The Great, Uh, Scrape.


Second batch of red/black mulberry.

Mulberry week continues and extends. Thursday, I harvested all the white mulberry from the yard, while the second batch of red/black steamed (I did manage to stuff it all into two pots). There was more white than I thought, but two distinct bark varieties; I kept them tied in separate bunches, and was able to steam both together. I also trimmed the lower branches of the volunteer Rose of Sharon tree in the back garden, to keep it from shading its area too much, and steamed that upstairs on the kitchen stove in the small stockpot. I came up to check it after stripping the second batch of red/black mulberry just in time to find the house rapidly filling with smoke. The water had boiled away; I was inadvertently making Rose of Sharon charcoal. Oops. I tossed the pot onto the back porch, grabbed fans, and sucked the smoke out while pulling (very) cold fresh air through the house, then stubbornly added water and went ahead with the steaming.  I lost about an inch on each branch, but still got some fiber to try. And the smell is fading…


Took Friday off to make a few decisions, then yesterday converted the wee studio and began to scrape. The red/black mulberry is difficult, because of how it grew, un-trimmed limbs from big trees, very twisted and convoluted, full of small branches (it was only cut because my friend’s incoming electrical wires got caught in it).  I knew I was going to harvest the white mulberry and kept it trimmed during my summer visits home, so it’s lovely and straight.


Two batches of lovely stripped white mulberry.

Today was spent on an app for something I really want that has nothing to do with art, work, money or travel, though it was nearly as extensive a process as applying for any of those. Fingers crossed. Tomorrow, back to it; I’ll be scraping bark every other day.


On Tuesday, the new press beds arrive. We’ll need to devise their installation supports and install a hose fitting, but very soon: tons of new fiber and complete processing facilities. Repeat: loving this time at home. (And the snow arrived today, too).


While I was harvesting, steaming and burning fiber, Emily Martin’s Pantone Postcard Project began its first official exhibition, in Iowa. In the past few months she’s also given the project informal showings in Venice, Italy (Tipoteca Italiana and the Scuola Internazionale di Graphica di Venezia), the Rare Book Room of the Library of Congress and the annual Guild of Bookworkers meeting in Washington, DC, and the National Library in Santiago, Chile. You can read about all that and see the entire project here (scroll down for the individual postcards).  Thanks, Emily.


The first half-pound!  Red/Black mulberry.