Finished Australia Pigments Book

Okay it is all stitched. Each folio of color coptic stitched to the next. I used a soft cotton loose thread made in France but purchased in Australia. It comes in lovely colors in the thread shops there and once you touch it and feel the softness, why not just buy it.

Anyway here is another view.

And another.

And now it is raising the question of “what next?”

So I am thinking that I will make another one the same size. The pages will be thai kozo but I will paint the dots representing travels through the country with watercolors made from the soils of my own home. Then I might just flip them through and/or around each other. Just thinking here.

This is the piece using those same watercolors that is going on display at the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Exhibition at the South Australia Museum in Adelaide starting this next week.

It was made by cutting the pages of Robert Hughes’ book, Fatal Shore into Eucalyptus leaf shapes, coloring with my watercolors made from Australian soils and then burning them to represent the effects of global warming on an already pretty warm country. This is a detail of them sitting in the dustbin.

And I still have more of those colors to use up.

On another topic, the window washers came on a dreary day yesterday and got the job done.

The tree man came as well and agrees that lots of this encroaching green needs to go.

Even these crepe myrtles are spurting branches way too high. Tree man says he will trim them all back come winter, but not now.

He starts tomorrow hacking and sawing and dragging the bits into the woods.

We just want to sit on the porch and not feel all this green is going to invade. This has been a very fertile season here in western North Carolina. Lots and lots of rain lately.

Til later.

Back in the Studio

I am back in the studio…even sleeping down here now. Lee needed his own bed and one time on that couch I could see why. So for now things are going good.

Stitching did not work on these small folios because the stitches had to be too far apart to keep the paper from tearing. In other words it was a dumb idea. So I got out my Japanese hole punch and picked the proportionately right size to make tracking marks on every one of the one hundred ninety-two folios. I was careful to make sure that no holes were punched in the fold.

Here are just the red ones.

The coptic bound book will start with this top one as it goes through all the colors of Australian soils that I have made over the years.

I am hoping that when all bound, the book will be hard to hold in my hands…..much like the memories and strong feelings for my time spent in that country.  Sort of thinking impossible to hold and always showing me something else as it flips about.

It took a while to do each page and then get the colors flowing nicely as they change from one section to another.

I think this is the order that they will be stitched. Probably a white thread but a soft green waxed linen might work better to support and not tear at the folds. After each page was painted I gave it a coating to help keep it strong. It was only a Thai kozo paper that I love working with.

Here is the punch with the color dots that I could not part with.

So they ended up here for now.

I am finalizing the trip back to Australia next year. I like getting the details all taken care of well ahead of time. Starting in Newcastle doing a workshop for Timeless Textiles in early March, then onto a few days in a Melbourne hotel for sightseeing. Catch the train to Halls Gap, stay on with friends when the workshop finishes, back toward Melbourne and Baldessin Press for those special few days of printmaking and book arts before catching the train down to Geelong to do a final workshop there in white line printmaking. All of this will take just under a month and I am so looking forward to being back in the midst of good times with good friends and super students.

Sadie is glad to see me back in the studio. She stacked a few stones from Australia. The two largest ones were given to me by an artist I met while staying at Baldessin Press last March. She had read my book and thought I should have some from her. Kim Evans is her name and her fantasy type drawings/paintings are simply stunning. Some are part of an exhibition going on now in Seattle.

Here is Kim’s view from her studio. Very lucky girl!

A beautiful wild parrot, a crimson rosella I think, flies into an open window of her studio to watch her work. Amazing and I was thrilled to be invited for dinner with Kim, her husband and another artist working at Baldessin Press before she was taking off to walk the Camino in Spain. Good times, good company, good memories.

And here is Sadie.

I think I will start stitching the folios tomorrow. It is a holiday weekend through Monday and Tuesday the window washers and a tree man come in the morning. Too much green too close to the house feels oppressive… some thinning is needed.

Later today I will have a single malt and visit with a good friend. For now I will return to Jon Meachum’s new book on “The Soul of America.” We survived McCarthyism before and he feels we can do it again. This time we have so much to clean up. The mess is getting worse each day with the selfish incompetency in government.

I sold this small boat after it came home from exhibition. It is going to a very good home to someone who really loves it. Can’t ask for more.

Til later when I get something done.

“Moving” Right Along

The bloom on the bromeliad from Mothers Day. A bright spot on the porch and in my day. I am stuck pretty much until foot surgery heals. AND I am trying not to be whiny. Another bright spot is the deer that come into the yard where Lee feeds them.

I counted fifteen this morning. Now the turkeys have come and gone. Just squirrels foraging now. I am hiding on the porch while the cleaning lady works her magic and a neighbor is hopefully making the latte he promised to bring over. So whining can sometimes be useful.

These and ice packs are also helping.

We reached a new low in cuisine last night. Microwave dinners!

Not too bad but totally devoid of anything other than a feel of hospital or prison food.

I can now drive with the good foot being the right one. And that means I do not have to rely on the walker to get around the kitchen. Lee can remember how to fry an egg….but how many of those do we want to eat?

I packed up some things to work on while upstairs and away from the studio. Some of it is going to require my hobbling downstairs to retrieve a tool or two. There is absolutely no way to describe where something is in my studio. Impossible for Lee and just about anyone else. So later today I will give it a try.

Some stitching was done on the dementia shawl. It is soothing to thread a needle and hold things together,

And besides that I am using the threads bought in Australia. Each time I traveled to a new location and could find a thread shop, I would buy them in all the colors of that place. Just so I would have them to help fix memories.

The art group met here the other day and handled this cloth about dementia. It feels so good in the hand and they notice subtleties that I miss in the making.

Speaking of Australia, I am getting the trip for 2019 all sorted. Start in Newcastle, then a short time at Baldessin Press before heading off to Grampians Textures and Geelong for white line printmaking. I might try to put Baldessin at the end of my stay just to have an extra couple of days there. I love the planning and all the friends who get me sorted out when there.

I will leave with a picture of the mountain laurel on the bar out here on the porch. The woods outside our house is filled with it right now.

Til next time…

Irritations of Aging

The title of this piece is the title of the blog today. I am stuck in bed with a foot operation. A walker is my mode of travel to and from the restroom. It is like this getting up and out of the bed.

Confined is the perfect word.

With Lee’s mind on a somewhat low capacity, we are trying to make one functioning body. A sense of humor is helping as we limp through the day.

Lovely flowers surround me in the bedroom. Mother’s Day and a thoughtful friend.

I am keeping projects to work on tucked in bed with me. Two baskets with cloth, thread, needles, papers, books, kindle, battery lamp and spare basics in clothing.

The cats visit but not for long. This is unfamiliar for them.

The lap top and Iphone are helpful. Keeps me in touch. Thank heavens interesting things are going on elsewhere.

In a week I might be able to put the left foot on the floor for balance and that will help. Tomorrow I might have Lee roll me into the kitchen on his office chair. I could dry dishes and remind him where things are. Yesterday I had him use my phone to photograph the controls on the dryer so I could show him which buttons to push….and today, whalla, clean clothes.

We can do this.

Til next week.