More Writing/More Drawing

Our son, Patrick, is opening that beautiful bottle of scotch from Kent. It is delicious.  Balvenie 12 year single malt. I keep up with filling pages of the Covid Coping Book 2.

It is what we all are drinking to get us through….no repeats of labels allowed.

Every couple of weeks I will get a package of labels in the mail from our friend, Marla, daughter, Amy, (always different teas) and her partner, Ben, who are using this time to clean out liquor cabinets and tea drawers. We have all become less particular during covid.

I forgot to photograph the previous days of Lee’s and my socks, so will put them in next time. But the last six pages of Drawing a Day Books are going to be covid masks.

A comfortable

covid mask from Medicare

is so wearable.

 

Safe Mate covid mask

purchased from Amazon Prime,

three colors, one price.

 

And another old journal writing about Australia.

Train to Ararat

I watch the land slip by and imagine how it was before farms and houses. The land barely lifts here and there are low valleys, low hills and everywhere it is dry and brown – a greyed brown. Eucalyptus are gathered in groups along the landscape. Old decrepit ones seem abandoned by their kind as they struggle alone to survive. My fellow travelers read a kindle and a magazine unaware and seemingly immune to the drama flying by our window. Tiny dust devils swirl upward here and there across the plowed fields in search of a cloud that may bring moisture and push them back down. I don’t see it happening today between Baran and Ararat, VIC. Just what are those cattle all chewing out there?

I can’t remember if I shared that one before…here is another…

2007

Is there anything like a belly full of extraordinary food and wine – then locked up in a single cabin first class on the Ghan swaying your way into the Northern Territory and listening to the anti war version of Waltzing Matilda” I think not!

I am washed, lotioned and propped up in a space that is pie shaped, 24” at the pillow end and six feet down it is panning to 48”. My door to the hall is across from my daughter Amy’s cabin. A wash basin folds up not six inches from my right foot. All I need is here in this space.

A wonderful dinner with Aussies – full of politics, wineries and family talks and a promise to meet at breakfast. Then there is the window- more than a metre and open to the outback of Australia. What is out there in the dark? I know it is wild, mysterious and beautiful – nothing less. I will sleep through some of this and be sorry that I did. But I am older now than the last time and can trust Australia to be here when I wake. Good night.

And more from the other pages of books. Here I took pages from a John C Campbell catalog and then printed them using a gelatin plate, stencils and acrylic paint. They were bound into a book that serves no purpose other than to have pretty pages and I thought would be a good sample to inspire students in a printmaking class.

And you can see in my desire to have no waste, the folios are of different widths.

Two days ago I drew these lines in a sketch book. They are my matrix for the tether lines in the new poetry book.

After I photographed the sketch I put it into a photo app program to get more of what I wanted to use going from page to page.

I am going to stop and get some tea. And here is a poem about tea that I will use in the book.

Tea Leaves

I tilt the pot and pour

the last of my herbal tea.

Watch the leaves

settle in the bottom.

 

Wondering about

the hidden messages

of tea leaves,

I pull the cup closer.

 

It smells delicious.

And before I know it

I have altered what

they were trying to tell me.

til later…

 

Something Beautiful and Some Book Ideas

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful as this leaf. Barbara comes on Thursdays when she can to have lunch with Lee and me. She brought the other ones that I tied into a stack so as to see how they would push against each other as they dried. This leaf that has a waxy feel had fallen off the plant and into a protected place where it became this.

Right away I photographed it with a paddle made from Tasmanian Sassafras and purchased at the Salamanca Market in Hobart some years ago for Lee.

I tucked it away with this curling stack.

And the drawings a day.

A hat from many

bought in airport shops for Lee.

Here is New Zealand.

 

Hawaiian straw hat

A bit rumpled and crumpled

But can do the job.

 

Leather moccasins

Lee’s favorite any time

he is in the house.

 

Shoes that Lee will wear

if he is in the right mood

to fit his feet in.

 

And some more journal writings:

 

Recipes…

My Savoury Muffins when away

Approx.

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix above together.

Stir in approx.

½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

½ cup chopped sliced ham

2 slices cheddar cheese cut up

½ cup shredded parmesan

1 ½ tsp chopped chives

Dash of hot sauce.

Mix in

2 eggs with one egg’s worth of milk

Mix til just moist.

Shape in flat balls and bake 200 degrees celsius  (375 Farenheit) for 20 to 25 minutes.

 

From a bartender at the International Club in Stanthorpe, Queensland.

Whiskey Mac

Equal parts Stones Ginger wine and scotch whiskey.

 

The latest poem for the Tether Book:

The Sun Is Shining

The sun is shining

and he wants to be outside.

