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Secret Gardens, Sewing, and Bookbinding
Issue # 103: Public gardens, sewing & bookbinding, a birding poet, "investigating" one's art, giving away money, "cease and desist," and a "Soft Season" musical meditation.
I’ve been feeling a lot better this week and getting back into doing some work. But I’m also taking some time to enjoy other things, too. For example, I feel so lucky to live in a neighborhood that values and maintains historic gardens. All I have to do is walk a couple blocks down the hill, and there they are. There are small, enclosed (i.e. “secret” but accessible) public gardens all over Monterey. It’s nice to grab a snack and then just sit in one of the gardens, especially during spring.
I also appreciate the gardeners and landscapers I see taking care of these tender blossoms and leaves. The following images are all from the Larkin House garden:
My mother was a seamstress, among other things. She sewed a lot of my clothes—not because she had to, but for fun—and because she was good at it. She also sewed ball gowns for her friends. I used to accompany her to her favorite fabric store, Harts, and help her pick out brocades and tulles, and other fancy materials. Unlike her, though, I was a terrible seamstress. I failed sewing in junior high, because I couldn’t make a simple apron.
I made several paintings that are a sort of homage to my mother’s pattern-making and sewing. Two of these paintings are shown below. Both contain paper from patterns she cut and marked herself out of newspaper and tissue, as well as a straight pin, which was still stuck in one of the patterns:
However, when I make accordion-fold art books, that’s probably when I feel closest to doing what my mom did with sewing. There’s something quiet and satisfying about the simple, repetitive motions and rituals involved in book binding. After all, it involves cutting, folding, and sometimes even sewing with needle and thread (although I have so far stuck to cut-and-paste methods).
Bitter Melon Bindery takes you through one session of making pocket journals. Without narration, it gives a nice sense of those quiet moments of creation:
Artist and calligrapher Rajiv Surendra on bookbinding for beginners (and why he loves making books):
Ornithologist and poet Dr. J. Drew Lanham:
Leonardo Drew’s story on video: “My ability to be able to draw and paint well was actually getting in the way of something larger. It’s hard to get past something so beautifully done, and then at the same time ask the question ‘What’s underneath that?’”
Tiffany Eng teaches you stab bookbinding with bread. Add your filling, then have some lunch.
Will Boyajian busks on the street and lets people who need the money take it:
Boyajian’s album “Cease and Desist” is one song sung over and over in various genres. It made me laugh!
Meditation 021 from Fog Chaser, “Soft Season”:
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