Tuesday, February 23, 2016

On a sunny, still winter's day

Oh, the delight - a frosty morning with sunshine - a perfect morning for making willow charcoal sticks. I gathered my materials: copper fire pit, a box of scrap wood, newspaper, matches and a small metal can with a lid. First I punched a hole in the lid of the can. Next I gathered green willow wands the size of my thumb. My first tingle came when the bark peeled right off - in long strips. Such a treat - it's like carving wood but without all the effort. I next cut the sticks so they fit inside the can. I got the fire going real hot (It's a great way to use up those scraps laying around the farm) and then placed the can upright in the middle of the burn. I made 3 batches  before the fire died down.  I labeled them real hot fire, medium hot fire and just coals.  I am wondering if I will noticed a difference when I use them.
I am telling you - it was FUN and primal! (only one day past the full moon)


Talk about the little engine that could... or maybe it's the little artist who could. I know, it's a bit ridiculous to get so excited - I mean you can buy willow stick charcoal from Wal-Mart for pennies, but there's just something about doing things from scratch.
Meanwhile, back in the studio... I have been working like a crazy woman. It is almost time to enter books in the Puget Sound Book Artists member exhibition. It has taken a lot of effort because until recently it just wasn't happening. I don't know, I think it was the stars - they weren't in the right alignment or something. At least I wasn't the only one that noticed things were off.
Of course there is no explanation 
which would account for "comb-over's popularity.
We have been warned for a long time about
the coming of the anti-Christ. Well, he's here!
Not only have I digressed, but I also made my blood pressure go up!
The first set of books I am going to enter is called Weeds.
The envelope simply a sleeve which has been sumi inked.
The weed prints were made on the gel plate with Charbonnel Lamp Black ink.
I love the etching-like quality of this particular ink.
The cover is Mylar so that's why it looks dull and frosty.
Book one contains the story of my relationship with weeds. A drama!

Project 2 is quite a bit different.
It still pertains to my year long theme -Sense of Place
and desire to utilize the resources on our farm -
the plants, the weeds, the sticks, the stones, the soil and so on.
The box is painted with the earth pigments I collected last fall.
The books inside are called Leaf and Twig. They are plaster casts of blackberry
and hazel each with their own little story.

My last entry for the exhibition is called
"Playing with Earth Pigments."
The book is a record of my experiments with the earth pigments I collected on our last two trips. The purpose was to try all of the various binders I had read about from various sources. I also wanted to, once again, learn how to do it from scratch. It is so satisfying to work with the colored pigments in the mortar and pestle, the sieve and on my little flat rock and rock mortar. I used a Coptic binding on this book. I am slowly learning how to make books that look like "normal" books.

I am hoping there will be time to play with charcoal tomorrow.