In Between

I've been in limbo since I returned from Australia, especially after I finished blogging about my trip. I've unpacked, even washed paint palettes with methylated spirit; I have ideas and plans, but a little heavy on the bookbinding/drawing/mm side; it's been a little cold inside; and Ben's been home so we've been hanging out without doing a whole heck of a lot. We had planned to visit Christchurch for a couple of days during his time off, but he had a mini dental emergency and he's been uncomfortable on antibiotics; but at least extraction was not called for - it was the tooth next to the one which bothers him usually.
I worked on the postcard some more; they are photographed upside down because when I work on them, I try to make them interesting from multiple sides, though they don't necessarily end up so. I used the methylated spirit to take some unwanted paint/media blobs off the book pages from the workshops; these worked sometimes if the paint and media underneath were piled on thickly, but sometimes they just dissolved the desirable paint layers and made holes.

Hope is mentoring me in making my own Vincent stamps and stencils. I've manipulated his self-portraits into crude gray scale pictures but need to simplify the fields further and then make sure there are no "islands". While in Australia, Carol showed me a book she bound and is in the process of filling; it was beautiful and interesting and unforgettable.

That got me Googling bookbinding images, which got me hocked on artist/bookbinder Roz Stendahl, blog and YouTube, who turned out to be from the Twin cities, which in turn made me nostalgic enough to join the Twin cities Urban Sketchers group on Facebook, and even wishing I could spend a day at the Minnesota State Fair. (I also found out from her blog the authors of the bread book Sam recommended live in Minneapolis.)

I don't know how they tie in with my weaving, but I am interested in some more drawing/sketching.

I read the one book I bought in Australia; it wasn't so wonderful, it's from Tate and a little Anglo- and Gaugin-centric, but it got me back in the swing of reading about art in France in that era, and looking up works by more painters. 

Both Ben and I cooked. Spring is coming regardless of my plans, so at least we're looking forward to the coming salad and fresh veg season. But my breads are still iffy; perhaps I need the bread book to complete the circle.

Tomorrow is the start of September. Ben goes back to work; weeding, finishing my books from the workshops or postcards, weaving, or cooking, whatever it is, I hope to get back on at least one horse. 


Weaving Thoughts

Lately I've been thinking of weaving with cashmere on my big loom. I've had so many broken warps in the last little while, (is there ever a big while?) it was time I got analytical not just tenacious.

On the 4-shaft Jack with metal heddles and a good shed, I weave with Japanese 100% in 2/20 and 2/26 and Cashmere70/Silk30 2/20 at 12-, 15-, and 18-EPI in twills and plain, usually with the Schacht end-feed with red pirns, and seldom broke a warp.

On the 16 with Texolv and also a good shed, I use the usual suspects mentioned above, alone and in combination, plus a loosely plied 100% 2/14 in combination with the them, as well as Doni's cashmere mix in multiple colors, at 15-, 18-,  21- and 24-EPI, I think, in twills as well as fussy network, using both the Schacht and a selection of Swedish lightweight boats.

The glaringly obvious is never to use the loose 2/14 in the warp: I declared so to Mom when I first saw the cone was mad to think I could get away with it combined with more reliable yarns; I just couldn't resist the colors. But beyond that, I'm starting to think it may not be only the closer setts but also the fussy network which lifts and drops all over the show increasing occasions where warp ends rub against neighbors mercilessly. Maybe cashmeres and fussies don't mix, but this is a theory still because on the Jack, several warps of Log Cabin at 18-EPI presented no trouble.

So, revisiting these gift box drafts has been on my mind; these at 18-EPI never broke a warp. There are endless, (well, many,) combinations I can make with four blocks of 4-end twills, but I can also reduce the background to plain and divide the remaining 14 into a number of twill and basket blocks.

The Saori-inspired idea is to use pickup in my fussis to accentuate small parts; for example, I may use unmercerized, saturated-colored cotton or even cashmere- or merino-silk mix sup weft in a diamond shape to accentuate the jewel-like look in "regal" looking design. (Is it India or Laos that has those looks?) This is also only an idea in my head but potentially useful.

Continuing on the theme of my emerging knowledge/acceptance of my own preferences and subsequent confidence in how I use them from yesterday, I've become unbothered by the flurry of new weaving books. It started out because of financial constraints some years ago, but then I already had ample guilt about buying any books but not reading them. My unsmall stash and (perceived) lack of access to new material (perceived as requisite) to sample/experiment also helped.

