Over the summer, I bought several soap logs from Laura Lander in Henry County. Her mom and dad, Bonnie and Art, sell next to us all summer at the St. Matthew's farmer's market. Her soap is a beautiful example of hand craft. This morning, I sliced the logs into bars so that the centers can cure.
The sandalwood has a rich earthy scent. I think I will felt the bars for the holidays. The warmth of the sandalwood should be a comfort in the late fall and winter months.
This afternoon, I will slice up the rosemary mint:
The Uline catalog offers the most beautiful array of toxic industrial products for the production of more toxic industrial products. I cannot turn away. Oh, poly tubing and a heat sealer! I would bag everything in my house. Bobbie pins, bagged. Dog kibble, bagged. Tiny Playmobil swords, bagged. Pennies, bagged. Old correspondence, bagged. What would you heat seal in a polybag?
I squished this guy into my scanner to bring him to you. My friend Crystal made him and will be sending a small troop down from her apartment in Brooklyn. Casey Emerich is opening her shop, Consider Boutique, on Bardstown Road here in Louisville next month and she will carry versions of these guys:
Pinstripe monkey looks well endowed, but that's just his tail crushed against the scanner glass. Not that he's NOT well endowed, who am I to say?
The shawl is perhaps 1/3 finished; alas, no more roving. I will see if I can find something comparable out at the Meeting House. Every Wednesday evening, I have been learning to spin at the Meeting House. Two former students from U of L (Jenna and Erica) are there, too. They are mad scientists. Here's Erica doing a field study:
Turn a mass produced scrub mitt into a handmade good that does not cost more than the entire gift box of bath goods that carries it. A friend I made at the Menagerie show makes beautiful bath goods (soaps, lotions, oils). Everything in her kit is made by her, except for the scrub mitt. A mitt made in China is cheap, but it burns fossil fuels from the moment it is made, as it travels across the ocean, as it is trucked across the country. Not to mention, the fibers are synthetic (yuck). Yet, the mitt cannot be so costly that it competes with all the other products in the kit. . .so, how to make an affordable* homegrown mitt?
My colleague and friend Donna Stallard introduced me to Cavener Stichter's works this week. I have been meditating on the connection between my studio practice and my contact with the shelter dogs, hoping to understand how they sync up - wary of the animal motif. Et voilá, Beth Cavener Stichter found a way. There is so much feeling here - not just the depiction of feeling. And an acknowledgment that we are animal.
Late last night, I rediscovered these three small bags of non-wool fibers hidden in a yarn bag at the back of a lower shelf: Tussah silk, soy silk and hemp sliver. I bought them 18 months ago because they looked cool and promised to reveal some new wonder. I was primarily felting at the time, so I tried to incorporate them into the bowl designs; they looked fussy, as though I were TRYING. (In high school I was openly aggressive towards friends' hippie leanings: weaving especially. It was sooooo seventies.) My hemp, soy and silk "felted" bowls looked like something the weavers would have made before smoking out and getting naked.
Now that I am starting to spin. . .oh, I cannot wait to make a corriedale/romney/silk yarn! Calling all latter-day hippies now in their late thirties shopping at Ikea and Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma! I get it!
This is Take 2 on a scrap yarn scarf. The needles I used were too small the first time and the scarf felt like a rug around my shoulders. I knew it was a problem, but I couldn't stop knitting. So, I finished it, then ripped the whole thing and began again with fat needles and no resentments:
I think I found the right reincarnation for the rake head that Ronna gave me this summer at the lake house up in Indiana. The new skeins (drying as we correspond) fit nicely:
They should be dry by tomorrow. The pale gray will continue this shawl I have begun:
This is one of those projects that I enjoy as much on the needles as off and blocked. It is a sensitive little work right now - I'm not sure that delicate quiet will remain when the shawl is full grown. We'll see.
The farmer's markets do not open for another hour. Sam is running Neil's stand today so that Neil can go into the studio and paint and she stopped by early to collect the loot and Han the super-dog woke up the neighborhood. And I stayed awake while Neil drifted gently back to wherever it is he goes when he dreams. I looked surprisingly fresh-faced in the bathroom mirror, but I know that by noon I will be asleep on the couch waiting for the US Open to start. Imagine the mental and physical stamina required to play the sport at that level. I am slightly obsessed with the difference in size between Nadal's serving arm and his other run-of-the-mill-tennis-champion arm. His serving arm is noticeably thicker and stronger than the other. How does the difference affect his balance? When he hugs you (heh-heh), can you feel his super hero arm?
Speaking of super heroes, I am making one:
Ok, I'm at the ground level, but it has begun. One of the greatest challenges to me in my practice is to put aside my idea of the finished project - to release myself from the closed circuit of my own brain. To allow for outside influence. Risky stuff. . .
Last month, I ordered these beautiful slatted stools from an artisan named Massimiliano who lives and works in a small town outside Florence:
Massimiliano has an etsy shop: chipsoffantasy. You will need to register to access the vendors on etsy, but it's worth it. You are probably already in the know, but just in case, here is etsy's mission statement:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
John Berger writes, "Urban living has always tended to produce a sentimental view of nature. Nature is thought of as a garden, or a view framed by a window, or as an arena of freedom. Peasants, nomads, sailors have known better. Nature is energy and struggle. It is what exists without any promise. . .its energy is fearsomely indifferent." ("The White Bird", Sense of Sight)
I read this and think of my soul's pull towards Henry County, Kentucky and wonder what I am after as I browse the real estate ads and listings for vacant land. I am especially interested in the impossible-to-finance acreage-without-edifice. Among my many recent lessons: banks do not finance land if there is no house on it. Would a bank finance a yurt. . .? The scheming commences. . .
Henry Co. is not wild; the land was allotted to man by man long ago, but it is my way station between city sidewalks and the open ocean or an encounter with a bear. I need to step outside with my morning coffee and commune with some fearsomely indifferent land. And a wild sheep or two.
Friday evening, at Menagerie at Shine, I bought upcycled pot holders from Lunar Laundry. Little abstract landscapes:
Yesterday's passenger: Maude. She is on her way to rescue in Minnesota.
Come on down to Shine tonight (behind the Green Building, behind Social) - I'll be selling the work of friends (Jamie and Angie) as well as my own. Beer, bratwurst and a band will round out the night: 6-10pm. See you there!