Floating Worlds, or Your July Book of Days

Here’s a sentence no one has uttered for a solid couple of centuries: Tensions are high right now between Canada and the United States. Be that as it may, I have nothing but admiration and goodwill for Canada, perhaps because I have only known really wonderful people from Canada or perhaps because an awful lot of my favorite music comes from Canada. Then again, maybe it’s because Canada Day, the national holiday of Canada, typically falls on my birthday. This year, though, since the First of July is a Sunday, Canada Day falls on July 2nd. Here below the 49th Parallel, Independence Day in the States is on Wednesday, and so for a lot of folks it’s going to be a weeklong celebration. (Why work Monday and Tuesday if we’ll be off on Wednesday? And then the weekend is right after, so why work Thursday and Friday?) As for me, I’ll be working most all week, preparing for a few events happening at the end of the week––events that maybe you’d like to come to, if you are local. More on that later.

But first: Here’s your Convivio Book of Days calendar for July. It’s a printable PDF as usual, and a fine companion to the blog. This month’s calendar is designed over a sheet of suminagashi marbled paper I made back in 1995 at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, just about the time that Seth and I first met. Suminagashi is a marbling process where sumi inks are floated on the surface of water and where patterns are created by your breath: by blowing gently on the water, the ink on the surface moves accordingly. By setting a piece of paper atop it, the ink pattern is printed on the paper. It’s a most lovely and organic approach to paper decoration, and one of the traditional ancient crafts of Japan.

I’ll be teaching a suminagashi workshop at the Armory in West Palm Beach on Saturday, July 7, which, as luck would have it, also happens to be the Japanese Star Festival of Tanabata. That fact, like suminagashi itself, is a happy accident… when we scheduled it, months ago, it didn’t even cross my mind that it would fall on the seventh day of the seventh month, but it has. Tanabata is celebrated by writing wishes on strips of paper and tying them to the trees… so we’ll be doing some of that at Saturday’s workshop (not to mention a little letterpress, too). It’s a morning workshop, just three hours, so you can learn a craft, make a few wishes, and be on your way by midday, leaving you an entire long summery afternoon to enjoy other things besides suminagashi. If it sounds like something you’d like to do, register here (you do have to register ahead of time, and probably the sooner the better).

The month continues through many saints’ days and at the end of the month, we come to Lammas Eve, another of the cross quarter days that usher us, by traditional reckoning of time, into a new season. Summer, though, was so late in coming this year, perhaps it’s best to say that Lammas is not so much a seasonal shift as a gentle reminder that summer is waning. Indeed, the days have been getting shorter and shorter each day since the Midsummer solstice of June… six weeks later, with Lammas, we are fast approaching the halfway point to the autumnal equinox of September. William Shakespeare, for good metaphoric reasons, chose Lammas Eve as the night that his Juliet was born, reasons we will discuss in the blog once Lammas comes. But we have a whole month of summer before that, so for now, let’s just enjoy it. To that end, here are all the events I’m involved in this coming weekend… I hope you locals might attend one or two (or three):

Real Mail Fridays: Campfire Social
Friday July 6, 2018, from 2 to 6 PM (an open house; come and go as you please)
This monthly letter writing social is at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton. Donation: $10 at the door. This month we’re enjoying campfire-inspired foods, and we’re asking each person who comes to write a short letter of welcome to summer campers attending the two sessions of letter writing camps hosted by the Delray Beach Historical Society. Here are two info links: this one for the event’s webpage, and this one for the Facebook event page, where you can say, “Hey, I’ll be there!”

Cason Cottage Snail Mail Revolution Event
Friday July 6, 2018, 6 to 9 PM
The links above will provide information, too, for this event, a sort of After Party for the Real Mail Fridays Campfire Social. I’ll be speaking beginning at about 7 PM at the Delray Beach Historical Society’s Cason Cottage about the Jaffe Center’s Real Mail Fridays letter writing socials and showing some artists’ books… and you’ll get a chance to write a letter or two yourself. It’s a pot luck but you shouldn’t feel obligated to bring food. Just come.

Workshop: Floating Worlds (Suminagashi Paper Marbling)
Saturday July 7, 2018, 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
And I’d love to teach you about suminagashi and Tanabata at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Advance registration is required; please register here.


6 thoughts on “Floating Worlds, or Your July Book of Days

  1. Jerri Duncan says:

    Happy birthday, John.

  2. Maggie von Grote says:

    Buon Compleanno John. Tanti Auguri 🙂

    Continued success, happiness, and above all good health!

    Maggie and Santo

  3. Marjorie Hollis says:

    Happy birthday, John! I always enjoy your posts and I wish I lived close enough to attend your classes and workshops, which always sound delightful. Have a wonderful day and a happy and healthy year ahead!

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