Plus, I'm a notoriously slow reader/understander, and even slower to sample/experiment, so not buying meant a more buoyant, unencumbered mindset. I could concentrate on ideas brewing in the background for ages or popping up, as we say in Japan, like mushrooms after rain.

It doesn't mean I don't want books, so if one sounds good, I'll get it later. You must, on your part, keep those reviews coming, please!!

All in all, I feel I've grown up a smidgen, not taller but a tad maturer in the last little while. Kaz reckons 57 is the magic age, when Saori's Jo Misao started weaving, so in my case it's just in the nick of time at 56 and 1/3. 

This afternoon we're going to clean out the storage under the stairs and get to the bottom of that smell! Oh, Ben's home all week. 
Kaz's neighbors: huge, scary-looking pelicans, shot from quite a distance away. The resort I stayed for the mixed media workshops had daily pelican feeding but I was too scared to go.


Thoughts and Pics, Australia

I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable I feel in my making. I see technical weaknesses in things I do, but now know I know a few things about my making; I can work with most colors and/or combinations, (though I desperately needed help with that one hard cover page in my previous post;) I like starting out with a small selection of colors or techniques but will add more if doing so improves the outcome. To that end, I'm not afraid of trying out new things in ways I don't immediately like, nor of discarding things not for me, but then I can usually see ways of using a technique so I don't have to discount anything. More importantly, I feel comfortable in my preferences so I don't have to shout in my defense. Sometimes.

Opportunely we finally had a debrief dinner for our drawing exhibition last night. I said all I wanted to but it didn't take long because I didn't have to think as I spoke; that's a refreshing change and I love the idea of me talking less.

You can take a walker out of big cities but you can't take big cities out of that walker. I live in heavenly Nelson with so much walking/trecking/tramping options in any direction, but I don't do much here except in our tiny CBD/downtown. Drop me in Yokohama/Tokyo, Brisbane or Sydney and come rain or shine I am in my element. Enough said; I'm not as lazy as I thought I had become; just in the wrongish place.

Now for pics.
The painting end of the Indigenous Arts space at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, looking at probably my most favorite painting from the whole trip.
Best of about a dozen attempts; I saw two kangaroo traffic signs, too, but wasn't quick enough for pics. Shucks.
Another contender for my favorite panting from the trip, in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gallery at Art Gallery of New South Wales, though hardly enough TSI art for my taste.
A Vincent, though I'm not a fan of his Dutch paintings. I loved the sunset colors of Soutine better, and I think the colors were clearer in real life.
A disproportionately large bird on top of a delicate-ish-looking tree.

And this concludes my Australia report. Unless I think of something else. Gotta go put the rest of the stuff away now.


Mixed Media Workshops, Australia

Yes. Well, it may have been because I saw it as an extension of drawing or my mental health postcards. Or I needed a technique to commemorate Dad's life and use his many pictures in a meaningful way. (I haven't shown you a box I brought back!) Or I wanted to know how Seth manages to have so much fun day after day after day on his blog. Whatever the reason, I signed up for it. Three workshops, in fact.

All three workshops I signed up for aimed to create a "book" of some kind.  
Day 1: a journal meant to be bound at the top but I had a few winged pages and must cut the tops of the wings so they fold in. (Is that the correct description?) I'm almost finished with the background painting, but there are quite a few more steps left for backgrounds. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but nine days later the pages are still not completely dry. I was so lucky the title on the cover was done by Kaye, an experienced calligrapher in the same class.
Day 2: a small accordion book of photos; again, the pages are not dry so further background work awaits but this is the first book I want to return to. Everything relates to Dad and on the left, I used the map of Bergen Alicja sent me in W2W2. I suspect this is only the first of a few Dad books to come. 
Day 3: an unbound book, (i.e. just loose book covers) showcasing all the techniques we learned; they will be bound/wrapped with a ribbon or a piece of fabric when completed. I had great trouble with residual paint/medium on the protective plastic on the table sticking back to my work in progress, (really bad on second left piece,) so peeling those off would be my first task. We worked on seven covers, on both sides, and the far right backup board has just one layer of paint, because two of my favs decided to stay in Australia.
The left one lives with Hope and the right, with Carol. I was thrilled they liked them enough to want to keep them. I had trouble with some pages, but these two came easily. 
These are unfinished backgrounds only so they are not finished/polished in the way I would have liked; the idea is to work further with collages, stamps, stencils, rub-ons, and I'm also interested in some free-hand drawing and taking off unwanted bits. Hope's on the left has "Unfinished" on the other side, a wonderful reminder for the both of us.

