And then it rained
Updated: Sep 14
Delivered mostly in the form of a rambunctious pre-dawn sound and light show of a gullywasher, we finally got rain. At 1.4 inches (picture was taken before another shower) around 15% of the annual rainfall arrived in the past 24 hours.
My phone joined in the raucous celestial party by emitting firecracker bursts of flood alerts. In case I thought to take a hike in an arroyo or canyon in a storm in the dark hours before daybreak, and ensuring that, if I wasn't already awake because of the thunder and lightening, I would now be.
Of course the roof leaked. By now I know the places and, heeding meteorologists who predicted possibilities of heavy rain storms, placed buckets, bowls and old towels strategically before I went to bed. The better to lie in bed and savour the sound and smell of rain, all the sweeter for its rarity.
Currently I am printing up a different kind of storm, building stock for the print market at Southwest Print Fiesta which celebrates all things handprinted for 3 days around the first weekend in October.
It's lovely to print while rain rustles in the gutters, tinkling down copper rain chains into overflowing catchment barrels and plinks in the roof leak buckets, but I do have the logistical problem of where to put the freshly printed cloth to cure, since rain puts the washing line outback out of commission.
Every room in the shala is currently draped with dishtowels, square table cloths and yardage of cloth laid out to dry.
There's a new geography in this interior. Every chair has become a mountain piled high with dozens of cured dishtowels awaiting folding. And you thought you had laundry problems.
This is also the first time since the arm was broken that I am using the bigger printing blocks which require two hands for inking and laying down. I have discovered that the way the sheered off and displaced styloid process bone has set on the ulna side has seriously impacted the range of motion and control I used to have for this action.
Right now every single block printed hurts like heck, and the hand is really unreliable in terms of grip causing me to drop the block sometimes. The flow of a long, uninterrupted drape of printing, however, is so beautiful, that I'm reluctant to retire the big blocks just yet.
I am working on relearning a measure of lateral movement and grasp techniques in this damaged part of my body so essential for hand printmaking.
I'm loving the jewel brilliance and tumbled chaos of decorated cloth everywhere.
The battle against physical frailty and the limitations of an ageing body, that is. This might be my last season as a handprinted cloth wallah but I'm going to ensure I go out the way I started: in a blaze of colour and light.
Then again, it might not be. The last season, that is. The colour in this thirty five year old photo print might have faded now, but the vision of colour and light surrounding me hasn't.