Back at work in the yard

lining up rocks

or raking leaves into rows.

 

But when clouds come

and put his day in shadow,

his mind will follow.

He drops the rake

and wanders into darkness.

 

All I can do is call him back

with hot chocolate,

a funny story,

or point to a bird out the window

still singing.

 

I will start working on drawing the tether line while our son is here. I can go back in the studio then. I don’t think the soft graphite will do…it needs to be a simple black pen tether line that morphs through the pages below the poetry. Illustrations are supposed to be in service to the text, not distract from it.

I just need to remember to pick it up where it left off on the previous page. Easy.

Speaking of books and making them fit the content, I still have this one left from an idea I had years ago. The idea was that these blank journals were to be used as diaries. And how could I get this across without the old lock and key. I came up with this plan of having to wrap and unwrap it to access the pages. They all had wooden covers that I could drill a ¾” in. Then larks head on a long cord to be braided with a weight on the end…sometimes a large bead, sometimes a coin. After you wrote your secrets, you were meant to wrap the cord over the top and keeping it loose, go inside the front cover, out the hole and pull the bead tight. Then reverse those steps to “unlock” the diary. It seemed simple to me but I had to make a drawing of the steps to place inside each one I sold. Something about pulling that bead down tight made everything inside seem so private.

I also made them with thick book board but must have sold those.

That should do it for now.

Stay safe.

Some More Thoughts and Images

First off I will get the drawings a day over with….

I pieced together

scraps of colored silk fabrics

making a long scarf.

 

Cotton grey and white

patterned scarf is very soft

and loosely woven.

 

SuziBJ cut

the bottom part of a skirt

for this pleated scarf.

 

My drawer is so full

of these Mahdi Chandler scarves

made from bits of gauze.

 

Then a switch back to travel journals….. starting in France where my daughter took this picture of me wandering the streets of a small village.

And drawings from the journal I took along.

And some more random journal entries…

Travel:

It is the journal that is indispensable when traveling. Not the camera or even the companions. The camera gives too much information and the companions will not see nor remember it the way I do. But the journal with quick marks of local color, wines, foods, and notes bring the entire trip back each time I refer to it. I see the place and smell the food. I taste the wine again and hear those sounds of being in the country, in the hotel, at an art opening, alone in an unfinished building with the soft sound of cane toad feet dragging across the floor toward my bed.  My journals are filled with a shorthand and economy of marks that preserve it all, and I can return anytime I want to.

Young Patrick is waiting in the pub somewhere in New South Wales to shout me another beer while I wait to be found. The Poets in Pubs group that meets monthly in Broken Hill are still seated around the table in the back room listening to me read their favorite American poet in an appropriate accent. I can smell the worn leather case belonging to an elderly former boxer as he removes an old black and white photo of himself “in the day” and the poem he wrote earlier that week.

There are travel journals from Japan, China, Bali, France and Italy but the outback towns of Australia is where I prefer to spend most of my return voyages. Our shoulders touch, our eyes meet and we raise our Toohey’s Old and Stone’s Ginger Wine in remembrance.

And one of the reasons I so love Australia….

Notes from 2007 on Teaching in Australia

“Fourteen of them are here and I interview them all to find their personal direction and get them to contain their passions to a small place that has lids, doors, pages, covers, bags and baskets – how much of all this do they want to conceal or reveal. Some of those working with the personal stay quiet and have the materials needed. Others might ask my input on materials and form. Then they, too, go quiet and leave me out of their next decision. Now I am only the direction sign.

I envy them at these moments of discovery, adjusting, learning and note-taking.  So I busy myself with making another sample, drawing and writing on the board, and try not to hover too close to them.

Later I will make the rounds again, one by one, to see if I am needed or not. If I am, it is usually a technical problem, easily solved while they let me handle their work and materials.  They will also share why their work is taking a particular form. How it all fits around some thing that matters to them.

This is the gift they give to me – letting me in to help make the spaces and places for things that matter.

 

The other day two friends came a long ways to lift my spirits. Kent, a student of mine who took private white line printmaking classes with me here until a year ago, and his wife, Catherine, a well known textile artist, showed up with these gifts.

Kent brought the single malt scotch for me and the assortment of dark beers for Lee. Catherine brought Madeleines and a fresh baked loaf of sour dough bread. She has taught in Australia and it was wonderful to share our thoughts on teaching in that country. They said they will return and bring me some sour dough starter. I am so happy they came and are thinking of coming back. Kent has kept in touch this past year by sending hand drawn images on postcards for Lee and I. Such a thoughtful couple. Thank you!

And speaking of Lee, I found this poem I wrote six years ago…..