The classes were great fun and Seth a wonderful teacher. We were in a rush to learn all the techniques so not many of us progressed beyond background paintings, but we had sufficient instructions and samples to know how to proceed. Imperfection was labeled the "best parts" and I tried my best to experiment with layers-upon-layers, textures, and complexity.

I'm not sure where mixed media sits in my life, but there is definitely room. I'm keen to use a few material/techniques I already have/use, (collage, stamps/stamp pads, inclusion of my fivers/textiles, gesso, drawing, but I'm so inept with stencils) and one new thing I liked in class, acrylic glazing liquid, which slows down the drying but creates transparent/translucent color layers. I must also learn to work cleanly and to remove the unintended messy bits.

I kept telling myself I like simpler, slicker, flat pages; (can you see the orange bottom, a twin of the top right piece in the pic, in the small collaged piece?)
But then I did this, too. (This started with the red thrums from Kaz's workshop but I didn't like the paint colors I used and piled up glaze and gesso in many layers. In the end, Linda and Seth helped me with color choices.) 
Somewhere in between;
appeals to me the most, more interesting than my postcard in progress.
Finding a new technique is almost as exciting as making new friends but these classes came with a few new cohorts with whom I hope to keep in touch.

How wonderful, this life of making.

Saori Workshop, Australia

Both Saori-style weaving and mixed media art appear to allow, even encourage, spontaneity and imperfections which are the antithesis of how I try to weave, so naturally many questioned my motive for signing up for these workshops. In Australia, no less.

As regards Saori, I was curious why Kaz, who invested many years perfecting her skills, would want to reboot, whether this was a regression, and what she meant by Saori ways of thinking/approach; not exactly to bring her back from the dark side, but to understand.

In class we had five students, experienced weavers, second-generation weavers, an expert spinner and a textile person on her third stint at Kaz's. Unless we brought our warp, we were assigned looms dressed with black cotton in two weaving width and some "irregular plain threading" on two shafts, sometimes sleyed irregularly, for a weft-faced cloth. We were given free range with a big selection of wefts and some slivers and were shown a few mostly hand-manipulated techniques periodically, but otherwise we did as we pleased.

Most, but not all, the techniques I'd seen in Davenport's Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving, and/or Gilmurray's Weaving Tricks way back, but some were new. I relied on the tapestry technique I picked up last year, because this is how I imagined Saori weaving "should" look like, but I tried others also.

I had a hard time with the black warp, not only because I hadn't woven with black for a long time and couldn't see what I was doing, but I once again had stereotype pictures of weft-faced, black-warped Saori cloths. For Day 2, Kaz gave me a red warp and I became a little flexible and fluent.

I steam-pressed my samples just before shooting, my normal process; these would have looked more "Saori-like" and 3D if I hadn't.
Day 1's black warp, and goodness me, I started with black wefts; Day 2 I recall starting with purples.
Over-reliance on the tapestry technique, thinly disguised by mixing bouclé.
I did a Margery and included some twill pick up, about the only time I felt I was engaged in "my craft", to tell you the truth.

Make no mistake, I enjoyed the workshop. Being with other weavers was no small part and to see what they do on similar black warps. Kaz is a super teacher and Saori looms are lovely to work on; in fact, their foot looms were so quiet every sigh, comment and expletive of mine could be heard by all. And I was the only one who talked while working.

It was nice to rediscover hand-manipulated techniques; I see ways of combining them with many shafts; that includes looks I considered creating by dyeing or embroidery. Beyond that, if I were to pursue Saori style weaving, I'd have to practice so hard to achieve spontaneity and the loose look is not immediately to my taste to warrant the effort at this point.

I pinched a bout of Kaz's hand-dyed thrum; you may see these as wefts in the not-too distant future.
* * * * * 

I can't remember what I was going to show you for a special August 5 post; I remember planning something but on the day I did something else, perhaps relating to Australia, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Anyway, August 5, 1995 was the day I wove my first project on my Rigid Heddle, after several samples including all the hand-manipulated techniques in the two books. Maybe I'll remember the anniversary next year, but maybe not; I didn't weave much while I worked until I quit my last job in late (?) August 2004, and lately I've concentrated on looking ahead rather than back.

What next for all of us??


Back from Australia

A "short" recap.

