"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." The Immense Journey, 1957 Loren Eiseley

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summertime and the living is...busy!

Summer is way too short!  We're lucky if we get 2 months of real summer weather so every minute I get to spend out on the water is precious.

That's me in my floaty chair!
Summer is also when I gather most of the plant fibres for my handmade paper.   Rather than give up any time on my lake, I take the plant stalks with me out on my floaty chair and, as I drift happily in the sunshine, with a nice cold beverage beside me in the cup holder, I strip fibre.

Stinging nettle fibre stripped from the stalk.
July was super busy this year so I'm making up for lost time.  I can make the paper in my studio anytime but it's a very messy process so I'm glad for the nice weather to do it outside.  The fireweed and stinging nettle are already almost too dry to strip easily so I'm a little frantic to gather as much as I can now. 

Paper drying in the summer sunshine.
It won't be long before the flowers I need for my natural dyes are faded and gone, too.

Goldenrod blossoms for natural dyes.
With so much pulling at me to be outdoors, it's a challenge to find the time to spend indoors in my studio.  But when I do, I've been having a great time making jewelry and trying out new techniques.  I'll share more on that later, including some sage advise about chemicals and common sense! 

Check out these links for complete tutorials on making handmade paper from plants and dyeing paper pulp with natural dyes.

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