all the things by hand

all the things.
the first time i heard this phrase
was in michelle moode's beautiful letterpress book
it was index item #1.
the first thing was all the things.
 i handle this book,
handle, the touch or the feel of something held in the hands
this book
haptic knowledge
anyway, it has delights and puzzles quietly presented.
The whole world is a series of miracles, 
but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.
Hans Christian Anderson

I've been thinking about the intelligence of 
our hands, how they become smarter with practice, like our brains do.
unmoored, by shanna leino
 i've read over and over.
it's a small poem, not many words,
but about big things.
the care she took as she stitched this exquisite spine 
 the monoprints on silk...
see her tiny stitches?
an exit in SLU's print studio
with my favorite cheesecloth drying after being washed out.
i'm not quite sure why it is
but for me the things that have meaning
are the things made by hands that have knowledge,
and also are my favorites
for (whatever/all the) reasons.
in last summer's seattle workshop
my students' hands all together could indeed have ruled the world,
with exquisite intelligence, grace, and love.
hazel and gabby
 an envelope came recently that held this rich 
 Banks of the Dogbane by sarah swett
a hand sized tapestry (3 x 3") rich in simple detail
and texture
 woven on handspun linen
 i love this thing.
 over on the next farm this structure
was never honored by finishing
or by use
 now it's failing
i believe it was intended for hay storage 
for these bovines.
why leave it undone, 
a public testament to failure of some kind?
i watched them build it, but then it was ignored.
these cows don't seem to care. 
the lovely little brown calf stands out in this black and white crowd.
a lilac burl
from my garden.
enhanced by me cleaning and oiling it,
rolling it around in my hands with pleasure and love
handling it into another use
(maybe an awl?)

 a beautiful handwoven hemp textile
hand spun hemp on a cotton warp
found by my dear friend who allowed me to buy it
at mjolk in toronto.
 tiny waxed linen crocheted basket by Nina Payne
a gift from a gifted friend.
 shanna's lake michigan rocks
beautiful and useful.
 a little natural history book nest i made
two feathers on a shifu page and a seaweed float/bladder
 milkweed bast becoming thread
 ginkgo message
from therese
and words from the wise.
i'm reading a new book: 
Craeft by alexander langlands
which may help me understand (or perhaps just frame)
my thoughts on hand work.
all the handwork.

cellulose fiber

i once kept a flock of sheep.
raisin was my first ewe, named for her thompson seedless raisin brown.
then i found a few more including truffle and lily who came from trudy van stralen 
rambam(!) no comment on his name; 
then a goat called trouble, 
who birthed adonis
the most beautiful mohair kid in the world.
 at that time
i was making paper from local fibers.
dyeing with fungi and lichens,
weaving tapestries, 
and raising a few angora bunnies.
my spinning included silk,
wild silk (spider and moth)
and crept over into the realm of cellulose.
 i couldn't imagine why spin cellulose? 
and now i say look at this, natural pale green cotton sliver
from kristin
which deepens with a cook to the color 
in the little skein.
a lovely cotton.
(very hard to capture the color in the photo, even with adjustment)
 and here is hemp, 
all the way from japan,
and the clever fingers of chica notch.
 she included a lovely wrapping cord of two ply hemp, 
i suppose.
more rustic and quite lovely, too.
 my 2-ply twined dogbane or indian hemp
is from the bast of the dried, field retted stems.
the coil grows slowly.
i have made paper from this fiber,
wonderful paper, actually,
 that included the wild and slender seed pods,
packed with seeds on fibers smaller than milkweed 
and ready to airlift the seeds to eager soil.
i am here, 
at the new year, 
looking both ways,
forward and back and