friends, books

he'll probably give me hell if he sees this:
my extremely talented printer friend mark mcmurray
at the oxford book fair 
yes, THAT oxford
the one with the spires and bells
not only is he talented, and a special collections librarian, 
he has purchased wake robin papers for caliban press books!
mark is my local person to bang around book art ideas with
as university acrhivist he's digital
 he gets his students printing letterpress as well.
sometimes he brings them to my mill to make paper.
his kind advice, which i have yet to follow:
"edition, edition. edition."
last summer 
i taught a couple of workshops in the 
pacific northwest
today i found this:
thank you, jan.
my first natural dyeing was after college
at school (mid 70s) it was all procion or acid dyes. 
i learned natural dyeing in kentucky
from the anne mcginty guild and began messing around.
in the meantime i dyed bits and pieces with weird stuff
soil from a camping trip with hooligans, lichens,
raspberry "ink" ian and nate made and left in the fridge for years. 
 later i thought about making marks with rusty metal and weather...
so i wrapped a 55 gallon barrel in muslin, 
fed and watered it all one september, 
and made an amazing cloth. i did it again. 
i used it as book cloth, i sold some. time passed.
then i heard about india.
this is coming back to mark: when i show him 
the cloth he gives me feedback
so i play a bit with paper, too.
the next book will be 
bloodroot and violet
i think
three day weekend, 

making marks, leaving traces

saturday walk
i know about leave no trace. but even a snail* leaves a trace. i will. a thread that says i was here. and then it will be gone. so the thing is, i should mind every mark i make as they go out into the world? do i? of course not.
kid knot, tire swing
many of my marks are made with fiber. of course. i wish, often i wish i could make my work in clay. it's not meant to be, for though i love clay quite madly, i cannot bear working with it as it dries. i am also a bit crazy about print making, the wonderful expressive lines that are possible. i have almost no idea how to make a print. it's those scores of marks on the de-bossed (is that the right word) paper that move me.
mill window, tibetan mould, grandfather maple
so i think often of mark making; and see marks, lines, shapes and colors that others might see as things, not so me. 
a friend points out something and i see the whole composition, the lines, the space, the colors, not the thing itself. this is very disconcerting at times. my children make lines, ian draws and draws, and hannah knits and she has a calligraphic hand, she makes beautiful letters. a joke in my family came from my dad, who asked me if i could study penmanship in college, because my handwriting was so poor.
memory dazzles for ian and hannah
why make art? why make anything?  i will argue that making is essential. it is making that keeps me human. there will come a day, perhaps, when this is no longer my great passion, the need to make. but not yet.
this barn was made, twice. it has been repurposed. it may be again.
this loft held many bales of hay, upon a time. 
it holds memory now.

*a must: the sound of a wild snail eating by elisabeth tova bailey