too long

the fall semester seems a little too long
about now,
but there is a sense of catching up as everyone makes their
last sheets of paper:
cotton rag (recycled)
when rachael asked for color
she was delighted with how purple happened
when we added in some off-cuts and beat them with the abaca/kozo
and then she 
chose what she thought might be a rich teal.
she mixed off cuts of green, yellow, and midnight blues...
the pulp promised a deep teal
but resolved into a layered light summer green.
this color mixing was more like working with paint than pigment,
or a chemical alchemy unpredictable
because we worked with leftovers.
 my 15, six vats,
eli's wee moulds made at the farm.
 we got some waterproof aprons! 
and supplement with the printmaking ones
 so many folks in a small space
shared with the silkscreen class, too!
i have them fairly well trained...
six of the students are living at the farm
where the sustainability program runs what looks a lot like a supported commune
(remember communes? now called intentional communities around here.)
the sustainability program has taken on the motto:
they understand they why of making paper by hand.

winter supplies on the porch:
milkweed pods
 dead leaves and sticks (iris, daylily, milkweed)
 new snow shovel
contact printing bundle of plants
 slippery elm bark
 more sticks
 black walnut dye
i often wonder what delivery or service folks think. 
my friends know that the porch is a bit of a supply/storeroom/disaster.
 one of my favorite neighborhood buildings
a wobbly roofline 
indicates it won't make it much longer.
 not all tracks left behind are wildlife
 snow caps on cut birch
 icing up

 if i'm really brave i harvest some greenery for printing
it's really hard on your hands.
so cold.
that old barn in the last sunshine of the day
 snow comes and goes as winter locks in.
on a fine day in december, as the sun begins the fast setting
it's time to reflect.
the year winds down.
it's time for hunger in the woods.

hot papermaking

it was HOT.
but my amazing students persevered. 
krista, emily, nancy and betsy
(and the amazing organizing nancy
has slipped away)
all beautiful, all so happy!
 a first at long ridge: 
drying paper on the sheep barn 
interior walls
 better sheets,
better and better
 expertise beginning
 some small moulds
 arbor vitae
 white cedar
 and then rain
 trial run for the arnold grummer press
 it rained on sunday
 cats and dogs
 and the weather finally broke
 too late for papermaking, 
but we did some grand work
 everyone can now
go home
and complete the entire process
and make their very own paper.