… but it did not keep us from getting things accomplished. Although, without the floor heaters I doubt there would be anything dry. Paper flowers pulled last Friday were finally dry enough to pop off their wire moulds. Paper leaves made just Tuesday in the rain were also dry – these had the advantage of being pressed, so that helped the process. The inside of the studio was jerry-rigged to handle three different drying stations. Still have a few more flowers from last week drying out and then all that will be finished.
The really large sheets that Mark started pulling during Tuesday’s intermittent showers are still waiting for the sun – promised for tomorrow. And we will pull at least 6 more of the big ones. (See pics below for some of the process.)
The sun is being counted on for all sorts of drying tasks tomorrow – we have two loads of laundry that need to dry, too! And the yard really needs to dry out as we are starting to make some muddy messes with our gum boots.
The best part of the constant cloud cover has been the fact that the temperature has not gone below 40 degrees F (nor has it gone much above 45 F – my hands and feet can attest to the damp temps!). With clearing skies, freezing temps will return at night.
We’ve had plenty of hot water (heated by the wood/coal stove), very hearty and healthy meals (including freshly made bread and desserts) and my hands/feet are currently warm – so all is good!
… are just plain no fun for a papermaker who works outdoors! Although there are other things like correspondence, shipping and hollander beater making that can still fill the time.
While I listen to the rain on the roof of Mark’s small cottage – bundled in a thick comforter to keep the chilled damp at bay – let me fill in some details from the past week in NZ.
The recycling spot in town is a popular destination and a great place to pick up extra cotton sheets and towels that may be just the right color for a batch of pulp. Found the sweetest little aluminum tea pot – single serve with a great spout – that I might use to check out plant color potential while traveling. Or I might use it for hot water…
Nearby Frog Rock is on the scenic train route. Big limestone formations line Weka Pass in the valley through the foothills of the Southern Alps. The whole area reminded me of the scenery in the Hobbitt movies. Mark’s youngest sons were with us for the weekend and were delightfully silly. (Pics below)
We actually got up close to the railroad cars in their maintenance building. A crew of dedicated volunteers work to keep them in good order. The oldest engine they had was a steam engine from 1909. (Pics below)
A surprise visit from older son Sam and his family pushed Mark to make the two grandkids their own ‘wolf suits’. To help on cold nights in NZ in a wood/coal stove heated house, Mark made himself a giant onesy out of fake fur and calls it his wolf suit. Eight year old Christian and five year old Charlotte wanted their own to wear, so … The suits come complete with tails which Mark and I sewed on last night while watching the movie Cassablanca.
We watched the movies Philomena and Jane Eyre while popping dried flax ‘flowers’ out of their molds the other night. Both good shows. Between the movies inflight and those shared on the ground at friends’ homes, I’ve seen more movies lately than I have in a very long time.
… in Melbourne with Anne N and her hubby Tony this past week has been great fun: making books, stitching, planning mudcloth clothing, checking out constuction sites, visiting other basketmakers, having teas, trading stories with neighbors and friends, traveling to the countryside, doing laundry, moving bricks, eating and drinking and watching more TV than I have in a long time. Way too busy to post any blog reports, sorry!
Ann and I motored east to Traralgon today tomspend a couple days with Glenys M before teaching mudcloth thus weekend in Meeniyan. Along the way we stopped in the village of Darnum for a coffee/hot chocolate and delicious piece of honeycomb caramel cake with cream at the local Tearoom. We also drove by the Musical Village just down the road from the Tearoom. Lovely vistas of the valley paddocks. (See pics 1, 2.)
Glenys toured us around the hillsides to view a brown coal mine and the results of the Churchill Fire that went through about 4 years ago. Blackened tree trunks amid the small blue gums that have been planted to help reforestation. Eleven lives and many homes lost. (See pics 3-5.)
I was just introduced tonigt to the Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan – really cool work!
Just above freezing nights, but clear, sunny and in the 60’s during the days – glorious! Due to its location,the city has four distinct seasons. And due to its being a planned city, it has a healthy mix of deciduous non-native trees amongst its indigenous ones. That is rather nice, too!
I am ensconced in a visiting professor flat within the fiber workshop which is part of the Art Department and have full access to the dye studio – yippee! Had a pot already cooking within 15 hours of arriving. Here are some of my initial results from the surrounding plant life:
Loving those gentle colors!
More downed leaves collected – off to the studio for today’s pot!