Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Red-Headed Merganser on Lake Ontario

What Magic Is January

Jan. 31, 2016. Did I make any art in January? Although I will have a doll to greet February with (more on that later), January was mostly about opening my "maker lab" on the ground floor of our lodge and testing out new ideas. Can I snow/ice-dye? Can I overdye my failed eco-printed cloth with Procion dyes? Can I set up a natural dye cooker downstairs so I don't confuse food-making with color-making? Can I set up a morning meditation space in the lab by shoving the couch against the window and propping my feet on the deep sill? Can I figure out how to do needle-felting? Can I make a wire armature for a doll? Can I actually construct doll clothing from my own imagination instead of merely wrapping and draping or using someone else's pattern?

The answer to all these questions was "yes!" And so I bounced from table to table, experiment to experiment, squeezing in a little stitching on my Red project and way too little writing.

Another question: can I use any of these experiments and newfound skills to whip up a fast product? A brilliant quickie? The answer was a flat "NO."

The meditation that usually goes along with making involves magic. I think about medieval alchemists pondering their experiments. I think about the primal elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Then I think about the spirits that pagans associated with these elements, like musical water sprites and air-borne sylphs. I realize that I am a gnome, one of those squat earth-bound creatures, who have to pack their pick-axes and shovels and hi-ho off to the mines every day to dig deep for my treasure. No magic wand.

So I am the alchemist whose magic comes from... being organized, experimenting, keeping track of what works, and being persistent. The magic is not in my vision but in trusting the process. Keep digging long enough and something sparkly fine will materialize.

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THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.

 

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All pages in this website by Susan Barrett Price are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. [The snowstorm image at the top of this page came from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license.]