Books and the Book Series

February 2nd, 2016

Books have always been a part of my life. When we were children, my mother would take us to the library. When I was in college I would spend part of a day each week wandering through the stacks. After grad school, I started my library. I have nearly 1,500 books. There are books on art, artists, film, graphic design, gardening, horticulture, novels, children’s books, textbooks, and miscellaneous books on random topics.

I love reading, the way books feel in my hands, turning the pages, the fragrance of paper and ink. I was taught to respect books, but then something happened. I found that I really liked underlining. That grew to writing in the margins and using any white space to record ideas for possible work. Then I started folding corners and pages.

Books

When I open one of my books to locate a quote or some notes that I have made, it is quite enjoyable to revisit the story, to read a few pages or several chapters. To remember the first time that I read the book.


I resisted reading e-books. My iPad is thin, slippery, and has a bit of glare. How would I dog-ear pages, write in the margins, underline…

I tried reading a few books on my iPad and in doing so found that I could customize the text. I could make the text large enough that I no longer needed to wear glasses. I also found that I quite like reading light text on a black background. And I could read in the dark.

Then I found how easy it was to highlight, bookmark, and make notes. I could download the lot from amazon. A few adjustments to the downloaded file and I could import the text into my database of quotes and phrases. Yep, I have a database of words, phrases, quotes.


I have thought about making books, but one thing always stopped me. What will be on the pages? The thought of an empty book, seemed incomplete. I actually attempted constructing a few books over the years.

Twig Books

A couple of books constructed of materials collected from nature, fabric, paper, copper wire, and waxed linen cord. I saved a couple to remind myself why they did not work.

I also made a series of small books constructed of hardware cloth covers coated with Egyptian Paste. The covers were fired to cone 016. Hot enough for the clay to mature, but not hot enough to melt the hardware cloth. I cut copper and aluminum flashing for the pages. I bound the pages and covers together and fired the lot.

Egyptian Paste Book

Egyptian Paste Book Open

The pages have a lovely surface, but they are still empty.


The past several years I have used coded messages in my work. It is quite enjoyable to figure out ways to put text in my work that cannot actually be read as text but is seen as pattern. Well, the text could be read if the code is deciphered. And since I am not a cryptographer, it isn’t too difficult to figure out.

Dont Detail

This is a detail of code in a work that I have since completed. I used Morse code with rust yarn for the dots, gray yarn for the dashes, and cream yarn for the spacers. The bottom left corner has gray, rust, gray which is dash-dot-dash or a k.


I have decided to revisit books again with the idea of including coded text. Each book will have a theme: connection, grief/loss, invisible/visible, kindness, memory, nature, perception/seeing, power, reflection, self, truth…

My plan was to make wool knitted and fulled pages, with stitched coded messages, and dried and stitched plant bits. I knitted all sorts of stitch patterns to see which stitches would work best.

Then something unexpected happened. I had a dream, an epiphany. In the dream rather than making books I was making pages and framing them as artifact. Framed fragments of pages would be more compatible with my body of work. Was my creative self giving me a message or was the dream a mash up of a bunch of things that I had been thinking about throughout the day? No matter, I like the idea.

I began to approach knitting differently. Rather than knitting rectangles for book pages, I wanted the pieces to be odd shaped.

E wrap Purl Cable

The top portion was knitted. The piece was removed from the loom, rotated 45º, returned to the loom, and then the cable pattern was knitted.

Top Portion
Row 1 E-wrap (each peg twice)
Row 2 Purl (wrap)

Bottom Portion (Cable)
Row 1 Knit
Row 2 Purl
Row 3 Knit
Row 4 P,P, Twist Knit, P,P, Twist Knit…

This is the back of the above piece. It is important that the back is interesting because both sides of a page can be visible.

E wrap Purl Cable


This combination of stitches is quite nice. There does seem to be some consistency in my choices. It appears that I like knot-like stitches.

Figure 8 with E-wrap

Row 1 Figure 8
Row 2 E-wrap

If after fulling, the fabric still has holes, I plan to either weave in yarn or an i-cord.


