Tuesday, 20 March 2012

string me a story


this morning i made a piece of string

quite fine. shown here alongside some grey-dyed #5 silk/cotton from Beautiful Silks to give an idea of scale [the string is on the right]

and it occurred to me there might be some fun in it.

i'll offer a [sur]prize to the first person who can guess what the string is made of
and
another to the follower [ie i'd like you to sign up to follow this blog if you don't already] who writes me the most exciting/amusing story about its possible provenance

and if i get lucky and build to the magical number of 900 followers, there'll be a third present randomly drawn...

you've got until the weekend ie Sunday 25th March if you're in yesterdayland on the other side of the Pacific or Monday 26th March if you live on this side of the international dateline. my European friends will have to do the complex math themselves to see where they fit in...

39 comments:

  1. Tree, wood, paper, string. Hello there and greetings from Sasha and Marja.

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  2. Looks very like our basswood bark cordage here in the Upper Great Lakes in the US.

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  3. Possisbly New Zealand flax? Still thinking.

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  4. mmm, I'm wondering if it's used teabag paper?
    hugs

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    1. ha...you and Trace [who sent me the answer privately] both worked it out

      now i'm waiting for intriguing string stories...

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    2. Pandanus Palm (Pandanus spiralis - Screw Palm)

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    3. woohoo go Trace and myself... love used teabags... they are so versatile..

      sitting by the sea
      sipping on my tea
      dipping little toes
      is how the day goes........

      hugs

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  5. Maybe its banana fibre that the string is made of....... I made some banana string the other week and have been lovingly carrying it around in my handbag dreaming of all the beautiful things I can make with it...
    Anne

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  6. it could be nettles? Love the idea of home=made string!

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  7. maybe a scrap piece of dyed silk left over from a talisman dress? xx

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  8. basswood, milkweed, willow, mulberry-some bast of some sort? since it looks to be tea bag it's abaca, which makes sense.

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  9. Well it sure looked like paper to me.
    In 1970 when we bought our first house, there wasn't much money left for interior decoration, so in the second-floor rooms (bedrooms) there came "twisted matten", made out of string of paper. They had a natural light brown colour and were only about 90cm wide. They were stitched together to fitt the width of the room. They were kind of "modern" design (at least for us, ha!) But when you were sitting, or worse knééling on the floor for some time, you had a nót so nice feeling "print" in your knees (or bum) When we hád the money again, part of it was replaced by a softer kind of floor covering ;-)

    So teabags are very useful:
    -they keep the tea leaves together
    -you can print on them
    -you can make string (as you proved yourself)
    -there are even people who make kind of origami with the little printed paper bags the teabag comes in

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    1. oh i remember the "prints" on soft body parts!

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  10. Love the idea of homemade string. Um..a true string story..here goes. When my son was about 5 years old he was frighten he was going to get lost. So he always had a ball of string in his pocket(unknown to me!)..he had heard about string and getting lost apparently from a story he heard in school! Anyway, one day while shopping, l lost him in a supermarket. When eventually he was found and boy was he crying. I thought it was because he was frighened but oh no. Apparently he thought that if you always had a ball of string in your pocket you could find your way home. What he had not fully understood was that you had to use the string not just keep it in your pocket. He was not a happy bunny for a few hours but then decided that drawing maps might be a better idea than a ball of string! Don't you just love children!x By the way what was your string made from India...? Lyndax

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    1. oh dear...poor bunny.

      Annette and Tracy both guessed the string...teabag paper, so they'll both score

      but

      there's still time for more stories!

