Rivers of time and making

Detail of Metalsmithing from 2014 Kean University exhibition.

Detail of Metalsmithing from 2014 Kean University exhibition.

I followed a blog concerning the forms, functions and physical properties of paper called The Fiber Wire and don’t you know the writer followed this blog, which I started last summer, dumped and then forgot about. An audience of one is enough to cheer one on to writing for the public again. I stopped in 2009. Sometimes the audience can turn on you and throw a kink in the reserves of good nature about the human race. There were other, more ethical reasons, why I stopped but that is for another time. I’m sitting in a hotel outside of Philadelphia for a night of rest after a recent test of physical endurance. Periodically I put myself through such things especially when on a mission.

The mission, this time, was to learn everything I could about making books in order to apply it to a Studio Arts MA program I was in, from said last summer until my exhibition at Kean University last Sunday. I don’t think I took a night or day off for the last nine months. Besides working in the campus print studio and the metals studio, I went on excursions to the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY and the Center for Book Arts in Manhattan where I now volunteer once a week in return for time at the Vandercooks and much needed classes.

You could say this book art endeavor and that of the rest of my life that has included making things to wear (vestiaria), growing things (agricultura), working as an architect {I did build a wall} (architectura), I have not been in combat but I have hunted (venatoria), who hasn’t traded or commerced? (mercatura), cooking is a specialty (coquinaria), and I am quite handy with metals (mettalaria). These are the seven mechanical arts indicated in the title of this blog. They are those pronounced in medieval times (9c) by Johannes Scotus Eriugena, an Irishman born in 815 and dying 62 years later. He was a philosopher and Greek scholar. For my purpose today, he serves as the instigator and patron saint looking over the things I have done and still do in this life. This life has been a combat of sorts and the weight of that fact is relieved by the Artes Mechanicae. What better time to revive the blog that the day before I go to the University of the Arts through the Philadelphia Center for the Book. They are orchestrating a session of bone tool making with Shanna Leino for people like me who have this need. I’ve been a fan of her work since I learned about her at Jim Croft’s Old Ways two-week workshop in Idaho last summer. The information and photos I dumped were about my time there. You see, all rivers merge, twist and move along kissing against the shores of time and disappearing in cascades of intent. Memory is conjured by doing. Doing is enhanced by remembering. So I begin again and will keep you posted.


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