Tuesday, February 24, 2015

hill of the chickadee

deep snow is poor man's fertilizer.
 and the corn ladies
lean away from the west wind,
the wind that here means business and
sometimes destruction.
they who were so tall
bend and almost break in this fierce
cold bluster.
 some endings are so small
they seem pointless,
the why.
this one i lifted to my face.
touched it's silken down,
and i brought it to my frozen garden
to be this woman's rich fertilizer.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

printing paper and books

todd pattison is the president of the new england branch of the guild of bookworkers.
he is one of those people who is delightfully surprising.
last year i received in the mail a small book he made
with my contact printed paper as cover.
lizard spine, maybe?
filled with katie macgregor's light blue handmade papers.
an absolute surprise, i might add. 
i did a happy dance.
it's one of those things i tootled out to show
hannah and nicole
who came by on saturday
 after i met them friday
at caliban press
 where they are slu students, employees of caliban
learning the letterpress trade
 with mark mcmurray
hannah bravely asked me if she could see me working
something i always say no to
(but i said yes
thanks to fred, who has been plowing my driveway this winter
has had an effect on my doing unto others)
for a wee look at the doings in my dye kitchen. 
 the mill is closed down for the winter
so my wet studio is my kitchen right now.
and i tried printing on some old japanese papers
complete with worm holes...
in my kitchen sink
 i wash my wool socks 
my daughter hannah's knitting
 and the dining table acts as the bottom plate 
for pressing dyed papers.
the young women brought with them such positive energy
full of purpose.
it fed my soul somehow,
so it was a good two hours.
...and over at jasper's
church may indeed be in session.
though i've never spotted anyone there
during worship hours.

Friday, February 20, 2015

winter break

so many pages
create a garden of color and shape.
and therese sent me her experiments
with that amazing fiber
which looks like air, but feels like
well, i'll leave that to your imagination
so i have also been playing with 
shapes as pages fall together
i do get out some
for years this small building has been
one of my absolute favoites 
in the north country
it's very satisfying
and these beings
live on the same farm
this barn foundation is huge
i love it,
i could imagine planning
and caring for 
many many animals.
how changed my life 
if that were me.
turkeys eat sumac now
one of the few available feeds,
near a stretch of road where the road crew
mowed down the entire stretch of very large shrubs. 
and in this deep extended stretch of cold
they are eating the
lemon scented furry berries
which stain my fingers
this break.
 on some days brilliance breaks your heart
and indoors
a new pigment 
stains my fingers
and some hosta paper
ochre, hosta
ochre, fern magic
the ochres are from the same road cut
the hosta from my plants.
the first book from the winters
contact prints
bound overnight in silk
a little piece left over from beautiful silks
a gift from marion.
milkweed kigami
and a weak winter sun
working muscles to make
more of us a wee bit happier.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

full disclosure

a little piece of hosta paper
very strong
made on my miniature lee macdonald wove mould
with pigment
i've been rubbing north country soils into my little papers
and shifu,
taking ochres from road cuts
soils from marshes
and this
this is something left over from the dye pot.
"The fertile fronds of sensitive fern bear spores in the bead-like structures."
after dyeing papers in the contact print dyepot
then drying out
they shed powder.
dyed spores,
a slightly different take
local pigment gathering.
and here we are
in print

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

rime or reason

the gentlest curve of snowfall
looks to my eye like a curve of bone
salvaged from the woods
at the site of coyote kill.
way off in the corn field
the ladies line dance
to the tippy frigid cold
keeping balance precariously.
or is that me,
balancing sanity and foolishness
in this gray?
they seem to come closer
but my camera is playing the trick
and the lack of light 
and the snowfall
turn it into another kind of grain
the next day
still gray
but less airborne snow
and more earthbound snow
and corn ladies deeply bound.
i can get a little more personal
say a howdy
and shiver.
(my neck shivering despite the silk)
the weirdest snowfall left
icing in the bitter cold.
a rain freezing
left another kind of trace
a powdery gray
on the grandmother maple.
umber gray on blue gray
gray and gray and then this afternoon
the sun shone
dancing on the weird snow carvings.
bringing out some colors 
through my window.
next week is winter break.
i'm grateful.

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