Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tree gift

I made a bracelet for one of our trees today. It didn't start off for the tree. It started off for me. I have a book called something like "Braiding and Knotting" by Constance Belash, I think. That name was rattling through my brain for days before I figured out where it came from. There are lots of neat projects in the book for how to make a raffia hat, and sandals "from tropical fibers", and a braided leather belt, and macrame type stuff. I think I might be able to make a hammock from the directions. One of the projects is called "knotted bead bracelet". It's a bracelet with a loop on one end and a big bead-like knot on the other end. The instructions call for "coated gimp." Which is elaborated as "tape coated with pyroxylin." Bearing in mind that this book was written in the 70s, I knew I had a little research cut out for me. (Yea!)

Coated gimp... I couldn't find much in the way of that, but I did find gimp and I did find pyroxylin. Gimp is also called lanyard is also called boondoggle is also called scoubidou. It is that hideous neon-colored "plastic lace" that kids at summer camp use to make hideous keychains. I knew that my fine hippy Dover press book was not referring to such garbage. But they were referring to some sort of pre-runner because pyroxylin is a kind of celluloid coating, used in theatrical make-up as a kind of second skin, simulating wrinkles, scars, or baldness. The fabric tape coated in such material was more leather-like than just straight fabric and cheaper than real leather. Today's gimp is plasticized PVC tubes. Not too "green". I think they manufacture it just for kids crafts! Yikes! Biodegradability factor... zero. Trash factor... high.

So I decided to substitute twine. Just to play around with the braiding and knots. I found the twine in my dad's shed. And following the directions I fashioned a rather crude, scratchy, wabi-sabi kind of bracelet. No way was I going to be harnessed with such a creation. So I took it outside and fastened it around an ironwood tree, down in the hollow. It's just a magic little tree circle spot in our yard that begs to be festooned. I have also placed some stone carvings down there for the spirits. And last week a fall wreath came in the mail for the previous owners that they said we could keep, so I hung that down there on a tree next to a packrat's cholla-laced entryway. The bracelet fit perfectly around a branch that was already decorated with a string of shells, so I interwove the two. Gift for the tree!

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