Wednesday, April 17, 2019

moving after the divorce

i'm divorcing blogger because it's too hard to use
so here is my new residence:
wake robin at the square
i'm incapable of tolerating blogger's continuing issues.
come by and visit the new place.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

time and change in balance

i have put my name on a piece of paper~
a purchase agreement
selling my oldfarmhouse
and moving to the place i've been calling home, if all goes to plan.
this weekend, a warmer (relatively) night
the first night i've heard a welcome home timberdoodle
winging circles overhead.
also my first robin.
spring happenings hereabouts. 
here is my little beaver essay
a small black dot
 middle rear ground, just in front of the ice
moves left, becoming a log shape,
swims to center then left again
before coming close to me on the bridge, 
then swimming away.
not one tail smack, 
so this beaver wasn't worried about me.

and in the last photo it's heading towards me
standing on the bridge taking rotten quality phone photos

 this place moves me deeply
 and then i looked up!
 back down
 the next morning was cold and sunny

ice skirting streamside treetrunks
 i drive this road home to the farm
 where i found more springing
 and then a worm moon
 see the nest?
there's a ring around the moon
 and this is the best my little camera can do
hannah is moving me from blogger, with whom i have struggled
back to squarespace where my website lives
sometime this weekend.
fingers crossed i can adjust and we can converse on the blog
because blogger won't let me talk with you.

Monday, March 18, 2019

springing again

in march the sky is sometimes like this
though snow still covered the land 
(there's much less now,
only patches in shadyplaces)
 it's still pretty darn cold
 but spring is in the air
the deer are moving alot.
 one is hiding against this elevated deer hunting thing
at my neighbor's hedgerow.
 soon i'll be on my way to idaho 
for a talk and two days of kami-ito and shifu making
(see the last post)
i return and head to portland to peddle my wares at the book arts bazaar.
i'll have papers and books and prints.
and below,
these prints are really that strong. 
wild color gifts from the pot's alchemy,
even a few eucalyptus leaves harvested 
at codex.
 this little book that i carried home from melbourne that last time
is letterpress printed
(on lousy paper, unfortunately)
but it's cool 
and i'm wondering what would happen 
if i combined some of it with some other imagery...
this is how it begins...
another book.
 our bookish group met and we made little blizzards
all over my table
using up some drawings.
 a ruffed grouse was checking out the backyard 
 finding something left behind as the snow melts
 looking like the local name: partridge
 until there's something to attend to
 then the crown appears
and away with you!
no ruff display on this photo op.
there may be some news
but not just

Friday, March 8, 2019

more daylight

i just read someone's comment on facebook:
soon we'll have more daylight because of the time change.
haven't they been looking around?
even here, 
in this long harsh winter with little sunshine,
the days grow longer, 
even if they are snowy 
and windy 
or just really cold,
so cold,
 i turned back on my walk the other day.
that person needs to go outside.
[as if the human grid of time
has a way of shaping the arc of days.]
inside i've been making prints.
really fine colors, patterns
happily surprising me.
 looking out my windows midday in the 9 degree wind
i saw a very hungry youngster
braving my yard 
for cedar.
hoping for food, 
eschewing that scary road.
 glad i dropped some bits from the twigs i gathered for printing.
but it's not enough to make that belly warm.
keeping my hands busy, 
i spun up thread while waiting out the bitter winds.
i found a little of the leftover old lokta* to spin up.
here it is,
looking lovely in the early morning sun 

*thanks to my australian friends
karen and robyn

and as some of you might observe, 
i deleted the swear word.
it's not my call to condemn if folks don't pay attention to 
their days.
and it's hysterical that daylight fades their curtains
within a timeframe that only they
can understand. 
here, the sun fades things if and when it does.
not, i might add, the contact prints on paper
or not that i've observed.
not once. ever.

Monday, March 4, 2019

marching orders

i love march and november
for the way the landscape opens and you can see
really see 
the bones of the land.
here it means hard walking,
 in november risky hiking,
(hunting season).
in march it can be mud season
or, like now, a foot or so of good snow.
i haven't been on skis this winter
mostly an arthritis in my foot issue.
but i do get out a bit and tromp in my mighty sorels.
today i collected arbor vitae (white cedar) and fern fruiting bodies
for the prints i folded, built, wrapped and cooked this afternoon.
i cut up some paper for kami-ito.
in the mail came a couple of things, this:
 japanese indigo in a soft mattress of fine flax
ready for spinning
and socks.
and then naomi velasquez sent this tonight
because i'm headed to idaho to teach shifu
at the end of the month.
i'd love to meet you there!
in other news:
i have seed for the spring: 
indigo and flax.
oh joy,
oh rapture.
tomorrow my what is an image class meets 
to make paper...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

the miles

learning milkweed

i call it putting in 
the miles.
or hours
or reading 
(you know, the research) 
what i mean is 
doing the work.
i like teaching and i like watching 
students of all ages
"getting it"


and then it disappears.
and then it returns, more and more, till you know it.
a little.
i've had students a few times 
j u s t    n o t    g e t    i t.
usually those students have this:
s o m e t h i n g    i n    t h e    w a y.
and i've had students 
w o r k    t h r o u g h    i t.

