Work and Wealth

The pictures show how it’s going around here; I’m very happy.

I found a stash of old winter milkweed and stripped it, leaving the grey bark and black spots to be included in the paper. It’s cooked and ready to be hand beaten as needed.

The afternoon sun (sun!) makes the bronze beauty glow.

There are buckets of hemp waiting,  processed two ways; half came out of the beater at 90 minutes for its marvelous mottling, and the rest stayed in to be overbeaten: dark but translucent, high-shrinkage, tough.

While I’m doing all this, I’m working: a (currently) e-mail based, paying project that’s also great fun with a fun, great partner, and still working to take care of us here at home.  Not that all this papery stuff isn’t work; it is, in fact, my work, but it’s also a source of quiet joy, simultaneous contentment and excitement.  So is a visit to my art supplier, above…

…especially when that comes with lunch with a good, dear friend to talk over big, big news, coupled with a long visit to another dear nurturer, and the surprise of seeing an unexpected young friend in an old familiar place…and is topped off by this gorgeous, uncharacteristic February weather.  Life feels so fine and full right now (and it’s all brought on, one way or another, by my work).

And after today’s harvest is stripped and cooked tomorrow, five (really six) fresh pulps will be ready to go, to be mixed, matched, experimented with, shaped. I also filled a big pocket in my bag with unexploded seed pods to play with at a later time, an unexpected find so late in the season.

The University of Dallas has published photos of the Paper in Space exhibition: it looks like a lovely, rich show…I’d love to see it in person but I’m happy here and now, which makes me a very wealthy woman.

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7 thoughts on “Work and Wealth

  1. i just love the tone of your post, melissa, the good things coming your way, the good work/real work. that’s willow, isn’t it? oh, and your beater looks to be alive! beautiful!

  2. Thank you, ladies.

    Velma, it’s dogbane…the purply red didn’t show up in the last (artificial-light) photo. I’ll probably be asking you about those seed pods!

  3. Hello Melissa,
    I am in the Meadow Studio at Ragdale and Linda came to my studio and mentioned that you were out there someplace on the prairie collecting.
    Sorry that I didn’t see you and ask you in.
    Best,
    Paula Overbay

  4. no wonder i couldn’t identify it, it’s so straight there–here, it’s contending with a hill, rocks, bushes and overgrown meadow.

  5. Glad to meet you, Ronnie and Paula.

    Velma, I never thought of that. Yep, this is flat flat flat Illinois, and the dogbane (and milkweed) in this meadow grows straight and tall, nothing to obstruct it. The big bluestem and prairie dock can get to 7-8 feet, sometimes taller…it’s pretty spectacular! But so are ‘curly’ plants.

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