Folding

One of the most satisfying processes in book-binding is folding.

With secret binder’s magic one simple fold can transform a piece of paper into a divided sequence.

Many binder’s do not consider the accordion book, or concertina book, to be a ‘proper’ book. To them we ask, What is a book?

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Crochet language and time travel

When you enter an art practice that has its own vocabulary you’re crossing into history. Using the words and meanings specific to crochet connects you with people across time and space.

‘Crochet’ is an old French word for small hook. If we trace the word back to the medieval period it also means ‘canine tooth’.

Like musical notation, or an editing mark-up, crochet stitches have their own symbols, their own language. Crochet symbols operate like ideographs. A slightly flattened circle represents chain stitch. A half double stitch looks like an uppercase letter ‘T’ with a sloping top stroke. The symbols, read in sequence, are a secret code that is unlocked by looping a spun fibre with a small hard hook.

We use the word ‘crochet’ when we do the activity and when we refer to the objects made by the activity. ‘Crochet’ is a verb and a noun like the word ‘echo’ and ‘dye’ and ‘fold’.

Are you hooked?

Dianne’s pattern, tips and tricks for making your own sweet bear (pictured), and learning all things crochet is scheduled to run soon. Expect luxury, good company, world-class teaching and a canine tooth of your own to take home. Message for more details.

 

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Do crocheted octopi help babies in neonatal?

‘The Tentacles for Tinies’ is a 2017 pilot study of the efficacy of using crocheted octopi in the neonatal unit of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Our analysis of the study shows that the findings are written up into two broad categories, biological findings and social findings. Today’s post will discuss the biological findings. Next week we will share our analysis of the social findings.

The biological findings were derived from measuring a range of each baby’s physical indicators both with and without interaction with an octopus. The study concludes that overall, the biological indicators such as heart-rate, did not significantly change between the two states (i.e. with and without an octopus companion).

It could be, on first reading of the physical results, easy to dismiss the presence of a crocheted octopus as having any physical benefit to the babies. This, however, is not an accurate conclusion. Firstly, the babies did not show any deterioration in physical indicators such as decreased oxygen absorption. No ill effect is a positive conclusion we can draw from the results.

Physical indicators from the babies were measured after only fifteen minutes of holding the octopus. Fifteen minutes, as a length of time, compared to the weeks, days and hours that babies are cared for in a neonatal environment, is a relatively short time. If you have ever been a patient in hospital you will remember that interventions, interruptions and monitoring at your bedside are more enduring than the experience of rest or recovery. Being in hospital is a busy and social experience. It is plausible to suggest that fifteen minutes cannot give any real picture of the physical benefit of an octopus companion.

Maybe, though, there are significant positive effects of the crocheted octopus which we do not have the tools to measure. There are some things in life that cannot and should not be measured. Our analysis of the social findings of the pilot study point in this direction.

If you are interested in having Part Two of this post sent directly to your inbox, or if you want to join our crusade in creative resistance, use the email subscription option below.

Ladybird, lady beetle, lady bug

As children, we learnt that to find a ladybird in the garden meant you’d found pure luck. Ladybirds were a good omen and would bear any wish we bestowed upon them. In France, if a ladybird lands on you, when she leaves she will take with her any ailment you were experiencing. In Switzerland it is the ladybird who brings babies, not a stork.

The ladybird family name coccinellids is derived from the Latin word for scarlet which is also where we get the word cochineal. These days, when we say cochineal we’re usually talking about a colour but it used to refer to deeply crimson dye made from the dried bodies of a species of insect.

The dome shape of the ladybird’s body perfectly echoes the aesthetics and shape of a regular shirt button. These buttons, designed and hand-embroidered by Dianne, are only 8mm in diameter. They are six little circles of happiness and good luck. We’re hoping to sell them in sets at a market stall in March.

We’d love to hear your ladybird stories. Do you have a cultural story about the meaning or special powers of the ladybird? Comment below, or email us.

 

Why poverty? Why excess? Why numb? Why neglect?

At Magic & Medicine we think art, creation, is for its own sake. Often, our art is a reply to the world; we make to be heard, to broaden the conversation. We answer the Why that we read every day in our worlds. Why poverty? Why excess? Why numb? Why neglect?

We do not create in order to bring about change. Art is not a means. Dianne and Monica live in two very different worlds, different cultures, different nations. Our reply to the Why is from two differing, but coinciding, spheres. We both speak to the destruction in our worlds with the creation of art as an end itself.

Embroidery speaks evidence

Embroidery is a busy stillness. It is a full silence. Each day so many mouths talk at us, so very many fingers point towards our deficiencies and our needs. To pick up a needle and attend to our fabric is our blotting paper for the excess of existence. Is your husband ignoring you for a perceived misdemeanor? Embroider through it. Are your children pressuring you to buy buy, supply supply? Feel the quiet completeness of curling thread into a French knot. A friend wants to talk herself through her problems, again? You can listen and sew. You can embroider together.  At day’s end nothing may be solved nor secured but you will have, at least, lived out some moments in creation. You have stitches that show you lived through this day.

Why is it a rejection?

We recently received a rejection from an art gallery for our embroidered letters project. It was a generic, distant rejection that communicated its message: no thanks.

We’re still embroidering letters to each other on interesting and outlandish fabrics. We’ve learnt that when you embroider a letter by hand you really want to mean what you say because it is, clearly, a commitment of time. And in this project, time = love.

Why is it a rejection? It’s not. It’s a chance to do more, stitch more, love more.

We choose to create, not consume. We stitch, not swipe. We hold a hoop, not a phone. That’s magic and medicine. 

Photo 28-08-2018, 9 15 52 AM

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