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Perseverance

14 Jun

This morning, in the early hours, I walked around and through the flowers–again overwhelmed by  volunteers–the plants that keep giving and giving.  Reappearing each year through no effort of my own.  From perennials to the self-seeding annuals– zinnias, marigolds, purple basil, cleome and others.

I was thinking “you know, they don’t have to do this,” this constant yearly rebirthing of beauty.  They don’t have to keep giving–making the world a more welcoming place.  But they do.  And their will to just stand, to keep on keeping on humbles me.  The cleome seed, small as a drop of pepper, that landed in a crack on the pavement?–what were the odds that it could germinate and push through the hard non-yielding environment that surrounded it?IMG_3753

But it did and I, who am often prone to silently mourning the condition of the world, sensed a small glimmer of hope witnessing this true grit.  Truly humbled by this manifestation of perserverance.

As this hickory, unconcerned that its back is up against a wall stands steadfast in its will to “be.” To prevail. Manifesting a life force that cannot be denied.

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I must hold on to this truism–this  sense of both hope and perseverance. Must wrap my arms around its trunk and daily reaffirm that the morass of our culture–of the world’s culture–is not permanent. Will fall by the wayside long before nature’s steadfastness diminishes.

For me, eco printing honors this spirit.

 

 

 

 

“We Were Made For These Times”

10 Jun

As happens so often, the universe provides exactly what is needed at the exact moment of utmost need–and this is from a post in another forum by Katherine Benner, a wonderful fiber artist!

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

A Tannin Source in the Dye Garden

7 Jun

When we moved to our current location, we faced a hard decision–whether or not to remove a Bradford Pear tree growing very close to the house.  There was some roof damage already because part of it had broken during a wind frenzy and had fallen on the house.  I knew nothing about the history of this tree (it’s a non-native invasive, cross-pollinating bugger) but hated the idea of cutting it down.  Nevertheless we did. And once it was gone, the space around it seemed to be a good place for my dye garden.

But I didn’t think about the tree roots–which of course are everywhere.  Nor did I factor in the life force of these roots and their will to live.  In the past I’ve just plucked off the new shoots and thrown them into the compost pile.  But a few days ago I thought I’d experiment with them.  Boiled up a batch in an aluminum pot, soaked a piece of silk in the bath overnight and was happy to see a salmon/peachy color the next day.  I took this one step further and dipped the piece in iron water and within a matter of minutes the silk was dark gray.  (Had only wanted to test half of the sample but the iron water migrated almost to the very end.)

The brew, the color sample dipped in iron water and now a brownish grew, and a scarf dyed with the brew but without an iron dip.  Happy to find a purpose for this tree that wants to keep giving!

 

And the dye garden where the tree still wants to be?  Now some pretty weld–
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And the woad gone to seed.  (Didn’t realize the image was so blurry.)

 

And here, if you look closely, you’ll see wanna-be Bradford Pear sprouting up in the coreopsis patch.

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An Evolving Journey….

5 Jun

Just pictures today of an evolving journey into the mysteries and wonder of facilitating the process of leaves conversing with cloth.  This one, geraniums and sappanwood.

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And this–a wild violet bursting with earth energy.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little This a Little That….

31 May

I love soup.  In fact, my favorite is Thursday night soup–soup made from leftovers of the week, all thrown together into a pot and seasoned accordingly–maybe with cumin, but always garlic and onion.  Usually it turns out pretty good.  Sometimes it’s horrible.

Eco printing, for me, is kinda like that soup.  A little this, a little that, and sometimes the combination is divine.  Of course, sometimes it’s not…absolutely not…unsalvage-ably bad.  Those duds aren’t happening with quite the regularity they once did.  For one thing I’ve finally started making notes of a sort.  And I’ve finally begun sampling as well.  These two practices have helped me avoid a lot of pitfalls, but the duds still happen, just less frequently.

There’s something else I’ve noticed about my eco prints.  Sometimes I really want order.  Geometric repetition.  Sometimes I want chaos.  Often I go for monochromatic results but more often than not I’m craving color.  Today’s scarves fall into this latter category–controlled chaos and a lot of color.  Wednesday soup de jour.

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One Person’s Trash….etc.

29 May

I’m drawn to discarded stuff. Not garbage exactly–but things that can maybe be reused or have some sort of intrinsic value–to me at least. This holds true for most areas of my life. For example, I don’t buy new clothes but I do upcycle/recycle old one–the discards of other’s–or I rework my own.

And this brings me to the subject of this post, which on the surface appears to be a logwood scarf printed with buckeye leaves.IMG_3524

But actually, I’m just as interested in the location of the buckeye tree itself as it sits on one of my favorite foraging lots–an urban “pit of despair”–littered with broken  bottles, an old orange sofa, poison ivy and the detritus of years of haphazard littering.  But looking a bit closer, it’s also a rich and varied ecosystem.  Tons of dock, bitter lettuce, sumac, black walnut, tree of heaven and other plants I’m beginning to identify.  In fact, yesterday when I arrived I found three bright orange California poppies begging for acknowledgment.  And though I’m loathe to pick something still attached to the earth, I did pick these three. Mainly because they were leaning so precariously into the traffic of a very busy urban thoroughfare that it’s a wonder I didn’t loose my butt bending over to pick them.

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