Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

You do not want to miss this…

…if you like writing, ceramics, art, absurdity, genius or any of the above.

Karin Eklund is a Swedish ceramics artist studying in Norway, and I heartily recommend that you check out her blog, especially this post about a new universe, illustrated with ceramics.

 The new universe was first discovered in the 1960’s by a fluke in the piping. A team of four German scientists were sent there to investigate. It wasn’t until they came back and tried to explain that everyone realised that no one spoke German. And before they could send in a new team to investigate this exciting new universe, a plumber from Swindon fixed the piping problem and with that also the only known gateway to the new universe. But no one forgot its existence…

Are you still here? Why? Go read the rest and look at the pretty pictures!

(Don’t be scared off by the fact that the introduction is written in Swedish. The story is in English, and google translate can help you with the rest.)

Paper flower

For the opening of my college’s spring exhibition this Friday, we were a bit short on money for fancy flower arrangements. Instead, I made paper flowers out of marble paper scraps and real twigs, that we handed to a florist and got these  bouquets. I’ve never heard so much praise for the flowers at an opening before.

Some sewing

I just realised there’s something missing on this blog. I’ve had books, stories, books, ribbons, musings and books, even a cake (and more books), but I haven’t showed you any of my clothes yet. That has to be changed. Right now.

Three dresses for today, I think.

The first one is quite old. I was… seventeen when I made it. I think. And I’m twenty four now. Oh my. Really, where does all the time go? Anyway, I saw some fabric in the store that was so shiny that I just had to own it. I made some quick calculations then and there and bought almost enough fabric for a corset that could be worn with two different dresses (the long skirt didn’t get as full as I wanted it to, but it works anyway.)

The second one is a medieval dress in red linen fabric, made around 2008. I loved it, but then I outgrew it and gave it away. Dyed linen fabric isn’t strictly historical anyway. The belt and bag is also made by me, of course.

The third one is a medieval dress that I will never ever part with, even if it’s slightly to small now (I do love baking). Wool with buttons in the same fabric. It’s not as horribly warm as it sounds, and as you can see, I can open it and let it hang loose over a belt if it gets too hot. (That picture is from a LARP, so the scared expression belongs to the character).

 

 

Cake!

I was going to write something thoughtful here, but then my whole evening just disappeared. Have some cake instead!

Chocolate cake that me and a friend made for a vampire-loving girl’s birthday.

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Making parchment – part one

This is one of the things I’ve looked forward to the most this year – we get to make our own parchment. We started today by rinsing the sheepskins from salt (that they had been preserved in) in the lake. It was smelly and messy and wet, but fun nonetheless.

Then we mixed water and lime (as in the white powder, not the fruit) that the skins will soak in for 2-3 weeks, until the hair loosens and can be scraped off.

Pictures by Sandra Merten

Handstitched headbands

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Today I’m almost doing stuff I’m supposed to do.

Lazy Sunday

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Today I’m avoiding my roommates, weaving ribbons and watching an old Swedish children’s movie where the main character gets Batman’s help with fighting Saruman. It’s sort of awesome.

Story: Red Moon

The sun rises every day. The sun is reliable. Up north, I know it leaves them in the deep of winter, that they have to persuade it, satisfy it with sacrifices of wheat and salt and sometimes more, but not here. Here, it’s the moon.

We have God Father, of course, and his son and his priests and church every Sunday, but the moon is our goddess, our mother, our ruler and queen. She pulls and pushes the sea, brings us high and low tide, brings us the fish we need – if she wants to. She is changeable and fickle, smiles at us one moment and hides her face the next. We fear her and adore her.

In the warmest weeks of summer – not at midsummer, but the sweltering hot month just before the fever breaks and the year tumbles into autumn – she rises blood red. Then, we gather on the shore of our harbor to see her reflection in the water. The young people swim out to bathe themselves in her glow. It brings them great luck, sure hands at the ropes and steady feet on the rocking boats. If you have bathed in the blood of the moon, your own blood will never stain the water.