Wednesday was taken up by errands in Nelson and travelling to Brisbane.

I had only Thursday in Brisbane. I arrived at the Art Shed before their opening time, waited patiently, and browsed every isle exercising great self-control, coming out with relatively little. The most notable purchase was a set of 12 ink blocks; a giant box of the pencil version was on sale in Japan and though that box was too, too big for me, I often wondered about the medium. Now I can experiment. Also many questions answered, but not all; I was too excited.

Then I ventured out to Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Arts a block away from my accommodation. The latter's indigenous arts room is one of my favorite museum rooms anywhere but I've really become a fan of museums' own collections exhibitions since my last visit to QAG, and spent most of the time in there again. In between, (it's located between the two museums,) I really enjoyed this exhibition at the State Library of Queensland. And needless to say, I spent considerable time in each of the museum/library stores, but came out unscathed, in spite of the tax-year-end book sale at GOMA.

I had on hand postcards and drawing material to work on while traveling, and I started working on it in Brisbane.

On Friday I managed some people-doodling at the airport, then arrived at Old Bar to meet Kaz and Sampling and to do a Saori workshop on the weekend. On my flight, the lovely lady next to me wondered how we'd find each other if we never met them before, but I knew Kaz from her blog pics and besides, I reassured her, "I'm the only middle-aged Japanese woman on this flight, so I think they'll manage."

A separate post on the workshop will follow, but I have to comment on the variety/colors of pebbles on Old Bar beach; I don't think I've seen so many of either on one beach before; if you are ever on the North Coast of New South Wales, Old Bar is worth a visit for that reason alone, but as long as you're there have at least one meal at Sai.

Monday was spent tying up loose ends: me finishing my Saori class warp, wet-finishing, translating Saori book passages more hilariously than Kaz ever expected, eating the last of a yummy orange cake, and Kaz discovering my "train ticket" was indeed for a bus operated by the train company. Just in time.

On Tuesday I went to Gosford to meet Hope, (spotted her outside the train station from her FB pics,) had a fabulous Lebanese dinner with Hope and Jonathan, and spent the evening sitting in front of the fire looking at Hope's numerous sketchbooks discussing making, mixed media, and portraits.

On Wednesday Hope drove Carol and me to Lake Macquarie for the Mixed Media workshops; again, I'll write a separate post about Seth and the workshops, but I must mention the venue had a fantastic restaurant; one lunchtime quite a few of us had a second panna cotta and the next day had helped ourselves for a second serving of kalamari. Classes started on Thursday, but since I knew I would need some down time by then, I didn't sign up for any and instead put a warp on Hope's RH loom.

On Monday Hope dropped me off at the Gosford train station, but when I arrived at Sydney Central station it was bucketing down. I arrived at the hotel at noon, was told my room won't be ready until 2PM, (didn't believe it; it's not a small place, but that's what it says on the reservation so it's OK,) but I walked to Museum of Contemporary Arts, in the rain, in the lunch time traffic; browsed the museum shop, didn't like the woman/textile art of, among other things, human innards made of yarns, but enjoyed their permanent collection, had a quick lunch, caught the train to Central, checked into my room, and changed into dry clothes. I was grumpy and prepared to hate Sydney by then.

I met Claudia, who moved out of Nelson a year ago, and before dinner she took me to an art supply shop for me to get some gold-, silver- and copper-leaf pens Seth showed us. We had Mexican, (can't remember where,) for dinner, and went to a funky bar and I got home after 10PM - very late for me!

I was planning to sleep in late and have an easy day Tuesday, but I was out the door by 8.30 and arrived at Australian Museum 25 min too early, so kept walking to Art Gallery of New South Wales and arrived 35 minutes too early, but I waited for this one because I always regretted not going in in 1988. It was so worth it, again, their permanent collections being the best part, including one van Gogh; the museum shop was mind-blowing and it was hard not to come home with a van Gogh book I've only heard about; it weighed 3kg; I had them weigh it. I also descended to their library to ask about books on the Torres Straights Island art, (especially 3d,) I've been looking for over a decade, and was told there are none; only a few pieces appear in some of the Australian indigenous art books. What she got out for me, I looked, but I had seen many before. To date, Otago Museum holds the best collection I've come across.

