Tuesday 29 November 2011

Journals, collages, and an amazing auction.

It's amazing how quickly one forgets things.  A little over a decade ago, I enrolled in a few courses offered by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists' Guild (or CBBAG, affectionately pronounced "cabbage"). I was trying to find a way to marry my love of paper and books and of making things with my hands.  Seemed a no-brainer.  It also helped me with my blank journal addiction: I couldn't - and still can't - walk through the journal section of a stationary store without having heart palpitations.  For a few years, I made quite a number of journals:  I sold some, used some, and gave some away to my long-suffering friends and family members ("Not another danged journal for Christmas...")

When I made my latest one last week, it had been so long since I'd done it - a few years - that I found myself making all sorts of cardinal mistakes.  I had to refer to my old notes, but they didn't help much, as I'd left out many of the very basic, obvious points which no self-respecting binder would have to think twice about.  Oh, well, at least the cover paper is beautiful.  While I was at it, I made a mini-journal with the cut offs.  I like all things mini, and enjoy these tiny books which are made in exactly the same way as the larger ones.

I've been working on a new series of collages, using leaves and flowers that I've found and pressed, as well as pieces from the old letters I purchased last year in London's Spitalfield's Market, and papers, some of which were already painted, and others which I painted a while ago.  I found myself very much influenced by the season's change with the pallet for these.

And I wanted to add my pipes to spreading the word about an amazing auction happening right now within the mythic arts community.  There are fabulous items - books and art and more - being auctioned off for a very, very good cause.  It can be found at Magick4Terri.

Monday 28 November 2011

Liebster Blog Thanks. Zwei Mal.

Katherine Langrish, writer of folklore inspired fantasy books for children and young adults (which have been very much enjoyed by this adult), and keeper of the wonderful blog Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, has included my blog in her list of the five recipients of the Liebster Blog award.  Thank you very much, Katherine!


The premise is that this award is that it is to go to five blogs you enjoy, each with fewer than 200 followers.  Upon receiving one the protocol is to:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you .
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favourite bloggers.

And I'm now coming to the Zwei Mal (two times) in my title.  

A confession and an apology, actually.  A number of months ago, Kate at Ogham Moon awarded me a Liebster Blog, which I thanked her for and was going to fulfill the four points above.  However, at the time I was still finding my blog-legs and felt self-conscious about announcing an award, and I wasn't quite sure how to go about passing it along, and when I finally got it all sorted out in my shy-techno-slug of a brain, it seemed like it was too late (you know, like when you let too much time pass before responding to an e-mail, and it gets harder and harder to do).  Stupid, but there you have it.  

But now with a year of blogging under my belt, and a bit more confidence at putting myself out there, I am very happy to announce the receipt of this award.  Thank you, Katherine and Kate!  

And now, to pass it along:

Kit and Kaboodle  This fascinating blog is kept by Kate, of Ogham Moon above, and is where I first got to know her.  She combs the net for curiosities in music, video, and images, as well as posting anecdotes and pictures from her visits to interesting places in England, and sometimes (though not often enough, if I might be so bold) includes her haunting re-touched photographs.  

101 Ways to Draw a Rabbit Jan's blog is a lovely mix of whimsical musings about art, writing, and life with occasional anecdotes about a lively ferret thrown in.  I always enjoy reading her book recommendations and seeing her latest paintings, which often have mystical or fairy tale themes.

Windsongs & Wordhoards Carrie shares her wonderful, mythically themed paintings on this enchanting blog and, very generously, gives behind-the-scenes glimpses of her works in progress which is always fascinating to see. 

Jo Treggiari's blog is full of interesting, witty, insightful posts about her journey as a writer for children and young adults.  

And last, but certainly not least: Gathering Scraps This is writer Claire Massey's fairly new blog in which she posts about books and films, as well as current events in arts and letters which she attends and, at times, participates in.  Makes me wish I had a magic carpet to get out to even half of these events.  

And thanks to everyone linked to above for such diverse, creative, and inspiring blogs. 

(A - hopefully - temporary ps:  It seems the graphic for the Liebster Blog isn't showing up on my post.  Sorry.  I've been trying to fix it, but nothing seems to work.  Seems like it should be simple: copy and paste.  Even I can do that.  Going to take a break now, before rising blood pressure turns my head into a molotov cocktail.)

Sunday 13 November 2011

In the time of re-remembering.

The air is incensed now with woodsmoke and dying leaves.
A time when everything changes.  Is not what it was.  What it seemed.  

First the spectacular dying of the year;  the trees and shrubs show their shape-shifting nature.  In the trickster hedges and copses, I sometimes see figures on the very edge of sight: a shape, a movement. Nature has her Carnival time.  She plays, wears costumes and masks, she flirts, and dances until dawn. 

Then drops, exhausted, under a covering sky.   


And sheltering mists.

Now, the introspective time of the year.  Time for retreating.  For hearth and home.  Kettle and comfort.  
Ladybugs seek a bed for the winter.   

I find I read more poetry at this time of year than any other.  I write more poetry too in this pleasantly melancholy time of re-remembering.  

My old journal is just about full.  Time to get out the bookbinding tools and make another one.

Work on a poem jotted down in a sketchbook inspired by the sketch of a dying apple.   

Every time we remember, we minutely alter the memory by what has passed and who we have become between remembrances.  It's a slippery eel of a thing, memory.  A shape-shifter when cornered.  Proteus in a bear-hug.  

In her website's October column, Jeanette Winterson wrote something which struck a chord:  
“I come here [Paris] to live another life, connected to but not identical to my own. I read different books. I speak (not well) a different language. I eat different food and change my usual habits. Consequently I think about things differently, and when that happens, I remember things differently too. This is striking and surprising, as though the layers and layers of time and mind and experience and capacity will re-order themselves if given the opportunity to do so.
I felt relief this morning walking over the Pont Neuf with the dog. The relief was not just the happiness of a short break, though it was that too, but it was also a tectonic shift in my social relations with myself and my life. We are in relation to our ourselves, and that can change, stretch, recolour, recode.”

For me, this is the season for reevaluating my relations without and within.  This is only in part due to its being my birth month - birthdays always give an opportunity to contemplate, to remember, to reevaluate.  But it's mainly because of the season.  The strong changes both without and within.  A mirroring.  A magical symmetry.  A slow, slow dance.  
Think I'll end with a poem by one of my favourite poets, Gwendolyn MacEwen, whom I posted about (herea few months back.  

Dark Pines Under Water

This land like a mirror turns you inward 
And you become a forest in a furtive lake; 
The dark pines of your mind reach downward, 
You dream in the green of your time, 
Your memory is a row of sinking pines.

Explorer, you tell yourself this is not what you came for
Although it is good here, and green.
You had meant to move with a kind of largeness,
You had planned a heavy grace, an anguished dream.

But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper
In an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.  

* Gwendolyn MacEwen's works copyright to the Estate of Gwendolyn MacEwen.