It’s not dust that covers every surface in my apartment, it’s tree pollen.
Orchestra season business finished up in time for a wave of show proposal and contract bidding deadlines, one-off gigs and meetings which were all out and done three days ago. Now, my art practice, and time enough to take what I’ve been doing for the past eighteen months to the next level. At this moment I’m barefoot in a wingback chair charting the movements of the mice in my ceiling and the family downstairs (a thump, now tears). Pre-solstice sunlight travels through the plants and across the floor.
A different kind of writing calls me from the ink room, where the first dummy copy of Tree Book #1 is, surrounded by inks I’ve made in every colour, nib pens, and three of 2023’s six journals-in-progress. I’m not sure what to call this writing, save that it only works if I come to it open, without beliefs or attachments. Loosely, it is about observation and response. Loosely, it is about entanglement with, and disentanglement from my family. The current working title for books, paintings and narrated video is Body of Tree.
Laundry – sheets, at the moment, and pillowcases. One of the many useful things I learned while dyeing inkjet paper and fabric with tree pigments in 2022 was how to scour dirt, oil and stains out of old fabric. I’d inherited two elaborately laced pillowcases that belonged to my mother’s parents, both were smokers and alcoholics for reasons I know only some things about. The pillowcases were that colour of cigarette tar that coated the walls of every bar and breakfast joint when I was a kid. It took a minute, but I was able to restore them to the crisp linen white they were when Frank and Lois married. I imagined, while cleaning them, that time was moving backwards, with a clearing broom.
Laundry into the dryer, pillowcases rinsed and into scouring pot number two. Me in to the ink room to continue my observation and response. What was it that Martin said? Art is Noticing.
I would add: books are safe spaces.