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  11. oh, that string looks just the kind used to bind wandering beachcombers to mermaids as they were led into the deep. it traditionally is made of sand-bleached seal whiskers and the fine tufts spun from seagull chick feathers. not many are able to make this fine string these days, but if you spend enough time on the shore you may be able to gather enough whiskers and feathers to make a length. a common use by mortals of this string is to make a fine headband to keep the hair from getting in their eyes as they beachcomb. this is very important because you may be captured if stumbling along too close to the water. the maids de la mer will be watching. their heads look just like a seal's bobbing along just under the water. some men do grow their hair long and let it whip around in the wind, obscuring their vision, on purpose. they know mermaids make fine wives, although damp and rather cold. the old timers say if you are able to gather the whiskers of the sealion and at least 3 baskets of small flying fish scales, you may make a fine string net that even Triton himself may have trouble escaping. he is worth his weight in mother-of-pearls and fossilized seastars.

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  12. tea string (a poem)

    a cup of tea

    will comfort me

    string me a riddle

    and set me free

    dance in the moonlight

    twirling twine

    leave me with

    that

    and

    I’ll

    be

    fine.


    Humouring mySelf the near the center of the West North
    ox Marianna

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    1. smiling at you Marianna

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    2. oh choosing the story is going to be tricky indeed....

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  13. You are so clever, India! Tea bags! I was wondering what to do with all of those. . .

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  14. I recognize that string. It's very special, you know. Has its own bit of magic, though few are aware. Most travel this whirled and are oblivious, but not you. You slowed down and looked down and around, in and out, above and in between. And in the looking you found them…though they’d found you first.

    Who? you ask. You already know who, but I'll humor you anyway. The wood sprites and faeries, of course. Those mystical beings of another time, another whirled who remain to care for the woods and streams, the air, the plants that grow and all manner of creatures who inhabit this earth. Yes, even us bumbling humans whom the sprites and faeries are most fearful of. And that is what makes your string so special.

    Legend has it that the Keepers, as they're known, search this whirled for those who are pure of heart, who honor the earth and in the honoring create high art, who have the spirit of a child...always inquisitive and adventurous…yet with the wisdom of a sage.

    In you, dear India, the Keepers found such a soul. And then they did the most miraculous thing. They gathered bits of themselves – a snippet of hair, a sliver of wing, thread from a shirt, a page from a favored book, a corner of Aunt Myrtle’s dishtowel even...whatever bit of themselves or their lives that held a sacred place in their heart. Once gathered, they wrapped and bundled and twisted it all together to create your most wondrous string.

    You see, that piece of sprite- and faerie-fashioned string is a compass, a lifeline of sorts to aide you in your travels across and around this whirled in the name of art. The magic it contains will help you find what you seek, keep you connected to all you hold dear, keep you safe and, most of all, insure that you always find your way home.

    I wonder…have you learned how to use it yet?

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Aah...now I can go back and read what everyone else has written. There are bound to be some good stories here. Thanks for the challenge. Enjoy!

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  16. Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. (Humbert Wolfe)

    A Story by a Follower about a Wanderer (Part I)

    There was a little girl who lived in the woods and drank tea every day. If she was ill, she drank tea to feel better. If she was cranky, she drank tea to soothe her soul. If she was happy, she drank tea with a friend and shared her happiness along with her tea leaves. She had teas for waking up, going to sleep, purifying her innards, and decorating her outers. It seemed that she had special preparations of tea leaves for almost every possible occasion. When she created a particular recipe of herbs and spices and various tea leaves (collected on her many journeys), she would bundle the ingredients into a little pouch she made herself, usually from paper she created from the fibers she found while traveling in the woods of the world. She would fold her papers in special ways, so as to make them into safe packages for keeping her many teas. She loved her unique tea bundles and treated them as well as darling, albeit inanimate, pets. She stored the bundles in special tins and dark crystal vessels, with whimsical lids made of copper and silver and brass and encrusted with all manner of tiny treasures she found on her travels through her own particular patch of woods. She twisted vines into marvelous shelves to give her teas a proper home and when she made her special brews, she always sang to her tea leaves as they steeped.

