I wasn’t quite ready, but yesterday began it; the friend who had texted me about mulberry as I left Ragdale came back from his holiday on Monday. We spent a nice grey foggy Tuesday afternoon catching up while we cut apart about half of what he’d salvaged when a mature group of trees were radically trimmed in the lot next to his house. It’s either red or black mulberry. I had some concern about the fact that it had been sitting for over a week, but the limbs were huge and still full of sticky sap, and the bark still strips pretty well even without steaming. Today I finished sorting out the studio, unpacking from Ragdale and clearing the remaining bits of October production chaos. I’m about to go get some aluminum foil to seal the gap between my two largest studio stockpots, and begin. There are two, perhaps three batches to steam and strip. If I like the fiber, I’ll visit again and take the rest; there’s also a smaller amount of white mulberry still to be harvested in my yard. I’d like to be making things but this is (late in) the harvest season: it’s now or not.
Of all the things I never quite imagined I’d ever say, this is probably near the top, but: you can now buy some of my work on, I am not kidding, Amazon, via ZIA Gallery. (Of course, it’s better for me and the gallery if you buy from ZIA directly). I wrestled a bit with it, and eventually decided, OK, it’s odd, but why not? This work has been made, has made its rounds, and my mind is on what’s next, so: off to process more fiber for that.
(A wee bit later; yep, it will be three steamed batches. I am loving the fancy new hotplate, which proved itself immediately at Ragdale; much more powerful than the one I used for years. But at times like these, I do think wistfully of the Morgan’s big cauldron. And volunteers! Though I did have one, who will also be putting the final coat of marine varnish on the snazzy new press beds he built, tomorrow. Press next week!)