Mad in Pursuit Notebook

earth cloth: various color sources

Earth Cloth: The Gathering

Mar 12, 2016. Over the past year and a half, my natural dye experiments have involved avocado pits, cranberries, dandelions, geraniums, maple leaves, onion skin, pomegranate rind, red cabbage, and wild carrot. The results have never quite seemed worth the multi-day processing and the long waits in between steps. And yet I have continued to be drawn into conversations with shy botanicals.

In reorganizing my way through the pre-spring doldrums, I laid out my products all together and was struck by their subtle beauty -- gray-green, tans, pale yellow, gold, and silvery-gray.(Apparently the Japanese celebrate this neutral color range as "taupe," which complements their traditional indigo blue.) I could see cutting the dyed cloth into small squares and combining the colors into a small quilt.

But much of what I've done so far is on linen napkins, with embroidered edges and corner designs. I find I have a couple dozen more ready to be dyed. How do I honor the embroidery but still impose my own creative impulses?

So, another conversation to be had: with the craftswomen of yesteryear and with the Mrs. Dalloways and their dinner parties.

Idea: make a cloth book from them. Did you know that, in traditional bookmaking, a section ready to be sewn into the bookblock is called a gathering?

I have a pinterest page full of "cloth books" but have found nothing very instructive. So I dug out some reference books I bought during my brief and unrequited love affair with handmade books.

books on bookmaking by Keith A. Smith

The author made his point right off the bat: as soon as you fold a sheet of paper, you introduce the elements of TIME and MOVEMENT. You turn pages... you follow a story. The drama unfolds.

Yes! I'll fold my pretty linens into gatherings and bind them together, in homage to the gatherings of plant material that color them and the gatherings of families and friends who once used them as part of their graceful lives together.

I decided to try a prototype: 5 10"-square napkins, folded in quarters. The photo below is my start.

cloth book prototype

To be continued...



Books by Susan Barrett Price:

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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All pages in this website by Susan Barrett Price are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. [The snowstorm image at the top of this page came from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license.]