Looking west from our windows, the pasture is once again home to the neighbor's cows. Each year, it is a joy to have these animals so close to the garden without the responsibility. Peter and Cleo, better known as Baby Cat, watched as the farmer wandered the field between our homes today in anticipation of the new calves to arrive any day.
Bright and early Easter Monday morning, I decided that the students' papers that had been tucked away in the back of my mind needed to be graded before other distractions, like weeding and pruning, might convince me to dally. At 7:30 am, the sunshine was working hard to burn through a soft haze of fog hanging over the pasture. With laundry on the line, I asked Peter to take a few photos of me grading in the garden to prove that I DID grade papers today - although my thoughts were at the bottom of the garden where the new raised beds soon will be built.
Now that the hypertufa fountain is up and running, Springtime is officially here. Thanks to the help of my dear friend, Nancy Hansel, the patio garden and the front garden are also cleaned and waiting for the annuals to be planted.
We heard from the farmer across the way that his cows will be returning later this week to the pasture at the edge of our garden to calf. We can hardly wait.
What a glorious Saturday morning on Main Street! The flowering trees were all dressed in their Easter finest and the smell of fresh bread and steaming hot coffee was mixed with the fragrance of daffodils and magnolia blossoms. Sitting at a table at Sacred Grounds deconstructing Earl Grey tea bags, I felt the energy and fresh rejuvenation of springtime in the hearts and voices of those gathered in the café, as well as those sitting at tables just outside the front door. While I had planned for a two-hour chat with friends and customers while working on my project “A Tea for All Seasons,” the café closed twelve hours early at 11am for Easter weekend. Although no one chose to complete my survey for tea drinkers (not a problem), a few people did stop to ask why I was taking tea bags apart, which gave me the opportunity to explain that the tea bag paper would be used for small handmade books and the loose tea would be used to dye cloth. Some seemed bemused until I added that my husband was English (Cornish actually) and my jute bag filled with used tea bags held a year’s supply of his daily tea consumption. Stereotypical image deeply planted - each person smiled and nodded as if, despite their skepticism, that bit of information finally made sense.
If you would like to participate in my next art project, "A Tea for All Seasons," please fill out the tea drinkers' survey on my blog no later than May 1, 2010. The survey can be found under PAGES. Copy and paste it into a Word document, fill it out and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a private survey and will not be used for commercial purposes. For those who would like to participate, thank you in advance. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete.
After you hit a few yard sales or cut the grass tomorrow morning, Saturday April 3, stop by Sacred Grounds Cafe on Main Street in Edwardsville, IL from 10am-12noon for a cup of coffee or tea. Sit a spell and chat while I deconstruct a year's worth of Peter's tea bags for my next art project. The process of opening the staple, pouring out the tea and smoothing the abaca tea bag has a peaceful, rhythmic quality that reminds me of knitting or weaving. When all of the tea bags are opened, washed, dried and pressed, they will be bound into a four book collection, "A Tea for All Seasons." Those who are willing, will be asked to fill out a short survey about their reasons and preferences for drinking tea. A second teabag event is planned for Saturday, April 17 at Main Street Art Gallery in Edwardsville, IL.
For those who occasionally imbibe, or for your friends who drink while they write, “All Boxed Up” is a selection of blank journals created from either recycled beer or wine boxes. Each journal is hand stitched to the back cover with a Japanese-stab-binding and a Tyvek hinge spine. Join us this evening from 6-8pm for a glass of wine while perusing the “Tossed and Found” show at Main Street Art Gallery in Edwardsville, IL. I had a chance to see the show this morning while Kathryn was still moving things into place; and I must say that the objects in the show, created by eighteen different artists, are is not only beautiful, thought provoking and well crafted, many are a LOL hoot to look at!
Having been an illustrator, art educator, and an avid gardener for many years, I have always been drawn to aerial views of land, maps, rivers, soil, and organic systems. Experimenting with handmade plant fiber paper is a culmination of that attraction to texture and natural materials. By combining my papers with ephemera collected along the way, my work layers history, meaning, and place into objects that are no longer lost or mis-placed, but reconstructed and transformed.