arrived. I showed this list of measures that it might include to one, who said, Well, that looks like a poem. I agreed.
Another person said, How are you going to do that? Simple, I said. The person I'm making it for sent me the list, and also sent a long string with knots on it, that goes with the list. I just put the marks into the weave where they are supposed to go. My visitors left wondering why on earth anyone would try to reinvent the measuring tape. I feel good if my work causes anyone to wonder at all.
After a while, though, I decided to drop the string knot, and improvise. It is a collaboration, after all. I was weaving late, almost midnight, when a dog started to bark in town. Each time it barked, I wove in a dark blue thread, for just 5 minutes. Not exactly a coyote's crazy yipping, but I thought it sufficed. Then, I decided the tape was long enough, and that was pretty much the end of it.
The project developed as an exchange between Velma Bolyard, artist from upstate NY, Wake Robin blog keeper, and myself: a woven tape without measure in exchange for a handmade book, seen here. I think we recognize in each other a similar laissez-faire attitude to what happens in our projects. The ideas that propel them are down to earth, well grounded, but when things happen that we didn't expect, we are willing to deviate. Her paper making and book construction appeals to me. The images she has been able to draw from detritus of the ditch (she collected the material, hortus siccus, used to make the images in my book in frozen January!) appeals to my love of graphic design, and the mystery created by shapes and line. I see faces, claws, paws, ladders, webs, polar glaciers, and lights-at-the-end-of-tunnels. Nothing is flat on the page, due to the line and shadow. I don't know how she does it, frankly, but I'm so drawn in. This is a graphic novel, with images that mysteriously appear and disappear in it, as I try to relocate them. Until I realize that I am probably holding the book upside down, and everything is different, from this new perspective.
Long ago, when I first dipped into the the www-stream, Velma B sent me a message out of the blue. I was so amazed to be connecting to a cyber being, as if the Ouija board could possibly be believed. In the end I was also amazed to find a small piece of paper weaving (shifu) in my actual mailbox, woven on nails she'd pounded into the endgrain of a wood block, to make a loom. The paper was hand spun yarn, with little knotty places. You see how this all comes back, to her string of knots, that I used as a guide. Now it has found a perfect place in her book. I care for my internet friends and the ways we can inspire and affect each other's real hands-on work. Thanks, Velma, that was fun, even if I couldn't fit "desire" onto the tape.