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SANCTUARY… solitude

Some years ago I was gifted a piece of calligraphy by it’s creator, Sally Jackson. It has mostly lived in my flat drawers along with a fair accumulation of stored drawings, watercolors, prints, the archive of my own calligraphic history too much art to live with actively displayed… plus a quantity of various kinds of unworked paper I’ve collection over years.

This bit of illuminated poesy has, however, cajoled itself into freedom numerous times as I’ve heard its invitation to bring out this gilded “M” twining a tree not yet timber with which to build, much less to burn, more than my curiosity, perhaps.

For some reason now is one of those times I ponder such clues with an enjoyment which has only matured over a decade & a half.

My… My land…

My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,

And sweet’s the air with curly smoke

From all my burning bridges.


Dorothy Parker
Learn about her here: http://www.davidhouston.net/page35.html

Reconnection with Sally has just today surfaced, after any number of years, finding her by email through her aunt… a bell collector. She has written to tell me news of her retirement & gives me permission to share her work here.

I’m looking now toward cautiously deciding to have it framed. It may yet go back into the drawer during the deep cleaning which is immanent to this Open Studio season. However, I might instead choose to hang it in some temporary manner, thus to help me hold its current massage…

Ive found myself making resonant confusion of Sanctuary with Solitude. No real surprise to those who know I have loved long periods of that… & still do.

Obviously I’m still celebrating enigmatic smoke from the several bridges I burned bringing me to live with my madly social partner.

Addendum — 14 January 2008:

Sally wrote to explain about the materials in the Sanctuary piece: “The support, i.e., the paper, is a German laid paper called Niddegan. It is known for the wavy laid lines, unlike most laid papers which have straight lines. You can probably see them most clearly in a raking light, since the piece is in a mat. The lettering is in italic and was done with a sumi ink using Mitchell nibs. The trees are painted with gouache. The gilding is 23 carat gold laid on gesso in a process that has not changed since the Middle Ages.”