Starting on the Land of Lethe Journal

Here is the opening or “Title Page” of the small leather journal. I had private students here for a few days and I worked on this when not needed to lend a hand. One of them reminded me that those marks of four slashes and then a diagonal one across is referred to as “tally marks.” I had forgotten that and really like the name. It has always been a favorite doodle mark for me….just marking time is how I thought of it…not really counting things by five….just like doing it.

I wove a bit of shifu thread that had been colored with soil from some place special to me and then tied it onto the page. Here is the back of the next page that is a weaving made by making slits into the paper and then plaiting through strips of more Thai kozo paper that were colored with a greenish soil. The back of the title page was not so interesting….just the ties and back of the tally mark stitching.

At the base of the green paper weaving I did some more stitching with favorite threads and then cut a hole to make another weaving with shifu threads over warps that have been stitched into place. These are two of my favorite tools for doing small weavings with paper. One is the bone needle that a basket maker in Tasmania made (I have several because although I buy them for gifts, I find I can’t part with them) and the other is a small comb that I purchased at Wafu Works in Hobart. It is so perfect for picking up threads and lifting them out of the way and then packing them into place.

Here is that page finished.

And the back with lots of tally marks on the next page.

I like the backs and will likely go back into them with more memory marks. This heavy print making paper is nice to pierce and then stitch through. Like the old learning to stitch cards that we had when were very very young….just put the bright colored yarns into the eye of a very big needle and poke it in and out of the holes. I think we were supposed to be making something by following the direction lines, but I am quite sure that I just filled the entire surface with yarn until I could not get the needle through.

And the back of this tally page with some small coppery scraps stuck in place. On the right is a small knotted shifu thread basket holding a small flat round stone.

And then the last page of a patchwork cloth of shifu weavings sewn together.

I have made a start on this journal. This signature now has something on each page. It is a signature that used slightly smaller folios than the other five signatures.  It seemed that they should all be treated similarly. I will continue to back into them before starting on the next set of pages. It could be that I am avoiding writing on the pages and will just make marks using cloth and stitch. I might put scraps of our clothing in it.

I did that with this very large wall hanging when we were married for thirty some years….about the year 2000. It is made up of coffee filters with comments written on them, spun into threads and holding scraps of our clothing together. Coffee filters were also used in the block-like quilt designs to make up the calendar month of October. On the square where the 27th would have been that year is a copy of a picture of us before we were married that my husband kept in his wallet all those years. This year will be our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Anyway this piece hangs in the guest room and I think needs to be put away soon….maybe harvested for parts.

It covers one wall almost completely as each square is over twelve inches in each direction.

Here are some details. It all had to do with how marriage works….some days things are held together nicely and some days a bit messy.

I liked doing this piece but maybe it is time to take if down from the wall of the guest room. I never gave it a thought that some people staying in that room might be wondering what in the world it was. I do like these details though and may just cut some up to put into my Lethe Journal. Put some coffee stains in there too because we still start our day with that….sipping coffee.

Til next week.