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Friday, March 16, 2012

Finding Unexpected Joys

early morning surprises
It is exquisite and achingly beautiful just outside my window; full blown spring, temperatures in the 70's, sun full of vitamin D, bugs floating in shadows.  And here I sit determined to catch up with computer-paper.  I've totally given up on the taxes and sales taxes and requests for information I didn't even know I possessed. That's Not a surprise!

A real surprise came from a wonderful friend on Lopez Island, Christie Carter  who has passed on a blogging award - The Liebster Award!  Of it she writes... "in the spirit of fostering new connections, the idea of the Liebster Award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers.  Just a few rules for the recipient which come with acceptance of the award:

*Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. (check)
*Copy & paste the award onto your blog.(check)
*Reveal your own five picks for the award & let them know by leaving them a comment on their blog.(check)
* Have faith that the love will spread...(future check)"

She also wrote that I did need to write more often.  She probably knows I need constant encouragement and treats to do so!

So here are my picks for passing on the Liebster Award:

Elis Vermeulan - who writes about and photographs her work building global burrows of wool and is included in my list of fabulous women with whom I won't mind being stranded on an island.
Mendy Knott - Writer and poet extraordinare now sending out wisdom and encouragement from the Ozark Mountains.
leigh Wilkerson - Changing the earth/dirt one garden at a time.
Jane Dunnewold -  Smart, wise, fabulous artist and has a great tattoo.

Now some of these blogs are slightly over the 200 follower limit and that is most likely due to my slug-like behavior of not posting this blog months ago when Christie sent me the award. But there you are. And here I am for the rest of the day...

the dye studio
the resist work
the book studio

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back In The Saddle Again

Taking a break at Art & Soul - Virginia.
Morning Loyal Blog Readers.  I have been writing and rewriting this blog page totally in my head for weeks - editing in my head, laughing uproariously at my clever turn of word; framing photos for the most wow response, but now it all comes down to sitting here, cold feet and all, poking at these dern computer keys to make the words and thoughts sit on this computer screen - and stay there!  I simply cannot wait for the computer thingy that plugs into my head so the thoughts and words automatically come tumbling out all over this page.  May I live so long - may I remember as well.

A lot has happened since the last post in January.  Spring has come to North Carolina and flowering trees are almost at their fabulous peak.  I am getting sunshine and vitamin D in my body finally and all past rantings and manifestos are fading from my frontal lobe.  I've decided not to follow through with my application to join the Navy Seal Secret Ops Intelligence Section 6.  Mostly because I am not that all intelligent and can't remember three words in a row for the life of me.  I also realized in a startling flash of understanding that the Navy Seals would not be all that interested in a 62 old woman who has a great fear of water and can't swim - and is deathly afraid of most bugs.  I know that if I were captured by the bad guys and tortured for all my spy-type knowledge, all they would have to do is bring in a bottle of Stink Bugs and I'd talk their ears off.

I have been walking every day but telling everyone that I am really running.  I have all the runner's clothing down pat except for the lumps in my pockets where I store extra dates, oranges and kleenex for emergencies. I use an iphone app called i map my fitness that uses GPS to figure out how far I've gone. In January I started puffing around the park at around a mile or so a day, aiming for an end of the year grand total of 500 miles.  Currently I am walking 4 miles/day with two blocks of honest-to-god-running tossed in (if I have eaten all my dates and oranges).  Asheville has a fabulous organization called Riverlink which promotes awareness of the rivers that run through this area, especially the French Broad River.  Right now there are about 7 miles of connected walkways right along the river and that is where I can be found most afternoons, smelling the change of the season, avoiding dog noses and wearing old marathon t-shirts found at Good Will.
I figured I would spend the walking time thinking artistic thoughts about current and future projects but then I was introduced to Pandora radio on my iphone and figured out how to plug the ear buds into my ears without rupturing anything.
'Bookshelf' of books and bindings learned in D. Essig's class.

NEW BINDING NEWS:  In late January I took a class at John C Campbell Folk School with revered book binding teacher Dan Essig. 
There is something so invigorating for a teacher like me to be able to take a class and be totally free of all teaching mindset - the schedule, timing, supplies, etc.  I soaked up new book bindings like, well, a sponge in hot coffee!  My mind was full of "what ifs" and "let's try...".  I brought a box of old fabric samples from my Indigo dyeing and potato starch printing days and I worked and thought on a new book class idea using all textiles.

Cover of the mica book with a hinged binding.
 This is the interior of the mica covered "Indigo" book.  Three different types of mica are used to encapsulate my old indigo shibori samples.  Gold toned composite mica pages have windows cut out and replaced with clear 'real' mica. The pages are "drummed" - glued back to back.

We did another mica book, this with mica pages encapsulating fabric samples I did with potato dextrin years ago.  The binding I am in LOVE with -  a slotted long stitch with covered kettle stitches on either end. (at least that's what my notes say)
On the left is the inside of the potato dextrin print book. Dan showed us how to rub acrylic paints into the cracks of the mica.

The orange leather (sourced from the Tuesday Flea Market in Murphy, NC) book was my version of the class sample of the above slotted long stitch.
I tried to make my own versions of all the books Dan had us make in class (the class title was "A Book A Day") so I would remember how to do the bindings.  At this point, two months later, I find I am having trouble remembering how to put these photos on this blog!!  However there is something that kicks in as soon as I pick up the needle and waxed linen and have piles of neatly folded signatures on one side of me and a giant pile of reference books and notes on the other.

 One of my favorite book we did which I am going to work into the textile book class was my version of a two needle coptic bound book.  The signatures are sewn onto a concertina folded spine guard.  In the original class sample the concertina was folded of paper, in my version I used a length of rather coarse linen from Holland.  The bookcloth is walnut dyed recycled linen.
The esteemed Book Binding teacher Dan Essig worshiping my little collection of finished books.  (Actually he is just taking a photo and will probably blacklist me from any future classes if he reads this.)
The biggest problem with having a bog and being a slug is that there is so much more I want to write about including a lovely blog award passed on by dear Chrissie Carter up in Lopez island.  So I will write tomorrow with hopes that something extraordinary will happen to me on the 'running' path this afternoon.