Wednesday, October 25, 2017

talking with a coyote

yesterday was another weirdly warm day,
 too warm for jeans.
after supper while i was doing some fabric reclamation 
picking some really bad embroidery out of a piece of linen
to make paper with.
i heard them,
the coyote family i've been paying attention to all year.
i went out on my porch to listen, marveling at the warm evening
(and still pissed off about picking up a tick in it
in my YARD)
the family was spread out, some responding from pretty far off and then one howled
just across the road in the brush by my neighbors house, a young one!
then it barked. barked again. so i barked. quiet, then another bark. i barked.
and an exchange ensued, coyote kid and crone in training barking. 
i don't speak coyote, but i have been listening all year,
and i've never heard a single coyote bark for so long,
responding to my cadence and short barks,
so i know there was reciprocation. 
i finally stopped, afraid that that one's curiosity might tempt it across the road
which would not be good. 
my heart sang, or rather barked, all night long.
two books are brewing
a loom book and a landscape book.
loom book dummy:
it's blurry, but:

                                    and now to build a bigger and better loom book
                                              and see what my needle weaves.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


the phrase i woke up thinking of this morning
was this:
"it's not enough to physik a jay bird"
something my folks used to say.
they had many lovely mountain sayings that i've mostly forgotten.
i found several of the tiny things that were in the soil of this pot

shells, pebbles
knocked onto the porch one day.
and on another day i also found this one's
been in the poor old hibiscus.
my jaybird must be looking for a physik.
as i continue making paper from what's been given me,
small batches that keep me happy
and prompt book ideas,
from rag:
white-cotton/linen shirt
lavender-patagonia hemp skirt
green-cotton off cuts in many green tones from st armand 
and an accordion booklet beginning here is now complete.
flax paper
tow linen threads (20)
a few tiny greasy yellow beads
 how many times (at least 10) do i have to rinse
black walnut dyed cotton woven tape
before i can let it dry?

 and here it is on a lokta shifu square
 on the walk hunting season has begun
which makes me pay attention.
 this large doe isn't too worried. yet.
milkweed pods are splitting
after the first hard frost this week.
 red maples dance
but autumn color is late and subdued
in this strange long warm autumn.
the ticks became active after the frost.

the traffic on my walk 
 expells exhaust that doesn't make me choke.
 i need to get 
my milkweed harvest stripped and cooked
this is last years harvest
perfect for a mouse or a bird's nest.
that big bag of stalks that's waiting needs my attention
before it's so retted that 
only the birds will use it
though that is a noble use.
on this walk i was happily reminded to get to that chore soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


it's milkweed harvest season.
the monarchs are all done
and in my 25 acre grown up meadow
amongst the head high and higher goldenrod and brambly blackraspberry
i strove for an hour and a half harvesting
asclepia, milkweed.
it's between green and field retting time,
the leaves are gold or gone,
and only a little milk left.
the bast fiber  in the stalks is what i'm after, 
and the few pods left 
will provide me with seed fiber
all this fiber is for making paper later this fall.
i can't even begin to describe how jungly that meadow is.
much grown up to baby trees or bushes
but the goldenrod! over my head!
and the warm october meant that the thankfully tick free toil
was some of the hardest work i've done in a long time.
the result was a huge heavy plastic bag of potential.

 i always make a little twine for fun
thankful that i don't have to make all the string i use in a year.
 on my stove is a big pot
full of the black walnut harvest from two trees in town
in dye form.
(i only took some, the squirrels got most).
i've already dyed paper and cotton and silk and maybe some wool in it.
but i put in woven cotton tape a couple weeks ago.
it's cooked, steeped, cooked, steeped, fermented a bit
and the tape isn't dark enough yet.
but it will get there.

skein of twill woven cotton tape, dried

the last reveal included a fruity growth
see those beady bubbles
looking like amber treasure. 
 and some spores...
this layer went right into the garden
before i removed the skein.
my friend told me this summer
that if i was born 200 years ago i'd have been 
accused of witchcraft.
perhaps he's right. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017


i'm a northerner,
have lived next to the canadian border most of my life
and have had a longing to go north.
further up.
way north.
i like the artifacts of the north, the tools, the clothing, the elegance of making 
with very few resources.
yesterday my partner came by
with a surprise for me.
he said, 
"i bought you a kayak".
i couldn't see one, 
but thought maybe he'd left it and we'd go pick it up.
he opened the hatch and instead 
it was in the forester
this elegant model
made for tourists for sure,
and why not?
i love this long, slim boat
and all the details.
i was messing with photo correcting stuff 
(apologies for the poor first photo)
and this happened: 
also this busy, warm week
i've arranged to have a roof put on my house,
and gotten this in the mail.
the wonderful folks at Solva 
sent it
signed, no  less!
this is a book to cherish
and if you're lucky
to remember the rich
along with the golden 
even as a child,
i remember loving certain books.
almost unbearably.
this would have been one of them.
back on the ground,
here at zone 4
some of the last batch of paper i made finally dried.
white from Yoyo's Awagami kozo,
colored with earth pigments
including indigo from Maiwa
(and a little more kami-ito and shifu.)
i feel like i'm beginning to understand how these earth pigments
work with flax, hemp, kozo.

Monday, October 2, 2017

first of october

an email exchange with jane ploughman
resulted in a wonderful visit.
she and john vincent visited the peace paper exhibition
just down the hall from zone 4.
jane and john know drew and jana of peace paper, 
and of course the combat papermakers,
 john's vermont based Revolutionary Press 
helps support social activism and justice endeavors 
in the paper and book arts world. 
jane and john met me at slu 
and they viewed the three galleries celebrating the  
work of drew matott with combat, peace, and st pauli  paper.
jane made the little piece of garlic paper with suminagashi above,
and john printed this small broadside
and the card below. three special gifts i really like!
jane brought two of her fine artists' books to show me as well.
i told jane and john to find me by following the sound of the beater
which i had switched off by the time they came looking.
but find me they did, and we had a lovely long talk
as paper and book people can!
they know hannah from her work at northeast harbor library.
the woven web.
our book arts students displayed their first books,
nine students, 
working in concertina, tunnel, origami structures
and following their concept of line.
learning where a line will meander
and how.

i emailed stephen dairing in australia
in order to get a few more skeins of this lovely stuff
bark with which i'm making vessels for shifu books.

 saturday we went to paul smith's college VIC
to enjoy harvest/homestead demos.
i love seeing young women competing equally with their male student peers.

this competition, 
where two woodcutters split the log they are standing on
always unsettles me.
they hoist the axe high overhead
and gouge out wedges of wood between their feet
with precision and accuracy 
(or else!)
and the first one done wins.
they are so vigorous that often the whole 'structure' moves 
backwards with the force of their swings.
at home
this is the outlet of our pond
yesterday morning 
after the frost surprised us.
the weather has turned and now it's fall.
and then this:
found on my garage door.
how long has it been

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