Saturday, November 3, 2018

Getting back to work!

I am not quite done with my studio clean-out and re-set, but it is going well. I am finding materials, supplies, and tools I totally forgot I had!  I have distributed all my type sorts back into cases, sorted my printmaking tools and die cutting presses. Using the big presses (Challenge Gordon 8x12 and Vandrecook 01 Proof Press) will have to wait until I have company in the studio as the doctors do not want me running them without someone here with me. However, I am working on some designs for linocuts that I can print with my X-cut XPress and my small Etching press.  I am really enjoying going through all my studio things, remembering projects I had started before the breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year.  My creative verve is soaring each and every day!

One of the unique artist's book projects I began two years ago was "The Language of Prayer" book. I created the covers using pieces of roof slate from St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Cambridge, MA.  My husband served as their Rector for 6 years.

The pages of the book are made from my handmade paper, handmade marbled paper and leather pieces.  The text will be created with calligraphy and vintage typewriters.  I will include prayers in English, French, Latin, Hebrew, Spanish, Greek, and Arabic. I am selecting prayers that would traditionally be offered by women either in public worship or in private daily devotions.

I did not have a typewriter that could do Arabic or Greek characters, so I put out a request through facebook last year to a group I belong to asking to purchase these machines.  Most of the typers with Arabic or Greek characters are really expensive and hard to come by on the auction sites. A friend in Australia who collects Arabic typewriters
got in touch to tell me had one for me and would donate it to my book project!  

His name was Scott. It just so happened that my stepson Adam was finishing up his "big explore" trip to Australia, so Scott shipped this little beauty to him and Adam carried it home to me in Canada last year!

I have yet to do a thorough cleaning of the machine, but it works well. I have friends here in Deep River who speak Arabic and who have graciously offered to help me with the text when the time comes.  I am still on the hunt for a Greek typewriter, and I already have a Hebrew typewriter.

"The Language of Prayer" unique artist's book will be my first creative project after my journey through breast cancer and autoimmune encephalitis this year. During the past eight months dealing with the diagnosis, the treatments and the uncertainty of recovery, I have been supported by my own daily prayers and the loving support of the prayers of our family, friends, parishes we have served in and our current parish.  We have received confirmation from my last MRI of my skull that there is no brain cancer-but I still have swelling from the autoimmune encephalitis, although it is reduced significantly from the original MRI when I was in hospital in Ottawa in September.  I am walking and exercising daily and it feels wonderful to be alive! Working on this new project will be an affirmation for me of my firm belief in the tangible power of prayer in my own life and the lives of those I love.

This past year I have been spending time again with Dorothy Bass' wonderful book, Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time.  Since my illness this year and all that has transpired, each moment of every day has become more precious to me. I feel the presence of my loved ones who have died with me in the studio every day. I feel compelled to create and to share my creative verve with others as an expression of my deep faith in God and all that she brings to the world in every hour of every day. 

With each breath I make and each step I take, I know in my soul that all will be well, and all will be well, with the peace and grace of our mother God, all will be well.