What's new here?
7-1-05 I love Berea, that's no secret, but I
especially love Berea on the first Friday night of the summer months.
That's Gallery Hop Night. The shops stay open late and provide
refreshments and entertainment for visitors. It's a great chance to get
around to shops, see what's new, visit with old friends and hear some good
musicians. Lots of fun. JimT and I stopped by the shops uptown
early, then went down to Old Town, set our chairs up on the lawn of the Shifflet
Cabin and spent a toe tapping evening listening to some of the best Bluegrass
music I've heard in a long time.
Dale Ann Bradley was there
singing and playing guitar,
Michael Cleveland (IMBA
2001/2002/2004 Fiddle Player of the Year) played fiddle and mandolin, Vicki
Simmons (an original member of the New Coon Creek Girls) played bass and Pete
Kelly (newest member of the band) was there on banjo. Tell me, where else
can you hear 2 hours of good, solid Bluegrass by one of the best bands in the
business...for free? I'm passionate about Bluegrass and equally passionate
about Berea. Okay, it's a small town, but it's a small town with heart and
soul that offers some of the best things of life to those who visit or live
here. (Okay, I know...I'm beginning to sound like the Chamber of Commerce,
but I wouldn't trade living here for living anywhere else in the world. I
love this town and the people who live here that much.)
7-4-05 This has nothing to do with paper,
books, basketry or any other craft related stuff, but I had to share that Mother
Nature did a far better job of fireworks this evening than the city did.
This is not to put the city's efforts down, by any means, just to say that the
cloud to cloud lightning was absolutely spectacular and timed perfectly to
coincide with the evening's celebration. Kudos to Mother Nature!
7-6-05 I am involved in a book swap and for
the last few weeks I've been floundering for ideas. I could do a very nice
basic, blank book, but I wanted to do something different, a book with content,
something I'm not accustomed to doing. The problem I've had is that, at
least in my eyes, there should be some relationship between cover design and
content in order to to be effective. I've had ideas for content, I've had
ideas for covers, and each on its own was good, but until a short while ago
when a minor accident happened, there was no connection between content ideas
and cover ideas. Earlier this week I was binding a soft cover book for a friend, but
sometime during the process, a corner of the back cover was bent under creating
an unsightly crease. I carefully straightened the fold out, but of course,
the damage was done. The crease was still there. Even tried smoothing it with
a bone folder. No go. I looked it a minute, and then thought, okay,
if I can't get rid of it, how about hiding in in and amongst many folds.
So I proceeded to fold and twist and roll the cover evenly until it was soft.
Yup, the fold disappeared. Out of this intentionally damaged cover came
my idea for the swap books. A "used" cover mated perfectly with one
of my ideas for content. I know having lead you this far, that it's
grossly unfair that I not post pictures of the books, but I can't because the
swap won't take place until early September. But if you're interested,
check back then, and I'll have pictures and an explanation of the content and
its connection to the cover..
7-7-05 Fooled around a little today doing
long rolled beads from handmade paper.
They're finished with high gloss Minwax Polycrylic.
7-8-05 The Berea Craft Festival ("the July
Fair") runs from today through Sunday, and I went out for awhile to see who was
there and visit with friends. Have you ever seen someone "out of place"
and knew you knew them, but couldn't figure out where you knew them from?
I had that happen. This woman
was demonstrating chair caning.
I looked at her. I knew I knew her, but something wasn't right. I
couldn't make any connection between the chair caning, her and how I might know
her.. She looked at me with the same, "geez, I know you but from
where...." look. As it turns out, she is Kathi Pruett, and I know
her as an employee of the Artisan Center at Berea, not as a practicing
heaven knows she most definitely is an
artisan of the highest degree.
She's a juried member of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild and works with
cane, hickory bark, leather,
rawhide, cattails and various other materials to bottom chairs and stools.
Wonderful work! While I was there I ran into
Carla Gover and
Mitch Barrett (Zoe
Speaks). They had some of their tapes and CDs in a
neat basket that Carla had picked up
in California. She said it originally came from Africa. Also stopped
to listen to Amy Carwile do a
little Bluegrass fiddlin'.
7-10-05 Rocks have always fascinated me, and I'm
forever coming home with pockets full, then not knowing what to do with them
other than fill my baskets. Today I covered several with various handmade
papers, then painted them with the high gloss Polycrylic.
They make rather pretty beads.
The piece on the left is about an inch long and covered with curly dock leaf
stem and yucca root paper; the one on the right is Thoroughbred horse dung.
This one is the prettiest, though.
It's about an inch and a quarter long and is covered with pure curly dock leaf
Back to the top
7-12-05 I'm dancing from one thing to another
to another, and I have a feeling this week is going to be a really mixed bag.
I like to have something to work on that I can simply pick up and put down at
will, something that doesn't hold me to a start-to-finish in one operation.