Linen Stitch

The idea was to knit a long piece, full it, and fold it in half to create a signature. Then bind several signatures together.
Row 1 K all
Row 2 K, S… K
Row 3 K all
Row 4 S, K… S

It will be fun to see how the series evolves.


Agave Watch 1 February 2016

February 2nd, 2016

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the agave next door is still standing.

There was rain. And there was what seemed to be strong wind through the night. But it still stands.

Agave

I visited sloweather.com to find out what the agave survived.

Wind Speed Graph

The wind speed was a tad less than 25 mph.

Wind Gust Graph

The highest wind gusts were approximately 34 mph.

A tad windy, but not enough to topple the agave.

Over the past few months the agave has developed quite the tilt. It is difficult to actually see the tilt from my studio because the Brugmansia have leafed out, started to bloom, and are obscuring my view.

Agave from the Studio Window

This is the first image that I shot. It is dated 24 March 2015.

First Agave Image

Will the agave still be standing 24 March 2016?


A Little Rain and…

January 23rd, 2016

Mushrooms, Moss, and Hellebores

Mushrooms

Moss Growth

Hellebores


Lovely Mold Growth

January 23rd, 2016

Interesting that the mold growth is not just circular. Unfortunately I will not be able to document the progress of the bit that appears to be a cylinder. Someone disposed of all of the moldy ones.

Mold Growth


Agave

January 15th, 2016

Agave

Agave has narrowed in width and has more of a tilt.


Loom Knitting Pages for a Book

January 8th, 2016

I am attempting to knit pages for a book on a sock loom. The yarn is Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool. The color is natural.

Knitting on Sock Loom

Row 1 U wrap knit
Row 2 U wrap knit, Slip;… U wrap knit
Row 3 U wrap knit
Row 4 2 U wrap knit, Slip; end with Slip, and 2 U wrap knit stitches

Slip Stitch–start a purl stitch and slip the new loop over the peg, rather than pulling the existing loop off of the peg and replacing with the new loop.

Sock Loom Knit Front

Sock Loom Knit Front

Sock Loom Knit Back

Sock Loom Knit Back

A similar stitch pattern on a larger loom with two strands of LB Fishermen’s wool. I didn’t want to felt the piece because I wanted a bit of the stitch to show.

Chinese Waves Stitch

Row 1 Knit
Row 2 K, Slip…, K
Row 3 K
Row 4 K, K, Slip… S, K, K

U wrap Knit
Slip–remove loop from loom, lay working yarn on peg (to the inside of the loom), replace loop.

When fulled, the piece was too thick.

Chinese Waves Stitch Fulled


Loom Knitting Help

Knitting on the Net

Great Tuteate YouTube Loom Knitting Videos

Poinsettia Leaf

January 7th, 2016

Gorgeous Colors

Poinsettia Leaf


Happy New Year 2016

January 1st, 2016

Our tradition continues–January 1st, visit the beach.

2016 Happy New Year

Early this morning it was 35º. When you live on the California Central Coast it is common to dress in layers. Today I added a couple of additional layers thinking it would be cold. It wasn’t. It was a warm and gorgeous day.

Today low tide was at 10:00-ish, but not exactly low tide. It was about 2 feet. The dark curved area in the upper portion of the photo is actually a great area for exploring tide pools. Today totally covered with water.

Low tide

And part of the New Year tradition is to search for holey rocks. I do not believe that they are a source of good luck, but nature-made holes are very cool. In the past I have used rocks with holes in my work.

Holey Rocks


Agave and Hawks

December 27th, 2015

Recently we have been seeing hawks in our neighborhood. The past week there was one perched in the top of the agave. Yes, the agave still stands. I watched the hawk for several minutes. It was grooming itself until a pair of doves attempted to land on the agave. Suddenly, it stretched out its wings and took flight after the startled doves.

Hawk in the Agave

Yesterday there was a thump on the kitchen door. We found this little hawk.

Hawk in Courtyard

We have a bird feeder in the courtyard that attracts finches, sparrows, blue jays, and doves. Perhaps the hawk came for breakfast. After several minutes the hawk flew away.


Acacia Bloom

November 18th, 2015

Just when I thought my dollar find Acacia was not long for this world, it started to bloom.

Acacia bloom