Saturday 26 October 2013

finding my feet

it has dawned on me that it is the first time since 1985
that i am living in a dwelling on my ownsome
[note ownsome, not lonesome]

the faculty here at the Oregon College of Art and Craft
have been so kind and welcoming that i feel as if i have been here for more than five days
but that's all it is, so far

even so
the studio walls are filling.
i shall have to grow taller
or find a ladder
in order to make the most of the space

i have been wandering and gathering surface textures
as well as a few words

marvelling at the wonder of the leaves


and then bundling them up

with happy results

and i had a somewhat larger bundle going
a little ambitious for the pot
but a quick flip solved the spatial issue
later today

 a kindly former student
took me to the Japanese Garden

i felt as though someone had taken my soul out
given it a good scrubbing in a hot bath
fed it a lovely warm bowl of chowder
and tucked it in again between freshly pressed sheets
that had been dried in the sun
then read it the most beautiful bedtime story in the whirled

NB the chowder [mentioned above] did not have any koi in it

so now i am back in my wee cottage
reading this splendid book
which i found at Gold Beach
where i called in on my journey because the nice woman at the coffee shop down by the cannery dock makes the best ever double shot moccha frappes, except that it was Sunday and her day off [and who shall blame her, it was a glorious day] and the coffee shop was closed
on pages 14 + 15 there is good advice

i'm glad i bought it even if i did pay rather more over the counter 
than i would have from the Book Depository
if you live in the North-West Pacific and like food 
it's essential reading
the philosophy applies to dye gathering.
except that windfalls don't get much of a mention.

Monday 21 October 2013

north by north west

i didn't take many pictures in San Francisco this time
too busy
listening to the sounds of the city
the glory of foghorns
parrots around t-hill
the whirr of humming birds' wings
the slow drift of the fog
the espresso machine as it unleashes my Africano into the glass
at Cafe Trieste
two older men address each other lovingly in Italian

i sipped my coffee
thought about friendship

and how much certain friendships mean to me
a book i was introduced to by my friends John + Patsy Sangster
on Lopez Island.
i think
i may make this book compulsory reading
for all workshop attendees.

after coffee i headed north.
i could simply have driven up the Interstate 5
it doesn't go anywhere near the edge.
i love the edge
i took the 101

which took me through Fortuna
and past this magical old cinema

i took this photo for my friend Shelley
i wanted to build a fort for her
it was really really cold.
so i went wandering instead

while wandering
i began to fill my pockets with stones
having a vague plan in my mind
to use them in Portland


looking down at my pinny
with its bulging pockets
i remembered that somebody
[contemporary of Virginia Woolf ? or other rejected lover somewhere?]
sewed stones into her dress
and then walked into a river
it would be so easy to do in a place like this
in the fog
footprints would soon be awash
the continental shelf drops away in moments
that was not something i was about to do
the water was far too cold
and i am enjoying the wild ride of this adventure we call 'life'
far too much
then a figure emerged from the fog
wandered over, making greeting noises
showed me a handful of exquisite polished stones 
pulled from a pocket
fished one out
and gave it to me saying
"take this one, it's a lovely amber colour and have a good day"
the stone looked like a piece of cold honey
reminding me of the eyes of a friend
[they are like those of a wolf]
honey coloured unless sparkling with excitement
when they suddenly turn green
 i was already having a good day
but that reminder made it even better


later i saw mollis azaleas
growing right beside the ocean

in Australia these plants are mollycoddled
and protected. otherwise they shrivel in the hot north winds.
here they grow like weeds. sigh.

wandering further north
i found evidence of my people

i left a mark of my own

and now i am in Portland
for six weeks.

Thursday 17 October 2013

at the tin thimble

here at the Tin Thimble in Loomis
we have been gathering windfall in the main street
devising marks to identify each piece of cloth

stringing a story [thank you Sandra for letting me adopt the clothesline to hang clues]

cooking bundles in a fabulous copper pot

eating delicious lunches made by Violette

and sharing a big table
on which to reveal the magic

and again i've had the chance to meet people
with whom i have corresponded in the past
as well as
catch up with some folk
i've encountered before

Monday 14 October 2013


wouldn't it be so comfy to loll about in a pair of onesies all day, like the ones that Izzie wears?
[why are onesies referred to as a pair? that's ridiculous]

if lovely people like Sheri
continue to give me treats for the road
like this

then a pair of onesies
will become an absolute necessity

thank you Sheri, for that massive dose of endorphins :)
and Sidnee for the gin and Liz for my tiny silver heart
the sweetie much earlier in the week
whose name i regret presently escapes me
but who brought me a sustaining chunk of organic ginger root
to feed my tiny teapot

blessings upon you all

a blessing. of sorts.

let me tell you a secret
deep inside
i am a shy
somewhat solitary bear,
it takes courage for me to step into the spotlight
i'd rather stay home than go to parties
[close friends have told me i am socially inept]
and i tend to take things quite literally

i tend to be forthright
i have a strong sense of justice and
i WILL speak out if i see something that is not right

it is how i came off the assembly line, reinforced by how i was raised.

if i kindly advise someone that it would be better
in the interests of [their] potential longevity
not to be consuming food in an atmosphere redolent of toxic vapours
i am doing that out of concern
and from what i perceive to be a duty of care.
in short
i mean well.

so if you then tell me i have "crossed a line" and go on to demand whether i realise that by coming to teach i have "inconvenienced others who normally use the space" and snicker derisively when my Precious rises sponstaneously to my defence

then all i can say is
"Bless you and be Happy"
 i shall not darken your doors again.

the colours of Eugene

astonishing colour from dahlias

weld, a local weed

oak leaves

Eugene's sweetheart, Izzie

birch magic

woad found in the back yard
Eugene has been a most interesting experience. there were lots of lovely coloured leaves drifting about
there was a sweet repeat student [who had been at class in Cleveland a year and a day ago]
i had the opportunity to actually meet several kindly folk with whom i had been corresponding but had not yet connected names and faces in the real whirled
and i had some truly delightful students who bravely followed me into metaphorical woods and greeted the bounding sleeve-rabbits with all the right noises. you know who you are and i thank you!