So I started this woven piece this
morning. If it goes as planned, the piece will have three sections -- the
one of woven daylily leaves I just started, one of paper and the third of woven
wire. It may work out that way or it may just take off in a totally
different direction all on its own. Stuff does that sometimes. If
the piece does end up with the three sections, I already have a title:
"Odd Ménage à Trois." (Have I just tempted the fates by given a title to
an uncompleted piece?) **Late this evening I went out across from
the Kentucky Artisan Center and gathered swamp thistle seed heads. There
are three or four large patches of
thistles and the fluff is
beginning to spill out of the heads. (The
seed heads from swamp thistles
look a good deal like those of spotted
knapweed, but the plant structures are different. Knapweed is a much
branched invasive. Swamp thistle has a single stalk topped by many
blossoms.) It didn't take long to gather about
a pound and a quarter of seed heads
7-13-05 Hurricane Dennis moved in and IT
RAINED LAST NIGHT!!!! Over an inch of it. Wonderful, glorious
rain!!! Now I'm really glad I gathered the thistle down. Last
night's rain must have put most of the fluff on the ground. I should say I
think I'm glad I gathered it. After
cooking the stuff, I
really wonder. Swamp thistle pulp looks
for all the world like piles of cow flop, so much so that I'm surprised it
doesn't stink like it. And this is supposed to make pretty paper?
(Yes, I know. I shouldn't try to judge what a paper will look like from
the appearance of the pulp, but still....sheesh!) Given that it was off
and on drizzle today, it wasn't possible to find out what the paper will look
like. I'll do it tomorrow if it doesn't continue raining. **I got
bored being inside and went out to Indian Fort Theater to gather pebbles between
showers. Some of these stones are
almost too pretty to cover with
7-14-05 Well...surprise, surprise! The
natural swamp thistle seed head
paper isn't half bad! And the
beached pulp paper is even
better. And the bleached
sheet is gorgeous when it is backlit! Repeat after me: "Thou
shalt not judge a pulp before its time."
7-16-05 Last month (or the month before, time
flies), Janet/Charlie brought me a 5 gallon bucket of donkey dung, and it has
been sitting out by the garage ever since...waiting. Yesterday evening I
put a couple of pounds in to soak in water., and this morning, when I walked out
onto the porch, I was aware of it. Bleah! A good rinsing with the
hose removed the majority of the odor...until the dung started cooking.
When the pot got hot, the odor was...shall we say B-A-D. (My next door
neighbor would have to choose that time to drop by and bring me some coffeecake.
I debated telling her what the odor was, then thought the explanation might be
worse than just letting her wonder.) The rule of thumb when rinsing cooked
plant material is to rinse until the water runs clear. I don't think the
water from dung ever runs clear. "Clear" is a very
relative term. I rinsed until I was certain all the sodium carbonate and
gunk was gone, then rinsed awhile longer and called that clear. There was
enough cooked dung to use the beater, but after running a little through the
blender to test, I figured out I'd be better off doing it that way.
Blending for 20 seconds produced a solid
sheet that, while not fibrous, has a nice visual texture. The paper is not
especially strong, and I tried blending longer to see if that would improve.
40 seconds produced a more homogenous
sheet (definitely not as attractive) and it did not improve tear quality.
Blending longer also increased drain time dramatically, to the point that it
isn't practical. I covered a rock to make a donkey dung necklace for
Janet/Charlie. (It's okay. Her sense of humor matches mine.)
The only real difference between the paper on the
donkey (right) and horse (left)
dung beads is the color. I'm almost certain that is because the horses
were on fresh pasture while the donkeys were stabled and fed hay. It's
interesting that both papers have black flecks. I have no idea what those
7-21-05 Not long ago I was bemoaning the lack
of rain. The other side of the coin is face up now. It has rained
every single day since July 12. Mind you, this hasn't been constant rain,
just off-and-on showers with more than a few thunderstorms included. Still
it's hard to make myself go out, get stuff ready and pull paper knowing that a
cloud may come up in ten minutes and dump a couple of inches rain. I've
caught times between showers to pull paper, but this is getting old.
7-22-05 More rain. Mmmmpht! This
is particularly discouraging because I had plans to immerse myself in pulp and
paper for two weeks starting on the 12th...the day my husband left for the
Sewanee Writers' Conference. Two weeks of not cooking meals, not worrying
about paper clutter, no schedule but my own...and what happens? It rains
EVERY DAY!!! (Sorry, but I need a B&M paragraph.) **Back last
month when I had friends over, I started
a paper basket on a bittersweet vine frame. At the time, I wasn't
exactly sure where I was going with it, so the piece has been sitting on the
desk waiting for me to decide what to do with it. A few days ago out of
rain desperation, I attacked the basket. The two nice solid layers of
cotton rag paper made it quite sturdy, so I wasn't afraid to rip off the twisted
rim, which really didn't work well in the first place. I covered the
cotton rag cloth with curly dock, allowed it to dry, then began building up
layers of Polycrylic on it. I'm not a big fan of high gloss, but the paper
in this particular piece called for
it. I like the contrast between the raw twig ends and the smooth,
(Am offline with an eye problem. Will be back
when I can.)
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