case in point: 
long ago i had the great opportunity to teach beginning handspinning at
 pine mountain settlement school in kentucky. 
i was barely an intermediate spinner, despite having spun several pounds of fleece using spindles and wheels. i was told by a friend that i could teach beginners. 
i believed her, so tried it. 
well, it was amazing and all of them got it and i was so proud. 
except for one woman. 
her hands couldn't relax and allow the wheel to work. 
she fought the wool. 
backing up a bit: i learned to spin on my ashford traditional that i put together right out of the box...i spun in my ridiculously ugly apartment complete with green shag carpeting. 
and i pushed that three legged beast through the thick shag, that's how hard i treadled. 
but eventually i stopped chasing it across the floor and my hands began to learn the wheel, the wool, harmonize their particular tune. back to pine mountain: she failed, tried a few times, then refused to try, and left the class. i was mortified: i'd failed her. i knew i was young to be teaching and therefore couldn't figure it out. 
again, the same thing happened. 

teaching shifu to a beginner group. this time i was older, a longtime teacher. 
she sat close to me, 
eventually disclosing some difficult personal issues, 
and could only work for a few hours each day. 
her issues, that baggage, clogged up the capacity to learn. 
those paths were being used by other demanding things. 
she tried, but she couldn't, her hands hard and stifled.
i wrote about how making shifu has helped some of my students 
with healing, processing their own personal stuff 
in Hand Papermaking (summer 2016).
 it's not always a big processing that's going on. 
sometimes it's just daily detritus in the way.
(the "you need to walk" or "do the dishes", or "ride your horse") 
which is why you put in the miles.
waiting for the bigger ideas that come along when they please.
meanwhile you

practice. practice. practice.

i talked about this with a friend sunday, at my table, drinking tea, 
sharing ideas and our lives. 

practice. practice. practice.

being present, too.
with practiced skilled hands head heart.

as i teach young students i mourn some of the things 
those in education have chosen to leave behind,
 things like sewing, measuring, drawing, choosing and understanding tools. 
hand skills. 
determination. focus.
empowering another person, 
teaching them how to approach problem solving, 
how to attempt, 
how to succeed, how to fail 
and try again
or adapt.

in the last two years i've made a lot of paper, 
much of it from raw flax, 
but some from linen rag (retired clothing). 
i went to pbi and took an amazing busy class 
with flax expert mary hark, 
and i continue to put that new learning into practice. 
in two years what i know is a bit about how raw flax becomes paper. 
by hand.
i know a bit. 
and that's the truth. 
i haven't hurt my body doing this or bankrupted myself, 
but i have worked hard and continually at it. 
and now i know something about flax papermaking 
(and a bit about using it, 
how it behaves)

this format, the internet, makes it easy to think that mastery, 
or even competency is easy. 
it could be. 
i say it isn't. 
not at all.
i belong to a few forums 
and the ridiculous questions people ask instead of 
trying things themselves or reading or practicing or understanding
 bother the heck out of me. 
because to be a maker, to be adept, to be skilled, 
you have to 
and every single one is, may i propose, 
your own sacred.
and owned.
none of us have to be the best, the smartest, 
the whatever we were measured against.
we do have to do our work well.
and with a few other qualities that you already know
or will learn.

i'll be teaching North Country Shifu in Pocatello, Idaho 
at the end of march.
i'm looking forward to making string again.

my slu freshmen are keeping me busy
with a class called what is an image?
 together we'll find out 
a little bit about 
that very question.

still learning milkweed

Friday, February 15, 2019

all stitched up

All Stitched Up deadlines coming up:
Stitch + book = 

All Stitched Up 

An international juried book arts exhibition 
September 3rd – December 11th, 2019
Collins Memorial Library University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
Call for Submissions
All Stitched Up is asking for submissions of artists’ books from around the globe where stitching is a featured element. They may be visible stitches for the binding, text, or images, or any technique that leaves evidence of stitches. Artists’ books may be from an edition or unique, and created from any medium. There is a $10 submission fee for up to 3 works.
To stitch is to join together, to mend, or fasten as with stitches – to sew. To stitch is to bring together fabric, paper, wounds of the body, or cultural divides. Stitching can be an act of healing, hope, practicality, creativity, and revolution. All Stitched Up recognizes and celebrates the work of book artists’ where stitching has become an integral part of the visual design. Curators Catherine Alice Michaelis, Jane A. Carlin, and Diana Weymar will jury the show and a print catalogue will be created.
We are particularly (but not solely) interested in works that showcase collaboration and focus on building a sense of shared community. That may include collaboration between two or more artists, two or more communities, or crowd-sourced projects. Sewing that joins people and ideas link us to historical social and political sewing circles from the abolitionist movement of the 1800s, to the corporate resistant DIY movement kindled by the Riots Grrrls in the 1990s, to the knitting collectives of today that focus on the anti-war, pro-science, and pro-choice movements. In addition, you may draw inspiration from the embroidered books of the Victorian period, the rise of needlecrafts during the Arts & Crafts period, and family traditions of sewing by machine or hand stitching.
This exhibition will include pages from Diana Weymar’s Interwoven Stories project. This includes Refashioning Identity, which was created by members of the Puget Sound community in 2016/17 as facilitated by Weymar.

here's the url:

Thursday, February 14, 2019


 I believe that the world was created and approved by love, 
that it subsists, 
and endures by love, 
and that, 
insofar as it is redeemable,
 it can be redeemed only by love.
Wendell Berry

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