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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

scary business

being human is indeed scary business. 
there are joys, which i write about often.
there are, as nigel peake would call them, tiny adventures.
but when you get a telephone call from a tearful daughter that she's been in a bad accident.....................................................................................................................................................but she's ok and so is her guy.
well, it's life.
a small life,
it's what has rich meaning, but so does good work.
teaching and learning
however ephemeral.
in my thoughts lately are ink, color, dye, pulp, and dead leaves as sarah swett calls them:
and here is my very poor handwriting, an ink pen and Atramentum ink,
on very rough abaca waterleaf.
 here are my tools
my first pen from when i was around 10 years old 
given to me by my second sister Carol 
and a never used but old nib
and a brush i made from white tail deer, waxed linen, and a bone knitting needle.
 the brush was more than funky, but also fun.
 the ink delicious on rough waterleaf unbleached abaca paper

 a weaver's web
 and a morning gift on my step
 one leaf from the grandfather maple
made into a home for tent caterpillar babies next year.
 there are plenty of these here, 
so it's ok to look closely,
unlike the monarchs which won't tolerate my scrutiny.
 this book, Songbirds and Daylilies is in the Artists' Book Cornucopia IX show.
                                                    this page is pretty large,  
                                               and covered with a days musings, 
                                                             summer 2016.
so hannah will be ok, 
and her boyfriend as well.
her car will have to be replaced and life will skitter along in beauty and grief and ridiculousness and joy.
and, with luck no more read enders.

Friday, September 14, 2018

being there: Maiwa

 Maiwa was a watershed for me.
leaving Ottawa and arriving 'two' hours later in
vancouver surprised me, 
having three hours eaten by the time zones is a weird experience.
Linda (Washi Arts) picked me up and off we went to a seaside town closeby for lunch. 
found a weird skipper along the way.
 and then she took me to Granville Island, 
location of two of the three Maiwa Vancouver spots.
 notice the pedestrians...
 my air b&b was minimal
which was all i needed
(there were snacks, including bananas!) 
except the last night when the building's water got turned off...
and was a close walk to:
Granville Island
the buses
which I learned to use!
and then wednesday morning arrived, 
and so did I, early as usual.
above crows greeted and guided me
and inside there was treasure
some chemistry
 and dyestuff
 Elys, who drove me home several days, my table partner
and myself monitored our dyepots
first one: madder (yay yay yay)
we worked with simple math porportions to prep
then dye our samples.
 things to remember
and we started another dyepot
and another
and another
it was fantastic.
the repetition and wonder of it all
reinforced learning and remembering.
our final learning was indigo, three types of vats,
and then we did our own thing for a day.
 all samples were placed
in an orderly fashion for us to 
quietly and with concentration
take one from each.
two kinds of wool yarn here,
Sophena explaining how to arrange them for us to easily sort.
 and cloth, protein and cellulose,
wool, silk, rayon, hemp, cotton, linen 
 and there was indigo 
10 dips
 and personal exploration projects.
in front is Charllotte and behind Sophena
mother and daughter who work beautifully together.
not their first rodeo.
 the Maiwa staff was delightful and full of talent, 
and were always always there for the students.
Linda picked me up after class and took me to see town and eat supper.
 my wonderful hostess Linda Marshall
catching the pretties.
 we foraged for supper
and it was delicious!
returning home on a red eye flight, 
from 11:30 in Vancouver to 7ish in Montreal and
a 17 minute flight later to Ottawa, 
and then a drive home, 
a shower thankfully, 
and a meal 
and then back to school to teach my papermaking class just after noon...well, 
i did it. 
wednesday night i finally caught up on sleep-
12 hours, delicious!
sometimes it's difficult to write the words that will tell the tale.
i go on about the time traveling, 
the inconvenience and embarrassment of no apartment water,
the fun of a restaurant that calls itself by what i so naturally do,
but i can hardly capture
the personality of 16 students that constitute a well orchestrated class,
the noted and much appreciated kindness and courtesy of Canada,
of Vancouver,
and the wealth of knowledge 
freely shared for the love of the thing itself.
natural dye, fiber, good living, family.
how a community can thrive all exemplified 
in a small business that serves
as well as inspires.
i have not mentioned all the folks who inspired me, 
here are more:
Linda and Linda, Sachi, Tim, Liberty, the list continues
but here I'll stop. 
and I will end with this:
when I am inspired to be a better
I know I've been place in the right place at the right time.
Thank you Maiwa.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *