Monday, July 30, 2018


there's this quote 
that found me this week.
about spirituality. but
but i say, it's about creativity, too.
it's about the thing
that wakes you up (past the murky-sludgy stage if you're like me)
and says 
"LOOK goddammit"
and get out the stuff and make that thought.
word made flesh.
thought made materiality.
maybe the language of spirit isn't far from the language of making.
Authentic spirituality is revolutionary. It does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it shatters it. And it does not render the self content, it renders it undone. 
Ken Wilber
so, I've been working on several things this while,
~ the madder dyeing
~ a couple botanical contact prints for my indigo shifu
~ tending a new small garden at the new place
~ finishing the cleanup and label of ALL the fiber
~ finding yarns for my new pipe loom
~ sorting cloth for Zone 4, 
my own work, 
and my fall papermaking class at SLU
~ i'm going to Vancouver to Maiwa to take the
five day dye workshop.

 i want to have a more methodological dye experience,
to have a deeper understanding of the basics and then more,
something i never had, 
except with chemical dyes.
in the mid 70's.
this week's red daylily flowers
prompted the first quarter sheet contact prints in quite a long time. 
 i got out my camera
(after realizing that my little red one has some lens damage)
 and took a few photos of the garden
after i removed it.
the working metal 
and the newly dyed papers 
being rinsed
and then drying. 
i tried hard to adjust the color
and just achieved more weirdness
there was a lot of green. 
here the four are in blotters, under weighs 
 and dried, they look more like this
 the exhaust dyebaths from my 35 year old madder
yielded some lovely pastels
on linen cloths
 and on silk
 this is the rest of the madder
the first dyebath yielded the deep rose 
and then the oranges 
and then the cloths
and finally the above bits.
 i mordanted with alum and cream of tarter
and here are different fibers
both cellulose and protein
the big skein on the left is a darker rose.
how do real photographers get their colors right??? 
the last five red daylilies as i begin a bundle.
If you see some wonky spacing here,
blogger seems to be struggling lately and sending up weirdness each time i post.
of course today, monday,
i have errands-a broken vacuum
-my right rear tire picked up a 1.5 " finishing nail
and had embedded it.
yes, my second set of new tires this year
and the same spot, though different tire as the one that had
three nails simultaneously in it last year.
and it's the one that had been replaced because of that.
apparently i ride on back roads in the country
where people haul around their waste

Monday, July 23, 2018

gift of time

during this gift of time that i gave myself
avoiding traveling and instead doing some necessary things
i've cleaned. 
cleaned out the intensely untidy
and overstuffed closet in my studio.
which has lead to other things
as many cleaning projects do,
the bookshelves that hold equipment,
the unders- and overs- that also stashed "supplies"
mostly fiber in the form of
raw or prepared fiber
i found this little bag of madder root
that i bought from Trudy Van Stralen
the author of Indigo, Madder and Marigold
owner of Hilltop Wools
back in the 80's when I worked (briefly) for her. 
Trudy died in 2015, 
her business lives on run by her son, i believe.

i soaked them overnight or so 
and then cut them up a bit and then soaked more
 and cut them up again
nothing was longer than 1/2 inch by the time i was done, 
 i could have chopped them in the blender but i was tired of this work
and besides, i wanted to dye.
i'm not sure but i don't think i've ever done my very own madder dyepot.
i was once told by a *famous* (unnamed) dyer that madder goes bad after a while.
so i sent my newer bag off to a friend with good wishes for her to use it.
so in the ethers both tim mclaughlin and sarah swett recently became enamoured with madder.
i indulged myself after finding this old bag of 250 grams of madder.
i cooked on low heat, well under boiling, 
but i don't have a thermometer 
(well, i do, but can i find it?)
but it was a lovely color blood orange sanpellegrino 
stained the paint strainer bag
one little swath of kozo i just dipped in for a bit
part of my quest was to find fiber to dye so i can use my new tapestry pipe loom
with wool 
before i try the other stuff 
(do it proper first, gurl)
it was really almost red, 
but has oranged out some now.
meanwhile this was happening in the dining room 
while i unburdened all the containers, 
closet from hell, 
under the tables and etc.
there is an abundance that i wish i could be 
somewhat unburdened of.
this closet under the stairs is actually organized now.
this is the next big step after the fiber--
much fiber went to places--
the paper mills at home and at school,
some to recycle,
some to compost.
that box of bottles under my studio table is 40 years old
each bottle a lichen vat dye.
gifted to me by jean reynolds from cranberry lake.
in about 1980.
and my lovely partner has made a wagon from our trees he
marked for harvest
cut and hauled last winter. 
the sawyer came and made the boards
and it's now been screwed into a usable and "free" wagon.
a huge accomplishment.
home work
the best work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

(t)here and back again

 i received two men's robes
both cotton indigo that my friend found in japan
 i promptly washed them.
the lined one had accumulated years of dirt and dust which 
i washed once 
and rinsed at least a dozen times.
 both pieces dried on a very  hot day in a very 
short time.
are scented now with north country summer
not dust.

