Friday, October 31, 2014


Just because she is such a neat little thing, I thought I would share a picture of this … doll? Well, not a doll or a play thing, kind of a little muse. Maybe just art. She is a little papermaker made entirely out of handmade papers (except for her string hair), made by hand and gifted to me years ago. She holds an envelope with a real letter inside in one hand, and the other hand has three bags: one of shredded paper, one of leaves and one of the finished paper. She has a body with legs under her dress and holds rolls of handmade paper, tucked under her arm. I love her. She hangs on an antique lamp right next to my computer so I can see her all the time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


And speaking of letterboxing (see post below), I recently came across the clues I wrote to my very first letterbox, placed way back in 2003. I don't think the box is there any longer, but if you are ever in Saratoga Springs, the clues will lead you through a lovely walk of town to visit a few of the city's famous springs:

The box is called "The Fountain of Youth"
Directions: From I-87, take exit 14. Take NY-9P/UNION AVE heading west. Turn right onto Circular, then take a left onto Spring Street. At the stoplight, take a left onto Broadway, then another left into the park.

Begin your quest with Congress Spring
A water bottle you should bring
To taste Saratoga's famous healing waters
Or to carry along if you get hotter.
Now hop over to Columbian Spring
(From this, ordinary city water is flowing.)
Head into the park to find where Deer Park Spring dips
Where once General George Washington put his lips.
(Alexander Hamilton drank here as well.)
Now head around the park for a spell.
Pass by the duck pond but feed them not,
Or a $50 fine will make you hot.
Morrisey Fountain is your next stop.
Go to the brick building, then take a hop.
Myth says the flow was a signal when gambling,
(an illegal venture in the old casino) was happening.
Now walk towards the place of the musical sound
it's an historical wooden carved merry-go-round.
Across Spring Street you will head
To Hathorn Spring which is fed
with highly mineralized, diuretic liquid.
Doesn't it taste a bit like old squid?
It's because salty waters from ancient seas were trapped
in limestone layers which solid shale then capped.
Minerals from the limestone dissolve
Giving the water its unique resolve.
Continue north, disregard the strange looks,
past the public building full of books.
Continue down maple as long as you are able.
When you come the building where reporters do write
Go to the curb and look to your right.
It's the Farmer's Market sign that you seek
But crossing Lake Ave. is not for the meek.
Follow to where the market sign points.
After the parking lot you can rest your joints.
If the Farmer's Market is here, it will be quite busy.
Beyond this, Governor Spring tastes of iron and is natural fizzy.
Its friend, Peerless Spring, is palatable and mild
Mohawk Indians drank here when this place was still wild.
Medecine Spring of the Great Spirit
Is just a dribble so you may not hear it.
It's now known as High Rock Spring
Down in its home your voice will ring.
Two lions guard a renovated mill.
In front of this building you may drink your fill.
This sculpture was installed in 2004
by an art professor at Skidmore.
Venture past the renovated mills down the street,
cursing me because of your aching feet.
Old Red Spring was discovered soon after the Revolutionary War.
It boasted one of the first bathhouses - about 1784.
It is also known as the Spring of Beauty,
because healing disorders of the skin was its duty.
The spring got its name from the iron deposits
which form when the mineral-laden spring water sits.
Retrace your steps past the buildings of brick.
(Plug your nose if the sewer pumping station makes you sick.)
After the last mill, look for the black metal fence.
Trudge up the walkway, which makes your legs tense.
The Old Bryan Inn was erected in 1832, no doubt
on the site of a log cabin of a revolutionary scout.
At the sign for High Rock Park,
Follow the metal chains down to the shady dark.
To get to the rock ledge on the left
Give the chains a great big heft.
Look for the box in the fissures of the fault line.
If you hungry, continue to the Farmer's Market to dine.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A poem is my home

I love writing in verse. I think I first became excited about it when I went through a phase of making and finding letterboxes. (Google it if you have never heard of it - it’s very fun, especially with kids!) I wrote all of the clues for my letterboxes in rhyme and got pretty good at expressing myself that way. When I began my Etsy shop, I wrote a poem to explain how to use my plantable paper products. I recently needed to come up with an artist’s bio for the art I create from pressed flowers, and I decided to do it in verse to make it different and a little more interesting and approachable than the usual bio. This is my first draft, but I think it’s coming along!

-- Artist's statement --
Once upon a time, there was a little girl,
Who loved to spin and cartwheel, dance and twirl.
She played outside among grasses, flowers and leaves,
And next to a pond where snappers spied from the reeds.
Behind her father, she trailed in his gardens bright,
To weed and nurture and cut out the plight.
She learned to grow corn and tomatoes and peas,
But also lilacs and irises - and red balm for the bees.
Decades later, and the garden now yields so much more.
It is inspiration for art, the creation which satisfies to the core.
She hopes you feel the love, joy and passion,
And maybe even admire the fashion,
Of these whimsical, faceless Petal People,
Made from big blooms and leaves to the smallest sepal.
© Martha Starke

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

… but let it snow somewhere else!

The chill in the air in the northeast has come, the changing leaves are spectacular and snow is soon to follow. Sounds exciting now but in about 2 months, we'll all be itching for spring. I am combining the thrill of the season with the hope of a new spring with these plantable paper snowmen. Use them as a gift tags throughout the winter (from Christmas to Hanukkah to birthdays to Valentine's Day), as a place card at a winter wedding or even hung on a tree as an ornament. I love making these little guys, pawing through my scrap box and finding a fun, colorful scarf for each one. If only real snowmen made me as happy!