The days before that full moon, we watch the sky closely. Every cloud is an ill omen. Even the smallest hint of white in the blue above makes brows furrow and mouths tighten. Not among the young people, of course. They look at the red lanterns rusting in the boathouses with scorn. They still swim out to be blessed, of course, but for every year it is less out of reverence and more out of a will to prove themselves. They don’t know. I try to tell them, but they have stopped listening.

I remember, you see. I have held a red lantern in my shaking hand, in a suddenly small and somehow forlorn boat on a cloudy night, trying to sooth the sea, trying to lure the moon out to meet this false reflection. I have seen the clouds shift and open to wash us in red moonlight – that was the first year. I have seen the sky remain stormy gray, I have returned to the shore once my lantern had burned out, I have lived through the year after such a night. That was the next seven years.

For seven years, the moon refused to let her blood for us, and those seven years were the worst that our village has ever lived. We would not have survived an eight year. For seven years, the fish didn’t fill our nets, the grain didn’t grow in our fields, our sheep sickened and died. We sickened to, all too many of us, and so few ever got well again. The old and the far too young had to go out in the boats instead of those who drowned, the weak and the sick had to work the fields and watch what sheep we had left. And in the late summer, we lit all the lanterns we had, painted them red, and shone them on the sea, let their light reflect at the unrelenting clouds.

The seventh year, only five people went with lanterns out in the harbor, the rest had to be out at sea even this sacred night, trying to catch enough fish to feed us another winter. Three young men in one boat, me and my sister in the other, with lanterns hung all around the railings. I rowed and my sister was leaning over the prow, our brightest lantern in her outstretched hand, letting her tears fall in the salt water. She pleaded to the moon, and to the clouds, and begged the sea to bring his lover back. She prayed to all she held holy, and all that she feared, and offered them anything if they would just let the moon shine on us again. The wind that had whispered in her hair on the shore rose into a loud cry to mingle with her voice. Waves rocked the boat, dipping the lanterns and quenching them one after another. I tried to hold us steady, tried to keep us from drifting too far off shore. I wished the wind would help us, scatter the clouds, show us the sky again.

Then my sister cried out. Her lantern was the last one still shining and when it went out, we were all plunged into darkness. It seemed an eternity, but I believe it was only moments before the light returned. “She’s back!” I heard the others call, and it wasn’t until I looked up into the indifferent face of our moon that I realized they hadn’t meant my sister.

That is why I watch the sky so closely. That is why the clouds fill me with a fear so strong that my hands shake and I drop the needle I’m holding. And you laugh at me, and you pick up my needle – because you are good hearted, only so very young and thoughtless – and you pat my shoulder before you go away. I look at you as you stroll down the path to the harbor – good, strong men and women, all of you – and I hope that the sky will remain clear tonight, that the sea will remain contented with my sister’s sacrifice, that I will not live to see which one of you it will claim one day to keep her company.

The best thing in the world

Let me tell you: It’s marbled papers. There is nothing, nothing better than making a pattern that turns out just like you want it, or completely different but even more awesome. Let me show you true happiness:

(all of them made by me, of course)

A bit of self-confidence

In seventh grade, a friend told me I had a bad singing voice.

Never tell that to anyone.

I mean it. Even if it’s painfully true. For me, it probably wasn’t even true. It’s certainly not true today, after seven years of singing in various choirs, but I still have no confidence in it.

Then, today. Some of you might know that the choir I sing in right now is what can only be called ridiculously small. When we’re all there, we’re five. Well, seven if you count the leader and her nine months old son, which we don’t. At the moment, two of them are away. Of the three that are left, two said they couldn’t be there less than an hour before practice today.

That left one person. Me. And I wasn’t very happy about it. That is, until I got there, and choir practice turned into a personal vocal lesson.

I learned so much. Things about breathing. Things I do wrong, and what to do about them. That my choir leader thinks I have a good voice.

I feel much better now about the concert next week (where our great choir will be more of a duet, actually). I got motivated to go to a vocal coach when I move home this summer.

And I have much more confidence in my singing voice myself.

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