Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lilac Creek

The challenge book I made for week 6 is titled Lilac Creek. It's a tiny book, about one and a half inches on each side. The story of this book is about the beauty of nature, about the celebration of creating things ...of being involved in a process,  and it's about the joy in small things.

                                            Lilac Creek

     The pages are handmade paper I made by beating kozo (the Japanese mulberry bush) fibers with a wooden mallet. There is a magic in drumming that goes way back; and the rhythmic pounding of the mallet on the table was delightful and enlivening. There were a group of us that day, and as we pounded the piles of kozo stalks, we became a laughing, sassy, happy tribe.  When I had the right consistancy of soupy pulp, I sprinkled in crushed mica I had gathered from the mountain paths and dirt roads at Penland where I sometimes live in the summers.. Then I formed the sheets of delicate paper by dipping in a papermaking screen and draining off the excess water. In the finished paper sheets, mica catches the light and throws it back to me, like a sweet gift, a flirtation, a smile from the earth.

And I added sheets of paper I marbled on another day. Marbling too, is a process that is somewhat magic, usually fun, often challenging, and always interesting. Sometimes it works perfectly.. sometimes the pigments drop to the bottom of the tray, or colors muddy up, or bubbles form like some poltergeist's light... unexpected and unwelcome. But this marbled paper was lovely with its swirling patterns of color and shaded hues of stone-like shapes.  Some of the marbled papers reflected the muddy browns of a North Carolina creek bed, the olive greens of algae and moss, and the purple hues of lilac and paulownia petals floating along a lazy stream...

The book cover, etched vines on copper then enameled, holds the pages by coptic stitching along an exposed spine. And the clasp of macrame linen thread with a handblown glass bead and a pearl, keeps the contents safe from too much exposure...

My book for week 6 is Lilac Creek... reflections of walking alongside a vine-covered meandering creek,  smells of honeysuckle and lilac, heat of a sauna-hot Carolina-blue-sky summer day, sounds of a cool stream trickling close by.... Where is your Lilac Creek?

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