    This little tea loving girl had a proper name but nobody used it and in time nobody even remembered it, least of all her. This was because everybody had called her “Birdie” since forever, or so it seemed. There were many theories regarding how she came to be called Birdie. Maybe it was because she seemed to hop and flit as she went about her daily chores. Or it could have been because she loved to travel the woods of the world and would visit faraway places, often for very long stretches of time, yet she always found her way back home. Perhaps it was because of her sweet, chirpy little voice and her lovely melodies which she sang wherever she went. Nobody knows and truly, what does it really matter, except that it provides for interesting speculation on a lazy afternoon when one has not much else to think about. Although, come to think of it, when have you ever had an afternoon with nothing to think about?
    (to be continued)

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  17. A Story by a Follower about a Wanderer (Part II)

    When Birdie prepared for one of her voyages, she always gave careful consideration to which teas she would bring along. Having made her choices, she would create special little bags for her teas, much the same as her tea bundles, except smaller so that each bag contained enough tea for just one cup. She wrote the names of each tea on little scraps of fiber and then attached the little name tags to the teabags with lengths of her silky hair. Thus she made her tea wonderfully portable and she always knew which little tea bag contained “Sleepy Tea” and which contained “Friendly Tea” and so forth. On the road, after using a bag for brewing, she would let it dry and then she would write on its little tag a note to herself to remember where she had sipped it, such as “nestled in the branches of the big tree at the top of Nature’s Path” or “at the cabin next to the spring where I drank the delicious water.” She would store the spent tea bags in her much-used satchel (the one with the handles made from carved branches that had fallen in the woods) which she carried with her on trips, expressly for this purpose.

    Once Birdie returned home she would set aside a day to take care of all her used tea bags. First she would remove all the tags and add them to a special collage she made in a never-ending fashion, to serve as a remembrance of the many places she had visited. She would set aside the wisps of hair, to be strewn about her yard for the birds to use when making their nests. She would carefully unfold the paper packets and shake the tiny tea leaves into a storage bin, for they were useful in many ways – as filling for a tiny cushion, to sprinkle on a fire for added aroma, steeped further to make a gentle dye, and so on. Finally, she would smooth out the little pieces of paper which were left behind and pile them up into a pretty little stack which she added to all the other little paper stacks which she kept in the big cupboard her grandmother had brought when the family first came to this particular patch of the woods.
    (to be continued)

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  19. A Story by a Follower about a Wanderer (Part III)

    Birdie lived a wonderful life, caring for her woods and exploring the world. But one day it became quite clear that Birdie was no longer a little girl. In fact she had become a very elderly little woman and her distant travels were now confined to Memory Lane. She would sit in her favorite chair and drink teas with names like “Good for the Bones” or “Soothes the Joints.” She was quite content with her quiet life and though she could no longer go on great journeys, she still enjoyed wandering in her particular patch of the woods, collecting bits of this and pieces of that, for adorning the frame which surrounded her very large and wonderful travel collage. It was on a day when Birdie was gazing at her collage and allowing it to brew memories in her mind, that she decided it was getting to be time to give back to the woods of the world, while she was still able to get about and do as she pleased.

    It was autumn and the winds were swirling about, causing the leaves to dance in circles. The air carried the scent of the clouds and grew brisk as the tree branches grew bare. It was, Birdie decided, the perfect day for her final mission. She brewed herself a cup of “All Corners of the Woods” tea and sat drinking it, next to her wood stove, sitting in her favorite chair. The tea warmed her and enlivened her with just the spirit she needed to embark upon her special errand. She went to Sweetie’s big cupboard - Sweetie being the name by which her grandmother had been known, ever since Birdie had been a wee toddler and allowed to sip from Grandmother’s cup of “sweet tea” - and she retrieved the stacks of teabag papers which had accumulated in great numbers over the many years she had been saving them. She put the papers into her satchel, handful after handful until she could fit no more, which turned out to be perfect as when she was done there was not a single teabag paper left behind.

