Those lovely reds faded to sienna browns very quickly, and I’ve been entertained by huge numbers of scuttling leaves in the wind: beautiful.
Laundry has to happen, wherever you are. After three days of attempting to get to the Barnhouse machine and always finding it in use, I’ve commandeered both of the machines in the Ragdale House basement, in sheer desperation. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m itching to get back out to the studio, where one more day of labor on the penultimate harvest awaits, but there will also be a necessary run into Lake Forest, once I have clothes. (Am currently attired in an, er, highly eclectic mix of The Last Clean Things, with no socks). Good time for a blog!
Another test piece happened this week for some new work; larger than the first. I’m on the right track but am not quite satisfied yet. Each time, though, they teach me more; each requires three days of drying. Lots of harvesting, steaming, stripping, bark removal and fiber-drying has been happening. What with these and the fibers awaiting a late harvest when I get home, and two more wonderful donated batches, I am looking forward to a very satisfying amount of experimentation for my four-to-six month ‘sabbatical’ at home. (There is a show in April, but I do not yet know if that means travel or just shipping).
Socially, it’s kind of a lonely residency this time, though that’s no one’s ‘fault’. I cannot hear anything in the dining room (for some reason, worse than ever, though my hearing hasn’t changed). I suspect, too, that I may be the first deafened person anyone here has ever encountered on a daily basis. All of which made me even more pleased for this week’s (quick, surprise) visit from an old friend and long-time residency-mate, a lot of generous e-mail input from new and old plant-fiber friends, and (speaking of generosity!) a sweet, wonderful out-of-the-blue gift from Aimee: the summer 2010 issue of Hand Papermaking, about invasive plants! (A very timely arrival too, as I’ve been working with one, and changed the following day’s harvest accordingly). And it’s oddly comforting in the evenings to see posts on Facebook from papermaking friends who are deep in fall harvests as well: connection!
And the final load of laundry is due to come out of the dryer: soon, the studio, the prairie. They are ever-changing, yet constant old friends, and that is more than enough.
As for color, there is always this beautiful red-gold, just-before-sunset light whenever there is sun; it comes very early now with daylight savings. It’s my favorite time of day in any season; I always stop and go out to bask in it. Now that the shrubby foliage has died back somewhat, I went looking for the original Ragdale ear-fungus, which toppled last spring. It’s gone, totally, probably by human means, but I like to think of some critter – maybe the fox – making off with it. But what that light did for this old real fungus in the same location was just gorgeous, yes?