Monday, June 14, 2010

check in

Its been sixteen days since our initial paper gathering. Erin has been very meticulous with pulling the outer bark off our paper pulp. Sacrificing her hands to the clingy stench of the rotting materials. Its not quite ready, we'll wait a bit longer.

The darker material is dried out. Some of our bast fibers were greener (literally) than the others and thus broke down much quicker than some of our older more stubborn specimens. Supposedly you can dry them out and then rehydrate them when you're ready to use. We'll see how that works out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

fleet foxes - tiger mountain peasant song

Wanderers this morning came by
Where did they go
Graceful in the morning light
To banner fair
To follow you softly
In the cold mountain air

Through the forest
Down to your grave
Where the birds wait
And the tall grasses wave
They do not
Know you anymore

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

In the town one morning I went
Staggering through premonitions of my death
I don't see anybody that dear to me

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon
I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon

Saturday, June 12, 2010

return to the wheel

I sat at my wheel for the first time in about a month. It took me a little while to get back into the groove. A few swear words. A few sighs. But once I got going, my mind when blissfully blank. I think I might have been relaxing. I'm not 100% sure, but something inside me says that's what was going on. This relaxing thing is usually prevented in some way by constant picking by my overactive brain. By all this 'thinking' I seem to do. Instead of knowing and accepting, I over work and over think the simplest items.

Not tonight. Tonight, I simply focused on the fluff sliding through my hands and magically twisting, turning and organizing. The fluff compressed into a neat and tidy line. Transformed into a more manageable and logical form. Order. It is put in order. Of course this appeals to every part of me. I like order. I like things to be in their proper place and logically categorized. It isn't terribly surprising that I find such a process soothing. I found it all rather fitting. Spinning seems to be a lot like how I process thoughts, emotions, and information.

It starts out as a loose cloud. Then a few strands are funneled though my sensory organs; twisted, turned, packed, organized and arranged. Twinned and interconnected with one another. Simultaneously guided and pulled into a neatly packaged line. The line is then taken and stored in the proper place for later categorization and classification. Maybe is immediately put to use, or maybe its set aside for later. Either way, it is placed in its unique and specific location. This process isn't without snafus. Every so often a few of these bits drift off and stick to some sort of nagging question in my unyielding mind. This nagging causes the entire production line to back up into a tangle of whatever. The production must come to a halt. Order must be reestablished and all the strands must get back in line. Sometimes, as is often the case with thoughts or information, this can take longer than expected.

Maybe this all makes sense. Maybe it doesn't. Perhaps its a jumble of incoherent jabber. Yet, all that seems to matter is the clarity I have right now. For this moment, everything appears crystal clear and simple. For this moment, I'll break out of my normal pattern to accept the clarity. Accept and sit with the simplicity of the scary place that is usually my mind.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

episode II: the artist and the botanist strike back

You may recall this sort of shenanigans happening before. Last year, Erin and I embarked on a paper making adventure. I can happily report that the artist and the botanist are at it again. You may revisit our efforts here, here and here.

We planned out the expedition a bit better this year. We borrowed a friend's pick-'em-up truck for easier hauling, grabbed a saw and some good clippers and went to a location I'd been eye balling for several months. We also cut off all the leaves before transporting. It made the entire collection process easier not to mention, less itchy.

Venturing into the unknown in search of treasure.

Our booty.

A bundle.

Peeling is beyond satisfying.

The artist (left) and the botanist (right).

Tommy took pictures. Notice the shiny shoes.

The concoction is brewing... well, rotting in a 5 gallon bucket near Erin's compost. She has reported that its good and smelly. Which I approve of. We're trying to figure out how to properly do the paper making. We're currently in search of a large enough tub and debating on how large to make our screens/frames. I'm voting for a kiddie pool and hula hoops. We'll probably end up doing something smaller and more practical, not to mention a better shape for storage. But, come on. How awesome would a kiddie pool filled with Broussonetia papyrifera goodness be? I can answer that for you: Wicked cool.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

field work

AWash and I took a brief hiatus from field work in April, but we're back at it now. The sites are much greener since it has warmed up. We're seeing tons of incredible critters! All sorts of caterpillars, moths, butterflies, spiders, dragonflies, and even a fawn. A lot of plants that were pretty dormant during the winter have sprung back to life and are flowering. AWash is doing a much better job at documenting these incredible finds, and I'll see if she'd mind if I posted some of her pictures. Until then, these images from good ol' swamp cam will have to suffice.

Leucothoe racemosa (Fetterbush)

The logging trail. It looks very different than the last time we visited the site. Much more greenery and ferns.

Itea virginica (Virginia Willow)

Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chain fern)

Cypress dome