Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween's eve

More leaves have fallen but there are still lots of colors held aloft for now. Those windows look into my bedroom, where I've been hiding for days and days in between lessons and meals and communal time.
My teacher split all this wood and stacked it and made the straw cover.
For whatever reason, I've been told NOT to drink the water here, so we go through lots of bottled water. They only burn paper trash here; the rest of the garbage and recycling goes down with them when they go to town.
I had no idea what was going on with the pine needles over a container of honey (I think), and they were taking tape off of the sides of this and she told me to come with them up behind the house and then I said, what's that? And when they said, the beehive, I ran away.
One piece of my stress here has been brokering a big sale of woven paper objects from California to here.
Who knew that I'd end up repatriating all of this? My teacher hopes to open a museum here and has already picked up ideas and put them into his teapot (there was a little blue "point" woven into a basket that I thought was great—like an error, or signature, or little wave).
Meanwhile the acorn saga continued. This is after the gathered, dried, shelled, soaked acorns are ground. The mush is spread about to dry.
And be broken up into powder as it dries, for storage.
When you're ready to make muk (kind of like jello but also not at all), there's a process of adding water and heat (and a tiny bit of salt and oil), kind of like making paste, and then cooling.
Flipped over and out of the container that makes its shape.
He wants to point out that it just jiggles but doesn't fall apart, like the commercial stuff you can buy at the store. That's the only kind I've ever eaten, and this kind is SO much better.
Usually eaten with soy sauce to taste. We ate this almost in lieu of dinner. I learned today about a chili recipe where you have to poke a hole into the tip of each pepper with an needle to allow the flavoring to permeate! So much handwork in all the cooking here, too. No surprise.
My stealth piece growing
 and growing
Finally finished it tonight (the small one)! I emerged from my room and my teacher said, "What's that?!" And the secret was finally out. He was mostly ... well, it's hard to explain. He acted like I was a huge pain in the ass and a crazy person for doing it, but he was kind enough to put the rope onto it. I explained I wanted to practice more and also make a double-walled version, and he said it didn't turn out well (I agree). His wife tried to be nice and say, "Isn't it wonderful to have a student like Aimee who works so hard?" and I said, "No, it's distressing," and he agreed. He said, "Is this why you've been locked in your room all this time?! Don't your hands hurt? Agh!" I had a good series of laughs.
Meanwhile, this guy was ready for its handle.
Start the first loop
And then the rest of it has to be woven on the pot itself, which is annoying (and I was annoyed also with myself for not pulling cords to counteract the twist early on, so the handle is misshapen).
 getting there
The best news: Bum finally came back last night after running away twice to be with his lady friend. Now all's right with the world. I liked seeing him sleep out in the sun today. And now I can stop overdoing it by weaving double time. I get a bit of a break now, though I have to cut down and make at least 200 cords by Sunday night. But that seems like a huge break given how much I've been doing lately.

Also, more washi has been recognized by UNESCO!


Velma Bolyard said...

holy moly, aimee, such amazing work! i love how the gourds have a conversation. how does the muk taste all alone?

aimee said...

thank you! :) the muk alone is bland with a tiny bitter aftertaste from the tannins. but good!

Anonymous said...

agree with Velma - your work is amazing.