 

Untitled

 

She travels

He prefers to stay home

 

She is vegetarian

He needs red meat

 

She will talk to anyone

He is selective or silent

 

Her glass is half full

He is on the way to empty

 

How does this work?

 

After forty-seven years of one floating

And the other sinking

 

They simply trust the tether line

S. Webster.

 

Til later…

 

 

 

Getting Some Control

We have a friend who comes once a week to share her lunch with us. We keep our distance at the table. She listens to my apprehensions, worries, exhaustions…and then offer suggestions. The leaves above were a gift from her this week. I tied them together with string just to keep control over something and love how they dry and curl in this bundle.

After lunch I get Lee set up to be outside doing something while I vent to Barbara. Here are some of her ideas:

Start using the dishwasher again! Don’t rush through the meal and wash up while Lee is still eating…put the dishes for the day in the washer and even if it is no where near full, turn it on after dinner! It works!

Add another hour to the caregivers time and get five hours of free time. I talked to the caregiver and her employer and that idea goes into effect starting Monday. This way when I have toi do the shopping it does take up half my time, just some of it.

Use the apartment more to remove myself from listening to what is going on with Lee and the caregiver. What a great idea! I only used it once to write the text to construct books around before.

Speaking of which this is what I wrote the day before Barbara came that put me in a frazzle when she was here.

In Just Two Hours

 

In just two hours:

Left to do the grocery shopping,

had a car to car visit with neighbors

on the way back to my house.

Like everyone else when they see me,

I am told they think of us.

Can they visit Lee?

I tell them he may not know who they are.

We go our separate ways.

 

Groceries are unpacked and put away,

so is my coat and purse,

I am sweating.

The cold wine called,

I couldn’t just carry the bottle downstairs

past the hall where they would see me,

the caregiver and Lee.

 

And now I am here in the studio,

writing and holding the water glass.

Trying to make it last.

 

So yes the apartment works fine. I do not get internet there but the house phone can be carried over so the ringing will not upset Lee.

There are two trunks full of old memories I needed to look into and toss some out. Under a couple of trash bags I took over a bottle of wine. Yesterday I wanted to be ready to retreat here as soon as the caregiver came.

The first thing I did was fix a spot of herbal tea in my old favorite pot with the cup down below. Used a little of coffee raspberry flavoring to sweeten it.

Then I set up my pads, sketchbooks, laptop, etc on a table Lee made using sewing machine legs that is by the window and near the loom he made me in 1982.

The apartment also has old oil paintings I did in the mid 80s.

The door into the apartment and the counter tops Lee made.

And those two trunks stacked at the bedroom end.

And after facing the trunks, filling a large garbage bag, sorting letters and old photos for the kids to deal with, I treated myself. Wine in a glass that Lee frosted.

In looking at old photos of myself with the intention of just throwing them out, I was caught in a childhood I had forgotten about. Since I am the only surviving one of six children, there has been no one to say, “Remember when…?” The result is, you simply forget. I looked at an old photo book of me from 2 to 23. Then I met Lee and less than a year later our daughter was born. Those photos from that time  on were packed up weeks ago to push off on the kids. My childhood, their report cards and drawings all kept in one of the trunks are now ready to go off with them. They get to throw them away. I just could not do it.

The last four days drawings of scarves.

Antique silk scraps

pieced together randomly –

irresistible!

 

Very drapey mesh

of rayon strings loosely knit

and knotted at ends.

 

A knitted tie dyed

loop of a nice colorful

band in pinks and blues.

 

Multiple knit loops

gathered and knotted

from Laughing Squid.

*Note: I tried contacting Laughing Squid this morning to order another one of these fun neck pieces that wrap three times around. They must be out of business now. It was an Etsy shop. I wish I had bought more at the time.

More journals….

 

2007

Is there anything like a belly full of extraordinary food and wine – then locked up in a single cabin first class on the Ghan swaying your way into the Northern Territory and listening to the anti war version of Waltzing Matilda” I think not!

I am washed, lotioned and propped up in a space that is pie shaped, 24” at the pillow end and six feet down it is panning to 48”. My door to the hall is across from my daughter Amy’s cabin. A wash basin folds up not six inches from my right foot. All I need is here in this space.

A wonderful dinner with Aussies – full of politics, wineries and family talks and a promise to meet at breakfast. Then there is the window- more than a metre and open to the outback of Australia. What is out there in the dark? I know it is wild, mysterious and beautiful – nothing less. I will sleep through some of this and be sorry that I did. But I am older now than the last time and can trust Australia to be hre when I wake. Good night.

And Anzac cookies made this week.

Til later….Lee just broke the leaf blower again….I will just buy another one on Monday. There could be another leaf somewhere.