Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paper, Rain, Coffee & Tea

I made a coffee the other night. Not just a cup, but a whole saucepan full. I left it sitting on the stove for a time until it cooled. All the while, I prepared some Fabriano paper by tearing the nice clean-cut edges off to my rustic liking. Was I pretending I was a hobbit living in the side of a mound of moss, maybe only an inch tall? All my tools, papers, books and trinkets stacked haphazardly on the shelves. 

Sometimes I wish I could be really tiny, for a day, so I could climb into the botanical specimens which I photograph, or into the spine of a book to see what the world looked like when someone opened it, suddenly. 

Flung my eyes open, without warning. Blinded.

These thoughts weaved in my head as I took my torn paper to the warming drawer, which has never warmed nor housed anything but a couple of baking trays which have only been used to stain paper. Given I had lots of paper, well, I thought I'd make use of that drawer. So half filling it with water, one by one I added each piece, wetting both sides. I crouched down like a Thai man lighting a smoke. Then I poured the coffee in, watching the brown liquid swirling in clean water like ink on a white page. If that was not enough, I made a pot of earl grey tea, and added that too, as it somehow mops up the coffee smell.

Now there is paper all over my bedroom floor, and some wet.

I climb over it to open and shut windows, with my tip toes, to keep myself somehow from standing on it in the 2 cm gaps between each one. It is all laid out on a cut up plastic bag from Gordon Harris Art Supplies (thanks, Gordon). In the night I could hear the rain patting on the plastic. It reminded me of Janet Frame, when she famously wrote in her story Rain on The Roof

"..My nephew sleeping in a basement room
has put a sheet of iron outside his window
to recapture the sound of rain falling on the roof.

I do not say to him, The heart has its own comfort for grief.
A sheet of iron repairs roofs only. As yet unhurt by 
    the demand
that change and difference never show, he is still able to mend damages by creating the loved rain-sound
he thinks he knew in early childhood.

Nor do I say, In the travelling life of loss
iron is a burden, that one day he must find
within himself in total darkness and silence
the iron that will hold not only the lost sound of the rain
but the sun, the voices of the dead, and all else that
   has gone..."
                              - Janet Frame -

Last night my roof was the floor, and in my moss-house hobbit world, where I am only an inch high, maybe I could stick to the roof, and watch all my tea-stained paper from way up high, where the world would be upside down, but fittingly so, with paper, rain and tea.

What will the next journal be?


  1. It is certainly no ordinary paper, but is going to be imbued with interesting thoughts, cheers Marie

  2. I clicked across from Artists Books.
    I like your poetic posts.

  3. Thank you for your feedback.. nice to know someone reads my little adventures... :) x

  4. This post bought back memories of giving paper a bath in coffee when I was doing a piece for an exhibition. Then leaving them all round the house to dry... your words conjure up lovely imagery. x

  5. I love that my words can bring back memories... I have also been staining paper and particularly photographic paper for many years... the process is unlike any other. :)

  6. When lightly ironing stained paper the smell comes wafting to ones nose. Yum.

    Wonderful blog. I shall enjoy wandering back through your posts.

  7. Thank you Leslie! I never iron my paper - interesting. I just press it. I have an iron actually and have only used it once or twice, not to iron clothes! haha. I have also joined your blog and am equally fascinated - :)


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