Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Project with Handspun

Got some fiber from Lisa Souza. 50/50 fine-merino/bombyx-silk in Sourball, Winter Pansy and Leafpile. Started with 8 to 15g of each, split in half, then each half split 3 or 4 times and attentuated, with approximately equal yet randomly chosen amounts of each colorway in each single, which was spun long-draw and somewhat relaxed, and then plied moderately hard. Barberpoling could be a good thing.

So I have a few balls of yarn, spun at different times and temperaments during this month of March: 167g, 473y, predominantly fingering weight.

With this handspun I started another High Road yesterday, with a few minor modifications. We'll see how it goes.

A Week Later

Eliminate one sense and the others become heightened.

Walk in the dark after days and days of heavy rain and you cannot see much. Pay just enough attention to the ground so that you don't trip or slip and hurt yourself - you are not immortal anymore and an injury would be painful and very inconvenient. The moon is gone and the clouds overhead keep the warmth in the evening air so that it does not bite your nose or lungs as it did a few weeks ago. You realize that the air does not smell like cars or people or animals. It is fragrant, though. There is the heavy sweetness of mock orange, and high tones of early blooming bulbs like narcissus and hyacinth, possibly cherry blossoms. Although you cannot see these things in the dark, you imagine they are nearby. The scents that cannot be identified get parsed in the mind for future reference. Is that the sharp and pungent oil of native California sage? How can that be if the only other time you've identified it was on a dry warm day? Maybe you smell the fresh green of dandelions and grass and tender flowers.

It has been raining, very heavily at times, for over two weeks. But the earth is warming up, and it is no longer cold and sleeping. Time to take more blind walks.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Skins, metal, wood: percussion is made of these things.

Skins stretched over a framework, metal shells sheets and rods that ring, and wood blocks that are smooth or ribbed. Percussion is the beating of the body or stick onto these materials, and the beating transmits the rhythm and force of the body through the space of sound. We've been communicating this way for thousands of years. We dance, we sway, we shout with these instruments which are a direct extension of our bodies.

Les Percussions de Strasbourg performed recently, and each work was distinctive and from the 20th century. The tones, textures, timbres from skins, metal and wood were varied, complex and engaging. Although this modern music does not have "pitch" per se, it has tones that includes the growl of huge drums, tingling harmonics of metal triangles, and drones that are generated from drumming wood and skins in an acoustically live space.  I heard sounds I have never heard before. I don't know how much the pieces were intended to be "intellectual", or of the mind only. I don't know if this is even a consideration in the composers' mind. For me the pieces had dance, sway, and expression in them.

The last piece, Hierophonie V (1974), by Yoshihisa Taira, began with shouts and rhythmic taiko-type drumming, followed by a quieter section, and ended with the shouts and drumming again. Suddenly the earthquake, tsunami, and on-going nuclear disaster in Japan all came rushing forward in a huge wave that paralyzed me, and this piece became the voice of humanity.

Have mercy on us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Recent quotes or posts that have stuck with me:

_Are you a jumper or wader?
_Every day should be a good day to die.
_“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” - Buddha