my new favorite: national poem in your pocket day

 It's 'national poem in your pocket day' which is maybe the best holiday I've ever heard of.

I'm not wearing any pockets, but I'm printing out my favorite anyway. I have dinner plans with two fantastic women tonight and will tuck it into my wallet, if I'm still pocket-less when I leave.

I was never a huge poetry person, especially nature poetry, but Mary Oliver slipped into my life easily: poignant and unabashed, I just love her.

Here is my poem for today. It seems fitting given the recent snow emerging - over and under spring's great push; and because we visited my parents home last weekend and I swear Mary O is talking about the forest behind their house; and really just because this is an all time favorite.

Skunk Cabbage
And now as the iron rinds over
the ponds start dissolving,
you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers
and new leaves unfolding,
upon the brash
turnip-hearted skunk cabbage
slinging its bunches leaves up
through the chilling mud.
You kneel beside it. The smell
is lurid and flows out in the most
unabashed way, attracting
into itself a continual spattering
of protein. Appalling its rough
green caves, and the thought
of the thick root nested below, stubborn
and powerful as instinct!
But these are the woods you love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again - a miracle
wrought surely not of mere turning
but of dense and scalding reenactment. Not
tenderness, not longing, but daring and brawn
pull down the frozen waterfall, the past.
Ferns, leaves, flowers, the last subtle
refinements, elegant and easeful, wait
to rise and flourish.
What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.

Mary Oliver


Please post yours... 


an ancestry: papering walls (two)

Inside the "collection". See yesterday's post for a bit of background.

Some of the wallpaper color pairings offered....

all colors and wall paper designed by Drake Studio, my grandparents' business of many years ago.


an ancestry: papering walls (one)

A quick visit to my parents' home this weekend resulted in a great barn search. My mom and I were looking for a wallpaper series my grandparents created just before my she was born.  Her parents were artists, and stories about their life and my moms early years are full of scavenging and construction. For long periods of time my grandfather, Paul, was a portrait artist and a picture framer. My grandmother, Ellie, was a prolific painter and art teacher. In between they took on projects. (That's probably an understatement).

In the barn's attic we found two of the wall paper samples. Here is the first:

They had a long narrow studio at the time and my grandfather built 60 foot tables to print the wallpaper on.

This series was a collection of cups, monogrammed with the customer's initials.

To follow: great color pairings from the pages of the sample book in hues I wish I could recreate.


liking lichen

In early April before the flowers open on the forest floor, lichen is the real delicacy.

I'm not sure the simile is perfect, but on one of my late afternoon traipses through the woods, I decided lichen is to mushrooms what lace is to fabric.

I like all of the above, but I find lace and lichen particularly fetching. Tiny creations of intricate design.

and the color is always that perfect cool gray to blue to green.


more, tulips, more

I have a series of forest posts en route, but the tulips interrupt.

I'm going to keep going

because I saw these in the grocery store

and almost didn't give them a second look

brought them home; snipped, pulled-leaves, watered, vased.

and they showed me.

for anyone in the mood for a still life, they're available.

paper trees

find a fallen birch. peel off a loop of bark. write someone a note.

 these are all from trees behind our house. all I had to do was slow down.


fields into fabrics

This morning I had a nice long call with Sophie, my best friend from newly-born-day three. My memories of being young are flooded with memories of me and Sophie - the back yards and mossy forests of Vermont. We were wild and curious and lucky enough to be surrounded with art.  Projects filled our days, our thoughts and our living rooms.

I know, talking about Vermont childhoods with those born elsewhere can usher in waves of eye-rolling. We didn't have perfect early lives by any stretch, but we had rich playgrounds; a thick underbrush of finely crafted stories, homemade characters and sweet chilly streams.
It was hard not to be nurtured.

I recently finished a swaddling blanket for a friend who is due any minute now(!) and it reminded me of how much I love the fabrics of Heather Ross.

I found Heather's fabrics a few years back and fell in love. They're whimsical and baby soft and were born from her early days at West Hill, Vermont. I never regret having a great stash around.

I didn't think about fabric design until recently. Now, in the woods behind our house, it's easy to get lost remembering what branches, moss and lichen looked like to seven year old me and wanting immediately to capture it. Once last month I brought my camera and began to chronicle.

Happy Monday afternoon, I've decided this week, the beginning of April's lamb-like days, will serve as a week-long forest study. Starting with birchbark maybe, or lichen.


Sleigh for sale. Side of road.

On my way to Montpelier last week I saw a house with a sleigh for sale on the front lawn. A sleigh. Like Santa Clause  (but old-fashion, think: turn of the century Santa).

Things like this happen in Vermont. Things like this happen to me. I see something and find myself 45 minutes down the road still thinking about it. Sometimes before I know it, I've turned around and  all of a sudden, I own it.  Settle down, husband. I'm not going to buy this sleigh. We don't have room for it. But it was great looking and I've always wanted a sleigh bed.

It did motivate me to start bringing my camera in the car and document the tremendous pop of green we've had lately.

Plus the blue sky, plus blossoming.

I see why people design fabric, or wall paper. Over the river and through the woods never looked so good.


I'd be lying if I said I didn't have designs on you

Great song.
Charming way to describe a crush.
Also, how I'm feeling about this little number:

Chandler & Price Pilot press

Since Saturday's class, I just keep thinking about pressing type.
Crushing, if you will.


love, and other indelible marks

final letter press project.

I asked Drew what I should make for my larger letterpress project. He said: a poster about our wedding. I'm pretty sure it was a joke.  Then I thought: my only wedding regret was not having letterpress invitations done (read: not learning how to letterpress earlier so I could do my own). Next best thing? Letterpress a poster commemorating the wedding. I was hoping it would turn out more: wedding as a concert. But it was outrageous fun, nonetheless.

 I made 10, which is great, because I'm sure there are 9 other people out there clamoring for one.


fountains of font

More from letterpressing. Chase, font, slugs, furniture, ems & ens

Large Chandler & Price press

Furniture for filling in the space

Drawers of font.                        

A little piece of my bigger project:

Do I love it?


yes, letterpress, yes

Saturday. Letterpress class at May Day Studio.
Absolutely positively delightful.

And so, the imaginary "Oh! Hello" onesie line, gets its own accompanying line of letterpress cards.

More to follow.


catalogs from quarantine

Last week we were headed south for Easter. Near midnight and all of the boys were sleeping. I was driving and something was right: the music or the hour or the flurry of Merritt Parkway trees. I spent a few solid hours flipping through memories like a catalog: images, words, clips, sparks. Things pasted over, things torn, paper, stitched, indelible, memories of moments jotted on napkins.

Easter passed, Monday brought a sore throat, by Tuesday I was deliriously sick. The meds kicked in slowly, I was worn out, then just bored on quarantine. Now, I'm cogent, emerging from covers. Remembering.

There's something about being down  that makes the sweet fluttering of inspiration all the more palpable and motivating.  I've posted a smattering of projects here, but I've wanted to dig in a bit: dedicate more, catalog and capture, corset up the whale bones and give this blog a little structure.

Now seems as good a time as any. Plus a few conversations with a few wonderful people, helped a few gears turn a bit faster.

So I'm committing - details to follow - but at the least to more frequency. Daily perhaps, or something close. Starting with the tips of my own icebergs of inspiration, and then, well, we'll see.

I'll be here. You are always welcome.