to soak
(maybe for ink)
 in paper doings 
my student todd brought me this lovely gampi/cattail paper
(an apple for the teacher, he smiled)
it's delicious, 
much more subtle than the photo shows.
 todd's gampi supports two little flax with lokta stitch sheets i took along to maiwa
 here they are with some indigo dyed hand spun hemp 
 and then some walnut dunked earth pigmented sheets
on a walnut/flax/stitched sheet
there seems to be no end to the possibilities
of which i've just scratched the surface.
 and then this came
oh, my.
if you've ever thought of making your own ink
you should check out this book
 a touch of color on the corners entices you to open
 an illustration from the book: 
buckthorn ink
a green earth pigment dunked in black walnut
 and then an ochre, likewise dunked
 and the backside of this indigo dunked flax and lokta
 a wee bit of hemp basket in making
 one of my flax samplers 
(there are a few of these...
 nice back, don't you think?
contact printed acrhes text wove.
 my class worked with drew matott and johnny lafalse
while i was at maiwa
drew overexposed
 my students learning and pulp painting
 how to form a sheet, 
back left is johnny
 each bucket a different pulp, 
mostly from knitted cotton shirts
 and almost black and blue pulps, 
and a brand new sheet.
i came back and we all have to slow down now
and make really good sheets 
after repulping half of their first abaca sheets
they are really, really attentive.

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