Wednesday, October 24, 2018

sleet in the weather report

and winter approaches.
i hauled in milkweed
and chopped each stick into three or four pieces so they'd fit into my big pot
 for steaming. then began the interminable stripping
 and scraping
 the next morning a few tiny bits appeared in the sunshine.
there was a lot of pulp in my big pot.
and the leftover stalks which are slick and clean and so lovely.
i've now hand beaten all that pulp 
over 3 or 4 days, 3 or 4 hours daily 
Yes the hands were sore)
 and will make glorious paper soon.
upon coming home the other day i found
a narsty squirrel invaded my black walnut stash
ripped my screen door when pushing through a too small tear.
blacl walnuts were lined up in a row across my driveway 
and up the steps, where s/he stopped for snacks.
under the other big dyepot, 
a surprise
in the morning yard today
the light breaks through clouds
the old maples are shedding their varicolored leaves

pileated woodpecker, 
cock of the woods, 
called and flew over
and continued calling while scouting for a good place to feed
in the back meadow
where last week i harvested that huge bagfull of milkweed
light dances.

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.

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