    Birdie wrapped a shawl about her frail shoulders, picked up her bulging satchel, and ventured into the glorious autumn afternoon. She walked a bit, through her lovely woods, recognizing the trees as old friends. Eventually she found herself high on a hill, at the top of Nature’s Path. The big tree which had lived there since forever, or so it seemed, had dropped most of its leaves and they lay on the ground, fluttering about as the light winds stirred them. Birdie stood still, hunched over with age, and listened for the rising wind. As the wind grew in strength and the leaves swirled about in ever higher and higher spirals of joy, Birdie flung open her satchel and set free all her tiny pieces of tea paper. She watched as the wind picked them up and carried them off to all the corners of all the woods of the world. Then she shuffled her way back to her tiny cottage and sat in her favorite chair, next to the wood stove by Sweetie’s cupboard. And she smiled because she knew her memories would become windfall in a distant wood where they would be gathered by a woman who wanders the world.

    And that, my dears, is the provenance of the tea bags which became India’s string.

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  20. ha! dog hair!!

    no?

    string making reminds me of witches binding breezes into the rope they made as they twined..humming and being drawn into an altered stae with the monotonous repetition of movement...

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    1. the Hair of the Dog would make excellent string...i enjoyed the notion of the witches' twining - like the whirling of the Dervish ...

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  21. visions of tea bags
    draped about the world
    now awaiting new purpose

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  22. teabag string attached to oversized teabags attached themeselves to tags of haiku?

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  23. the piece of string is made out of magic and is as long as it needs to be!
    I have inside information about this because I went along & saw your work at Planet this afternoon in Surry Hills & India.... all I can say is your work speaks deep magic! That silver dress... oh how I wanted to try on that silver dress and shimmy... and your silk panel hung over the desk with the morphing central spine is so mysterious in the shimmering... your work has intrigued me for quite sometime now online but seeing it in real life is in another level altogether... you are b....y brilliant !

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    1. you are too kind. am blushing pinkly now.

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  24. One bright Monday morning a quiet, fine piece of string awoke from an deep slumber perplexed and bemused.A question rolled about in her head , bounced from side to side and gushed out both ears.

    What can it be?
    How can I know?
    Why is this so?
    Who can I ask?
    How will I know?

    So this quiet fine piece of string headed off to ruminate in the warm sun and ponder....
    She sat, she thought, she looked, she muttered, she counted , she mumbled....

    After some time in the great outdoors bathing in the sunlight and watching the warm breeze tickling the leaves above, she decided that this was not the way to solve such a perplexing conundrum.So she shuffled off to visit her Grannie, the knower of all knowledge and the keeper of all questions and the alchemist of all answers...

    But she did wonder, as she entered the doorway , if even her Gran could help her with this one...

    She waited patiently in Grannies parlour sipping lemongrass and ginger tea and nibbling on apple tea cake, making pleasant noises and friendly conversation and spinning from side to side , twirling and untwirling herself.
    Finally, when the time was right,she drew a deep breath and said in a low quiet voice..

    'Gran, please help me. I have wondered and wandered, thought and wraught, sunbaked and sunshowered, twisted and twirled ..... But I just cannot say ... Grannie , how long is a piece of string ....... ? '

    Her Grannie placed down her teacup carefully on the side table and drew in a deep breath...

    'Well my dear'she said ....
    'How long would you like it to be ?' And then she smiled her wrinkled Grannie smile , picked up her tea cup and resumed sipping contentedly.
    And at that moment I knew what my grannie was telling me, some things are not to be answered , some things are not to be known , some things are just to be as long as wish them to be...

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    1. ok after a little proof read i see that
      the last sentence should be ....

      And at that moment the quiet fine piece of string knew what her Grannie was telling her, some things are not to be answered , some things are not to be known , some things are just to be as long as you would wish them to be ....

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  25. Early on I was a tree, strong and tall. The loud machines came and I found myself lying on the ground, seeing the world for the first time from my side. I went off to take on a new shape, ground to a pulp, reformed, metamorphosed. As the lightest, sheerest paper I was weak, but surprisingly strong when wet. Who knew? But then when others like me were cast aside to become dust I took on yet another form, twisted into a third strong shape. I am a world traveler. I wonder where I will go next?

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