November 7, 2013

Free to Good Home

For the past few years, I've had an increasingly vexing itch. No, not that one.This one started as a vague, but disruptive sensation that wanted my psychic attention as much as my bad case of poison ivy wanted my fingernails.  When it finally formed words, it was this: "go deeper."

Gee, thanks for clearing THAT up, Psyche.

But magically, the understanding did emerge, and it came from my time hanging around Jude Hill and the posse at Spirit Cloth. There I have experienced the deep satisfaction of marrying just a needle, two strands of embroidery floss, and a basket full of fabric scraps.  And the process of material simplification has also clarified my understanding of how I want to spend my time.

I want to go deeper in what I love to do. Not wider. I need to grab the most important strands of  my interests and loves and follow them down to their foundations, instead of collecting little bits of lint from across the top of everything. So I will continue this:
Taking the Hebrew letters I learned as a child, deepening them into a language I learned how to speak as as a college student, deepening the fluency of the past several years into study of its more ancient forms, so that I can now go deep into studying the texts of my faith in the language in which they were written.

And this:
Taking the book I bought in college for a course that required me to sit under a pricker bush for hours, swatting mosquitoes while pretending I could actually see the brown beak on the brown bird on that brown leaf in that brown tree...but that eventually deepened into a study of the critters that happily come to our feeders and now promises to deepen into all the birds in my world.

And I'm still in for this:
The pursuit I started last spring. Looking up each weed in my yard and on my dogwalks and learning its name.Now, this one doesn't really get very deep. Short term memory being a short term commodity these days, I find myself looking up the same damn yellow flower every week. But every once in a while, I get to move on to a white bloom and that's always a thrill. 

Finally, to round out the category of learning what is around me, I plan on starting to fulfill a lifelong dream to really learn more constellations than Orion and the bears. And finally, because it only involves two pencils and some paper and I can do it my pajamas with a glass of wine, I plan on using some cold winter days to go through this:

Ok, we're almost getting to the free offer segment of this post. Because what I am cutting from the menu of me is this:
I got very interested in all the energetic eco-dying over at Spirit Cloth. I really excited myself by getting these books and I became virtually orgasmic by scoring three very cool old metal pots at the flea market. I scrounged around the yard, assembled a table from old flagstone and logs from a tree felled by Sandy the Storm, laid out the cool pots on the cool table, got the soy mordant and got the black beans...and created something that smells like farts and looks even worse.

Yes, I could ecodye if I invested some time reading, experimenting, taking notes...but that would take away from translating Hebrew, trying to figure out if that really is a cowbird in the pin oak, and reciting the list of yellow flowers yet again.  That would be wider, not deeper.

All of which is my way of inviting you to email me if you'd like me to send you these two books, at no cost to you. India Flint's book is the bible...the other seems to be more applicable to wool skeins rather than fabric but probably couldn't hurt.

But I get to keep the cool pots on the cool table.



  1. hi Julie, I came here for comfort and am indeed uplifted by your longing to 'go deeper'; a feeling and need I recognize very well, letting go of certain persuits 'cos there just isn't enough time and the time we do have is better spent on what we value most; still very sore as you know and at the same time grateful for distractions.....wanting to learn all there is to know about eco-dyeing, so I am definitely interested in these books, I do of course live in the Netherlands and postage is massive so if you prefer to send them to someone else in the States I understand, or maybe I could pay for p&p

  2. I am SO glad it is you, Saskia!!!! Anyone who invites a chemist over for a minicourse on the chemistry of ecodying passes the ״going deeper not wider״ test, I say. So just email me your address or better yet, leave it here so that anyone wants to distract Saskia from the loss of a handsome yellow lab named Tungsten can do so...

    1. can see a gorgeous photo of Tungsten and also, the. incredible work Saskia does in her studio in The Netherlands by the link above, on the right, called "tales from the birdhut"

    2. thank you Julie, we buried Tungsten this morning, so now he really is gone, but of course always in our (still sore) hearts; my email

  3. i am still looking at your Keeps. thinking. thinking about what i know of you and how
    these fit's very satisfying thinking.
    and great that Saskia will have these books...perfect. just perfect.

    and i still don't ever remember a lot of birds. so i just call them things like the fat beaked
    browns with rose. or the loud to fast to sees.
    i am very excited about the Drawing on the Right Side. maybe i'll get out my old edition
    and go through it again with you. Where are you? have you begun?

    1. I'm waiting for the first snowy day but I will alert you as soon as I get my sleeves rolled up.

  4. i do look forward to seeing the results of your drawing on the right side, both of you!

    1. It will be really clear which one is mine, it will remind you of the stuff in the refrigerator when the kids were toddlers....