The Opposite of Hibernation

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Nokomis Lifeguard Station, 1/5/14

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Minnehaha Falls, December 2013

We’re in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record, and I’ve been busier than ever over my winter break from classes. With our house being right between Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Falls, I really should have no excuse to stay inside. In Minnesota you’ve got no choice but to keep moving, stay warm, keep…. moving….

We went up to the cabin for a few days of late season bowhunting. Still absolutely no luck seeing a deer, but there were tons of fresh tracks and beds, so at least we know the deer came back to the area. We were snowed OUT, so it took quite a bit of work to shovel a parking spot, open up the cabin, get everything turned on and warmed up.

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Little did we know we would be hunting in instant frostbite weather…. -20 before any windchill.

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After Christmas I picked up some more tallow from a high school classmate and set to rendering it down. It was a leaner deer, with thin scaly pieces of tallow the melted much faster and smoother than the previous super fat deer we boiled down.

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I didn’t make it into candles or anything yet. This time I stored it all in a Weck asparagus jar and incorporated about 30 drops of rosemary essential oil. I’m thinking of using the jar or tallow in an installation or coating paper in it somehow.

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My adorably geeky husband helped with the process and paused a moment to point out the beautiful striated muscles on a piece of the venison we were trimming.

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I’ve also been putting in several days a week at Cave Paper over break. Recently I switched gears to work on some of my own personal projects to take advantage of the beater time before classes start again and I have a full schedule again.

I’ve lost some inches over the past year, and the jeans that no longer fit me, well, I made them into paper. Denim is essentially cotton, a natural fiber, so as long as there is no synthetic material blended into the denim, it can be beaten into paper pulp! Art reincarnated.

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I’ve been experimenting with other fibers as well, revisiting dog fur and coyote fur again that I was using a few years ago. Here’s a sheet being pulled with burlap and linen pulp, with coyote fur incorporated.

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