Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saint Gobnait and birds of the forest

Feast or famine, is it? The muse has been keeping me really, really busy. Can you hear the snap in her voice? "Do this instead," she shouted at me this past week. She said only a fool would be out in this weather. The first clue was seeing the over full pond running down the driveway. The second clue - 60 mph winds snapping branches in the firs left and right, which confirmed she was right. So, she and I played. Rather she played - that muse has more ideas than a dog has fleas and I worked like a dog to produce them (projects not fleas!).

The first one is called: The Blessing of Bees
Or at least that is what is called right at this moment. I am not quite done with it yet. Actually this apple wood carving is of Saint Gobnait, an Irish saint who saved her village with the help of bees. I intend to make a book to go with her, muse willing, to share her hagiography. (Hagiography is the biography of saints and spiritual leaders). Her frilly skirt is made from men's handkerchiefs that have been dyed with iron, tea, vinegar, salt and frozen leaves and flowers. I did some stitching and painted some sumi ink designs on them too. I hope Gobnait will come fully into her own... she may have some interesting things to share with us.

My second project, just started yesterday is a flag book.
Current title is "My heart sings to hear you singing."
Maybe there are too many 'sings' in it? Hummm... I will have to ponder.
I attended a Play Date with the Puget Sound Book Artists on the 5th of Feb
to learn how to make several styles of flag books.
It was great fun.
Of course they didn't show us how to do the flags made of wire.
That may or may not be something that is viable. Time will tell.
Keep in mind this project isn't done yet, but life is strange.
I share now, because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
It has been such a roller coaster ride this past year.
I am reminded to be present every day and
when the little bird sings one should notice, right?
So, twang away little birdies, twang away, is what I say.

Solitary vireo, black-capped chickadee, winter wren, bushtit, Oregon junco, ruby-crowned kinglet. Just a fraction of the birds that entertain us at the feeders.
Maybe I should make a sequel so all might be included?
Hang on, I will go ask the muse.
Apparently, she is 'driving the car', if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Collaboration

I have been steadily working for weeks now on a project I call "My Collaboration with Nature" in between times of giving care. There have been 3 falls since the end of January, fortunately none requiring hospitalization for Dad. The days were also filled with making the end times for Mr. Stitch, the cat, as comfortable as possible.  Stitch taught me that death can come slowly and with struggle, a lesson I will no doubt need in the months, perhaps a year, possibly more to come.  Miss Frizz, our beloved cat who died last January taught me about seizures which helped prepare me for Dad's series of seizures in April. These of course have been hard lessons to witness, but what would it have been like without them? Over this lifetime my pets have been my teachers. The most important lesson, I would have to say, they taught me about is observation.

Observation is what led me to my new project. A snap of a thimbleberry cane was all it took.  I am not sure what it all means, what more could, should be said except nature inspired me, nature supported my experiments, nature with its infinite variety keeps me in a constant state of awe and sustains my spirit and life.
Here - take a look:

Yes, the rock is piercing up through the lid of the box. It was an agonizing decision to cut a hole into a perfectly papered and beeswaxed box, but after much discussion with the muse the rock HAD TO BE included. Apparently, she felt it wasn't just any ordinary sort of rock.

See the last photo for detailed information about the contents of the
Book Arts Tool Box, folder 1 - the Muse at Play and folder 2 - The Muse, Fini.

 Folder 1 - The Muse at Play
I would have to say these works are more like experiments really.

 Ink Making Journal

" Mark Making" was made from one sheet of watercolor paper that was rusted and tea stained. It is double-sided with painted and beeswaxed covers. The marks inside were made with the inks and tools in the Book Arts tool box along with some sumi ink. Grand fun, really.

I especially enjoyed making the closure - I call him Forest Gnome. The Nature Muse seen below - well, she is just funny. Don't turn your back on this one! She may cut your hair and make a paint brush out of it like she did me!

 Folder 2 - This one is called "The Muse, Fini"
Things are more finished, more complete in themselves.
I do like how the painted paper covering on this looks like bark. At least it does to me. As does the inside paper. Unexpected really, when you blurp out paint on the paper then roll it over the surface.You never know what you will get. It's fun. You should try it.


This one is called Eco-prints.  I have put a cloth binding on the book to hold it together, add a few leaf charms and a lovely little poem inside by Anonymous. Would have loved to give proper credit, but so it goes.

 So, that's it - My Collaboration with Nature! See below for more details.

On March 1, I will enter this project in the Puget Sound Book Arts Exhibition, show to be held June 5th - July 31, 2014. Creating the work is one thing, writing those artist statements & project descriptions a whole 'nother ball of wax. Can you say it in 600 characters? How about 200 characters? Nooooo! What am I to do with all my descriptive words? Seriously, I do have challenges ahead of me. Honestly, do they really want the twit and tweet type of response?  But I guess that is how all of life is going.  Well then, I say in response - "It's done." Simple as that. Now onto life - no more excuses, vacuum the floor!