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Mark-Making

2 Jun

We’ve been doing it forever.  “It” being the compulsion to record life and events in one way or another.  From cave drawings to tattoos, from petroglyphs to virtual signage, mark-making has reflected both the presence as well as the exploits of humans.

It has occurred to me that eco printing is another form of mark making.  On the surface, printing with leaves may appear to only reflect variety of species.  Or a season in the cycle of nature.  Eco printing may appear to only record minutiae as unimportant–perhaps– as the position of a particular leaf on a particular tree.   Or  more important details such as drought.  Flooding.  Quality of soil.  Weather patterns.  But in fact, prints embody these things and much more.

Below are details of prints completed yesterday.  They hold within their beauty a profound and bitter-sweet sadness.  They mark the day Trump decided it was better to get a good “deal” than to defend the environment.  And not only did he withdraw from the Paris (not Pittsburgh) Accords, but he did so on the back of many flagrant and bold-faced lies spun to defend his decision.

So yes, I will remember yesterday–I’ll remember what happened the day these marks were made.  But most importantly I’ll remember the “old saw”–that some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sacred Hoop: prayer flag #2

26 Jan

I guess I’ll do this until frustration with the mechanics of blog-world once more drives me nuts. In six short months I have forgotten every THING I knew about WordPress. What should have been a quick download of this morning’s eco dyed prayer flag has taken almost an hour. Beginning with i-pad pic, getting it off the i-pad to the desktop, dealing with the google drive, wordpress not recognizing the google drive, downloaded a pic and now cannot insert text above it. Deleted pics, inserted text first then again the pics. Now can’t figure out why photos in preview mode won’t give me that little hand-finger icon so they can be enlarged.

And wondering all the while–“why am I doing this?” and really–I don’t have a good answer. But I will continue making these prayer flags–messages on the wind, sending out concerns, hopes and prayers trusting they’ll be carried where they may help some thing in some way.

Listen Grandfather Where I Stand

Hey-a-a-hay! Lean to hear my feeble voice.

At the center of the sacred hoop,

you have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,

with running eyes I must say….

The tree has never bloomed.

Here I stand, and the tree is withered.

Again I recall the great vision you gave me.

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives….

Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds!

Hear me, that the people may once again go back to the sacred hoop,
find the good road, and the shielding tree.

~Black Elk

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Lessons in Dy(e)ing

1 Apr

I love saying this —dyeing. Because, well because it lends itself to a wonderful play-on-words. Dyeing. Dying. Love that both are so illustrative of transformation. Both so potentially beautiful. And I also appreciate that with each, intention is required to achieve the results I see in my mind’s eye. Intention and discipline.

I’ve played around this week with dyeing rope bowls. Dyeing rope wrapped in white cotton and also dyeing rope bowls without a fabric cover. Madder, alkanet and indigo are the three dye baths I’ve managed to concoct. I don’t know what to think about the bowls. Not sure it’s a good medium for this experimentation.

Anyway, these are the bowls to date. The purple is alkanet, orange is madder, and indigo is the lighter blue. The navy blue is indigo overdyed with alkanet.bowls1

alkanet

aim

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madder

Looking at the last two images, and this one (commercial cloth commercial dye)frond

reminds me of another aspect of this process I LOVE. Being able to see this initial spiral each and every time a bowl begins. And then following it until the rope runs out. Complete.DSC02532

Possum, Turnips and Spirit of the Garden

30 May

In the garden. Before sun up. With dog companions. In an early-morning-green trance, shortlived that it was. During the night a possum found the cantaloupe in the havaheart trap. And there possum sat–in the trap–and the dogs were totally in freaked-out-by-possum mode. So. Back inside with the dogs. Brief google on possum. No reason to move him…just needed to open the door. He was hissing and baring teeth and sitting on the mechanism that kept the door open so I had to find a branch to string through the trap to keep the door ajar. And then it wouldn’t leave. Didn’t exactly belly up, just reticent to move…

And later, picking turnips for tonight’s dinner–
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Turnips and greens, vidalia onion, and sweet potato–baking in the oven in one of those clay Romertopf pots–a thrift store score from years back.

And while the possum drama was unfolding, spirit of the garden emerged –so here it is, awaiting stitching.

spirit of the garden

And another. Unsual for two cloths to step forward in one day. But this one, I think an earth guardian, witnessing the stormy weather–
thunder and rain.

earth cloth

Essential things

24 May

OK. This cloth, the spring garden cloth, stalled out ever so briefly and then asked for what is essential to a garden. Wind and air. Rain and water. Sunlight. Earth. Soil. Sky.

spring garden

Expressing Essence

21 May

logan
I pick up boy-in-purple-shirt after school. Observe completion of homework. Listen to his interpretation of the day. Sometimes offer opinions, but not very often. He’s finding his own way through it all.

There are challenges to this routine. I question–should a first grader have homework? And if so…should it be done right after school? Or later? After play? But we’ve fallen into this routine because it seems to work. “Later” doesn’t. His focus, which can be tentative at best, is near impossible to harness “later.” So.

I’m thinking about the beginning of the year…months ago…the learning-to-read process. A struggle. Math a different story. I remember thinking, “I wonder at what point I’ll be useless with the math component?” It won’t be long. But reading…well I can read. In fact I love to read…but accept that it’s not something everyone loves. Including this boy. He does it. He does it just fine. Now. But he’d rather be doing other things. I get it.

So the progression of reading material over this past year–from the early stuff–pretty boring — to Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series has been interesting to watch. And yesterday, the completion of a fantasy book about the Japanese poet, Basho. At the end, I asked if he’d like to try his hand at haiku. OK. I would transcribe. First effort was more of an epic tale. Shorten it a bit, I suggested. OK. A condensed version of the first. How about just pulling out the essential feeling you want to express? That resonated. So a haiku-of-sorts–
haiku

The words. Yes, a from-the-heart sentiment–essence distilled to a few words. But I also had the privilege of hearing the words spoken. Heard the love. Heard the sincerity. The honesty. So now it has me thinking about that …about essence, about distilling expression to the most basic common denominator.

The process of expressing through cloth seems similar to creating a haiku–with cloth substituting for words. But the challenge is the same. Distilling form to essence.

This green cloth, a sampler of many pieces of naturally dyed fabrics–earthy. And the intention– to capture the essence of the life force of the earth right now–the small patch of earth behind my house where a lovely garden vibrates with energy–
It started here:
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then changes–

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like the creation of a haiku–writing and re-writing–editing–paring down and re-doing–throwing away and starting over–pieces added, removed, rejected.
Still searching for truest way to depict the essence of something nearly indescribable.

The Influence of Season

18 May

I find I’m tired of my own words. Tired of their limitations. So for now, no words– just these images to remind me of how it all looked. How the earth smelled. How the soil felt in my hands. How the earth felt on my feet. How cloth responded in kind.

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