 the ikat patterning on the lined piece
 and the lining
 the chimney brick with the lichen patterning sits in the sun
it has become the perch of some bird--lots of what we as kids used to call bird-do 
but still color that inspires me.
 i have been making some contact prints with the square flax sheets
and cloth, this is old cotton 
 here you can see a flax square
and the red daylily spent blossoms.
  the flax square still wet
 concrete steps are the perfect background, if narrow.

 and i made some more linen paper.


a.  plain raw flax paper                                           b. linen fabric, my sister's pants by Flax
c.  two sheets of the above with fabric inclusion    d. linen paper (made solely from above 
 i decided to travel to maine
and then i undecided
 and took a happy walk yesterday evening
 overlooked by luna
 below that sky was the july harvest baled for the neighbor's cattle.
first time i ever remember it being cut almost on time.
evening shadows.

 two pair of little ruby throated hummingbirds played at the feeders 
this morning. 

 i'm wearing cotton socks on my feet today, 
celebrating happy respite from the humid heat.
over on fb i found a photo of two of my favorite australians
that i just had to share.
colleen and brian
collen of the astonishing hair, brian enwrapped in a hat and scarf,
probably needled by colleen.
and the title above? 
i was going to maine today.
but i decided not to. i love my maine family
i wanted to see them and 
see the ocean and
visit the arctic museum
i wanted to stay home, 
with the round bales and the hummingbirds
and the cresent moon
and the blessed cool weather, more.
i am off to make more prints and paper
and hang out my laundry and go to town
to resume mail delivery.
i'm home for a while.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

tapestry changes

for many years the only weaving besides darning socks  i did was tapestry.
they were small,
less than seven inches in any dimension, most about three square inches.
i wove many one of a couple  little canvas stretcher frames
or sometimes on warp wrapped round a book.
i made dozens and dozens.
at first they sold for $35.
i used all kinds of weft yarns
everything from quiviut to raw flax.
and much wool and dmc embroidery floss.
i also made igolochkoys with a tiny punch needle
with silk and cotton thread which allowed
for imagery that was more complicated than my fairly thick warps allowed me to make.
i didn't make so many of these.
they often had animals on them,
celebrating my other passion,
the animals filling up my now fallingdownbarn.
every single one of these except the ones my dog Tater chewed on
is somewhere else, not in my possession.
the tapestry thread basket is still here
then came a period when i was studying shifu and making kami-ito
and books for my papers and stories and poems
and i wanted to make shifu books.
of course.
i was trying to make fringe-free discreet pages.
i was driving my subaru one summer when it came to me
(i know it was summer because i remember my bare legs under the steering wheel)
make a loom that is just warp and weft at once.
and is plain weave.
which is what tapestry is, except tapestry is scrunched together,
weft beaten down to completely cover the warp
but it's still plain weave.
anyway, make a loom--a stump loom.
                    side story: i later discovered that the amazing jim bassler
                    started making four selvedge pieces about when i did,
                    inspired by the same weavings. he wove with nettle, i with paper.
i went into the paper mill and found a 4 x 4 x 8 chunk left over from a deck project

i used in the paper press,
and very very carefully eyeballing,
and bearing in mind that i like odd numbers,
i hammered two parallel lines of small brads in the chunk of hemlock.
it's a tiny square, 17 brads in each side
and i took one long kami-ito thread and warped it and began weaving with a nice long needle.
well, my idea had been to make each unit or page with one piece of kami
but that proved too hard with this size
because of abrading the thread before I was complete with the weaving.
I later achieved this with goal a smaller stump loom that's now in the possession of a friend.
i've made more than dozens of shifu squares now. maybe hundreds.
pages for books.
little bags,
little stories,
patches on clothes,
a couple tsunobukuros
sometimes writing on the paper before it's spun
weaving in tales.
some dyed, some printed.
and now
in a return to those tapestry roots i guess
i'm taking an online class with sarah the magnificent
and her friend rebecca (also seemingly magnificent)
called fringeless.
i didn't know that this was coming when i told my PBI classes this history
more or less, you know how stories are,
and said that i really didn't want any fucking fringe.
i'd looked at old peruvian textiles trying to figure it all out
but i couldn't quite, but those ancient ones were calling to me
make it without fucking fringe.
or, as sarah says, fringeless. 
the side story: 
 my first weaving was fringeless.
pot holders.

one loop doesn't              
  count as fringe.
       my first tapestry was woven when i was 17.
  there was fringe. 
and beads,
and holes. 
    and linen! delicious linen.
     it was 1975 and i had a lot to learn.
      but i was smitten.
detail of how i solved the top fringe problem.
pretty clever for an untrained weaver.
this is my new pipe loom for fringeless,
the class
here she is with the warping jig taped in to see if it fits
i wonder where this will take me.
or if, 
in frustration because of computerese and my inability to understand it, 
i give up,
but i've constructed my loom, my jig, and have fly line.
i have yarn here, or if i need any i'll make it.
 since beginning this post,
and because i don't have the heart to do more right now,
one of the dogs you sometimes see here, the orange and white setter,
our friend Gwen, has died.
i'm sad, but it's ok.
she was a fine bird dog and a good companion, 
my partner's best friend.

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