I took the train to Newtown, but successfully walked past Arts on King, (where I knew a book sale was taking place,) and several other art, book, and herbal shops. I was nearing the end of Newtown and was going to go as far as the last traffic light when I finally found Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher and had a Viennese Schnitzel most adamantly recommended by Carol. Instead of turning back and walking past those other tempting shops again, I kept walking towards Sydney CBD, past three or four universities and rows of terrace houses, when suddenly I saw Powerouse Museum near my hotel on the map. Since it's only the most exciting art place I found on the Internet of late, I had to go. I was exhausted on arrival and had energy for only their shop, so I bought some Shaun Tan postcards. As I was walking away from the place, I noticed an exhibition he was involved with was still on so I staggered back, and it was oh-so worth it. (Since it was nearly closing time a security guard tried to tell me to come back another day so I told her I was flying back to New Zealand the following day, whereupon she snuck me in free of charge!)

I had Tapas and Sangria with Claudia at a place where we happened to walk past, and was delivered back to the hotel by 9PM, packed and went to sleep. I needed to get up by 5AM on Wednesday, but luckily (?) woke up at 3.48AM so I stayed up, did my morning routine slowly, and enjoyed my last Sydney train ride to the airport. On my flight, I was seated next to a man who smelled like wet contents of an ashtray, but was allowed to move to the last row, so I had a good flight home. Landing in Christchurch and going through the processes, I ever so relieved to be back in New Zealand. And then Ben was waiting for me. In very cold Nelson. (I.e. I can still plant garlic.)

My time in Australia was wonderful. I like Australians, they are warn and enthusiastic, except when they get officious and authoritarian because of their roles, (airport, security, even hotel receptionist,) and then they are a little intimidating. I had horrible weather in Sydney but apparently it arrived after months of dry weather so I can't complain.

I used to tell Ben we should one day have a month-long Australian holiday but it's such a big country a month may just cover the eastern coat of New South Wales and either Melbourne or Brisbane but not both. Sydney alone could easily take up a week. But then Claudia told me about MONA in Hobart, Tasmania, which alone could easily take up two days, so all I can say is there are unlimited holiday options in that huge, our nearest country next door.
My best shot from the trip; Art Gallery of New South Wales.


Elbow Warmer

If spinning is mixing mud and water with my foot on a warm day for that perfectly voluptuous experience, knitting is building castles with the mixture. In a storm. Possibly in the dark. They make me be in a particular season with no consequences.

August arrived and of course it's warm and spring-like, warm enough we haven't lit the fire in the evening, but some nights we've donned our hats, as much for fun as for warmth.

Last night I remembered I had some yarns leftover from that era, and decided to knit Ben an elbow warmer. His nerves don't slide with the muscles on his left arm and he's been seeing a physio for a while; before that he suffered in silence for a few months. The physio, same Jean as mine, told him to keep it warm, among other things, and I thought this is relatively easy even for a knittingly-challenged.

I had half a dozen false starts because I can never tell how big/long my knitting is going to be until I knit a couple of inches. Then Ben wanted ribbing at the top and bottom; I don't do ribbing but I can accommodate.Then he wanted the middle part wider than top and bottom; I don't do increasing/decreasing, honey! I'm just going to knit very loosely in the middle.

I think I knit much too tightly, and my shoulders and neck get stiff quickly, but I do enjoy it. I design as I go, and I like knitting tubes so dropping or picking up stitches at the sides is not an issue. The leftover yarn has little too much pink and pastels for Ben, but it's only for home use. Now the problem is, shall I keep knitting so I can finish this before I leave for Oz, or do I tie loose ends and knit or weave or work on the design book?

Weave. I have a wee symbolic milestone tomorrow. But you have to wait. 


No Longer Sleeveless

I keep telling you my sewing skill is pretty terrible. But I wanted a cushy corduroy for the lining of what Ben calls my netbook sleeve. (It has an open top and a closed bottom, so it's really just a bag with no fastening mechanism nor handles.) I had to do the side seam of the lining twice, but it's finished just in time for my trip.

The outside fabric is almost vintage; one of my oldest warp-end fabrics from before 2004; 4-shft, 2/17 harsh-ish wool, very saturated in three reds. (A tad truer red than in the pic.) I used my weaving 2/20 cottons to sew.  
What, new laptop? Well, the old red laptop jumped off the loom bench a couple of years ago and ever since it's had trouble recharging in spite of replacing the battery, so I keep it in the office to work on drafts and edit some pics. Ben got this a few months ago on sale; the first was faulty and there was drama getting that one replaced, but it's a small laptop that can do some tablet-y things and good for travel.   
And I did something I always think to do with my bags but forget; crocked, but it's here.

