gone and rain

i'd not been walking at the farm much (my place) because of
and being Home.
and there it was--or wasn't.
the structure I'd laughed at and called barnhenge or woodhenge,
 and so did this little one, 
gone before it hatched
the most beautiful of blues.
except for all the other blues.
 reading about color and how we respond to it, and what moves me,
i read about ochres, i add them to pulp, i paint with them,
i read about madder,
five new plants will go into the garden soon.
i read about the properties of dyes and pigments and lakes
and find i know so little.
but still i get extremely excited about it all.
two writers online have been exploring madder's properties
as dye and as ink.
(are you reading these two?)
(hint: Sally and Tim)
i recently ordered a new copy of Hiroko's book,
a second edition which includes more treasure.
i ordered it from Washi Arts
Linda Marshall's wonderful online store.
Linda carries Japanese Paper Place products for US customers
and she is a delight to do business with.
(and to know--she was in my Seattle North Country Shifu class last summer)
 i got these little somethings in my package:
 such beautiful wee samples to touch and use up happily.
 here's the sample sheet of the kozo Hiroko favors,
added in right before the title page
 and in the 2018 edition: 
these samples of kami-ito,
one natural, one dyed
 a special thank you to my PBI student James Spyker 
who told me about the new edition 
which included these kami-ito samples!
a soft rain happened sometime today after noon,
after some morning gardening and then mowing my lawn
one of the most dreadful jobs I have
isn't quite so awful anymore.
 anyway, off my porch i saw this little one
 unafraid in the beginning rain
 munching grass in my porch perennial garden.
 this baby needs to be watchful and wary
(there is a narsty disheveled old he-cat who ambles by every now and then)
but little cottontail was quite calm so close to human me.
 yesterday i saw a doe with two beautiful fawns, in, of course,
the middle of the road.
i had no time to get the camera, watch the three on the hilltop, and watch for traffic.
a dangerous place to be pulled over.
so you will have to imagine them
in their cinnamon and white spotted legginess, 
mamma all legs and exquisite ears herself.
on the road, 
on a hilltop, 
the north woods holding them in close
disappearing into the green at the beep of my horn. 

a new paper book

who could imagine one autumn would have
two books about shifu
published and available and perfectly 
complimenting each other?
my teacher, hiroko karuno,
has published her new book
about japanese handmade paper 
and the thread made from paper.
hiroko is a very private woman
whose relationship to japanese handmade paper
is deeply felt, understood; intimate and beautiful.
hiroko gave me permission to write 
about this jewel of a book.
it is a rich how-to book
precise and philosophical
simple yet profound.
here is an example of the precision she insists upon
the standards she sets for herself.
i remember trying hard to spin this intentionally
when i worked with her.
the book includes a wonderful frontispiece
an entire page of koshi-no-kigami-kobo, kadiode-washi.
 your fingers can dance over this amazing paper
perfect for spinning.
i found myself wanting to begin immediately 
working with some of this paper!
this is one of my favorite photographs,
a small group stripping kozo bark.
it brought me back
to sitting on my kitchen floor
stripping milkweed bast from stalks
wet from snow after winter gathering
for my first edition of milkweed paper.
i could hear hiroko's voice
in my head as i read her words.
hiroko came to shifu
from a more traditional weaving background.
so she knows dyeing and weaving thoroughly, and understands paper.
this book will be available soon, she hopes,
from the japanese paper place, sri textiles, the textile museum
in north america. for now it's still in japan, awaiting a january release.
you may find out more here.
hiroko writes: 
strong and beautiful thread comes only from strong and beautiful paper
beauty from necessity lasts forever.