"My eyes longing for beautiful things together with my soul longing for
salvation have no other power to ascend to heaven than the contemplation
of beautiful things."
At de Lange has written to us all about how very important this new
'electrical' technology is in the pursuance of learning in all its
manifold guises;-) and what follows is not a contradiction. Some time ago
I 'treated' the list members to some thoughts of St. Francis mentioning
that I might at some point desire to "beg";-) so please consider this a
'begging' letter. I beg to paint another small picture of something
entirely more primitive;-)
May's exhibition is centred on a 'hand' made book, it is beautiful beyond
belief. Ask me how beautiful and I will show you. It is hand made, hand
sewn, hand constructed, hand printed, the text is beautifully scripted
calligraphy and it is all made from hand made papers having the texture of
leaves from some forest beyond this place and hand stitched. When she had
finished this thing beyond reckoning she gave it away.
It is on loan for the exhibition described below by Toby. This morning I
asked him to file me through the contents of a little 'publicity' poster
that is pasted in below. It speaks for itself;-)
A Story About Paper.
We take paper for granted, it is all around us, you are holding some at
this very moment - but it is not like this everywhere. This story is set
in The Gambia, where the moment tourists step off the planes, they are
ambushed by local children begging for paper and pens for their schools.
When, taking a cheap holiday after finishing her degree, Deborah May
Rooney met these children, she spent part of her holiday persuading the
hotels to set up recycling bins for waste paper. She discovered that The
Gambia imports all its paper, and that no paper is made in that part of
Africa. As a Graphic Design student, May had always made her own paper for
art projects, and decided to bring paper-making to The Gambia. So, over
several years, using her savings, she has bought land, had a house built
and intends to set up a paper recycling workshop, using local rags, waste
paper, banana and other skins, sizing the paper with rice water. The
workshop will provide some local employment and paper for schoolchildren,
but more importantly, May hopes to teach paper-making skills to enable
similar projects to be set up. May went out to live in the village in
December and has coped since then with being the sole white woman in a
Muslim village community, attacks of malaria and other problems, but
remains determined to set up the workshop. Equipment such as a specially
made deckle and mould has been made, but she still needs such things as a
*bicycle to collect the paper and rags, storage bins, a guillotine and a
water tank. May has little income but things come cheap in The Gambia and
the Banjul Rotary Club has helped with manpower, so her total costs to set
up the workshop will be less than £2000. It is a brave venture for a
25-year-old. May is our cousin, and to publicise her work, we will be
having a small exhibition in our shop starting in September, when British
children will be going back to their schools. The exhibition will feature
May's work and life in Africa and include her book on trees, made as a
final-year university project, using calligraphy and hand-made paper.
Please come and have a look,
Toby English's Bookshop
10 St. Mary's St.
6th September 2000
Dear Ms. Granados,
We would be very very grateful if you could find a corner in the
Wallingford Magazine for this contribution. I know that it is not a town
matter, but I think it does the citizens of Wallingford good to look
outside the town now and again. We want to help May (who confusingly has
always been known to us as Debbie!) as much as we can and we are using our
shop because it is there, but it is also appropriate in that we are in the
paper recycling business as well, in a way. What I am trying to say is,
the article doesn't really constitute advertising - which we don't really
need to do in Wallingford - and so wouldn't really contravene any policies
the Magazine might have in relation to commercial interests.
Anyway, please at least consider it, and I hope that this is a quiet month
They say you can 'measure' the health of a community and an economy by its
ecological well being, by the way people handle their trees among other
things. In parts of America right now, esp. Los Angeles they have begun
projects whereby drug abusers and gang members voluntarily dig up
concretised school 'play areas' and tarmac parking areas to plant trees.
There has been an exponential increase in skin cancers among children due
to excessive exposure to sunlight in these barren 'playgrounds'. (This
integrative and imaginative approach reminds me of Varela' and the Dalai
Lama's imaginative thoughts on social policy toward AIDS.)
Martin Luther wrote that even if her knew he were to die the next day
still he would plant that apple tree in his garden.
Disregard if you like;-( the content of) Chris' letter above, seeking to
aid May's cause. It is purely coincidence that she recognises the problems
of 'limited space' and 'attitudinal dissonance' whenever deep issues
desire to come face to face, 'close up', with shallower ones.
When May had her *bike flown over to the Gambia her 'neighbours' stole it.
Now, I recall a little bike that did not get 'delivered' for another
little girl in difficult circumstances. The amount of bikes in the world
is finite. It is therefore quite possible John G. that the 'article' so
'named' at Christmas is now in the Gambia. Because 'faith' and 'love' and
'service' to mankind is not 'limited', but is rather like a headlong rush
of blind men through a dark deep African jungle. UNSTOPPABLE. As Hannah
Arandt pointed my thoughts, "-the new always appears in the guise of a
miracle." Butterfly or bike?
A point of 'silence' consists in reaching through to another state.
If you even think you see May's 'face', the 'who' of the words painting
the 'rich picture' not the 'what' then ....
If you wish to give encouragement to this young woman you may write to her
direct of you mail me or Toby and Chris' for her snailmail address in
Africa. In any case maybe you can distribute (dissipate) further as per a
beautiful 'one to many mapping.'
Off to the fields again now, Tallyho!
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