And Ben cut my hair and I feels good.


Growing Out of Pikerhood

I am. I even ironed my clothes before packing, something I never do, but if we are going to discuss exquisite weaving or magical/mysterious books, I thought I'd do it not in the style I work at home.

I did well in weight, (the suitcase, not myself,) but not so in bulk. Am I glad our discipline is textiles; our darlings can be squished or rolled up and stuck in shoes and other small spaces to keep other things in good shape. Keeping paper straight or carrying various art supply isn't easy, even with my pared down lot; supplies list in mixed media is positively eye-watering, too. (My sister's regret with ceramics is the bulk and weight, even just storing them  at her place.)

I've three days left to finish making a netbook sleeve, get Aussie $, go see the current exhibition at the Refinery, and a combination of weaving, weeding, and another chapter for Weavers and Designers. The group has been quiet, but even if I'm the last one standing, I do enjoy the work so I'm going to stay with it. I'm not going to be a "piker" which in Australia, I learned this week, means someone who either does not join in with others, or gives up an activity before it is finished. I'm a specialist in starting with a bang and then... um.... yeah...

I didn't get anything done yesterday because, shock horror, I read! And I read for pleasure for the first time in a long while. Ben says I don't read for pleasure when I'm faced with a difficult project, and not only exhibition but prepping for the mixed media workshops were hard. But I went looking for the magic I mentioned yesterday and picked up Nick Bantock's "The Forgetting Room" and once started, I had to finish it. I found myself staring at black letters dancing on white pages from time to time.

His books don't have a lot of text, but I have to keep going back to the artworks, so it took a while but the experience was, oh, so, enjoyable.

The yellow orchids are almost over so I took some photos before they are all gone.
 "Youth" is relative
Look at my insides; I've plenty of good bits left


Bread with Banana in It

I was productive before 10.30AM yesterday, but slowed down gradually, culminating in a three-hour Skype session with Mom, (she's currently working on a tiny tapestry I asked for a while back,) and did not do a whole heck of a lot else, except bake two loaves of bread and scrubbed some pots and pans. Darn.

I've already paid for most of my Austrian trip but still need some Oz cash. Watching exchange rates go up and down is a hobby I inherited from Dad; he started when I went to the US during high school. All this year we've been hearing the NZ$ is going to be strong against the Aussie $, culminating in an all time high around August. Well, have a look.
Alright, so it's just August. Mom always said we are no good at predictions so we might as well stop keeping tabs and relax. But it's worth it; I can hear Dad's exaggeratedly disappointments by the tiniest drops or elation by the tiniest climb, even when nobody is going anywhere and we aren't saving or loosing.

I'm waiting until next week for my cash. 

* * * * *

There's little mystery in my life. By which I mean everything was explained by the most pragmatic or logical terms from an early age, so there was never room for Santa, Tooth Fairy, or ghosts. Or deity. The first I felt my simplistic, one-dimensional life was perhaps lacking in flavor was in Edinburgh and later at Culloden during our honeymoon; I felt a few ghosts were required to complete the landscape. Of course autumnal Scotland appeared much more "romantic" than our crowded noisy life in Yokohama; there was no room for the imperceptible. It took me years to get my head around such concepts as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, but now I can't live without Discworld audiobooks.

What's this all about? Well, while thinking about, visualizing, and harvesting material for the mixed media workshops, first I wanted to stay as far, far away as possible from the brand/product-lead aesthetics of that section of mixed media, and to that end I've included hand-painted paper and thrums as collage material. I've also prepared small pieces of watercolor paper on which I will draw quick gesture drawings at airports and train stations in Australia.

I realize "layers upon layers" is still in in that world, and I don't want to make boring books I could have made in my kitchen, but at the same time I wanted to make something I like, with my preference for relative flatness and limitations on hues.

I tried to assign visual themes for each of the four books I'll be making: Dad, family home of almost 44 years, maybe weaving/textiles, drawing, or travels if finance wasn't an issue, but material concentrating on themes looked too contrived and I foresaw prescribed frame of mind amidst a fabulous environment. 

Wouldn't you know a thought popped up while listening to Discworld: can I infuse magical powers so that each of my books would transport me and only me to a different time or place when I open it?

* * * * * 
My latest bread with Banana in It; my breads have improved, but still not as dry/soft/airy as I like. I need to stop modifying the one no-knead gluten-free recipes.