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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Autumn silk leaves
echo Autumn leaves paper

I have owned this set of 4-seasons wrapping paper for a long, long long time, but been loathe to use something so very beautiful; in fact, the only documented use I could find for the Autumn series was from 1998 when I deemed a friend's wedding to be special enough occasion.[1]

Giftwrap; mylar curling ribbons and bows; grape cluster; silk autumn leaves; mesh and velvet ribbon; approx 9.25" square; sony ILCE-7C with 90mm sony macro lens; f/2.8; ev -0.3; 1/160s, ISO 500, WB: daylight; cropped ad scaled in gimp.

The paper itself was a gift, when I first started getting into giftwrapping—I was originally inspired by the wizard's sibling, who made her gifts a bit more fancy by using somewhat nicer paper and pom-poms of curling ribbon—until that time, I followed my mom's habit of plopping a bow onto a cheaply wrapped gift and calling it done. My inlaw's approach opened up new, artistic possibilities.

This is not to say my family didn't have lovely xmas traditions: we did—my mom baked several kinds of cookies, she made home-made rolls, gravy and cranberry sauce, in addition to the stuffing and turkey[2] , she dug out her good china, cut-glass crystal and silver, relicts of her own mother or very traditional wedding gifts for the era—we'd eat by candlelight on real linen, and considering how messy kids are, this was a true gift of love.

She and my dad started by making their own lino cut xmas cards, though by the time I was old enough to observe her, she'd switched to silkscreened cards—definitely a money savings, as they sent out several hundred at one point. We had a proper, schmaltzy xmas tree, with silvered blown ornaments and those old crinkly lead icicles (but no tinsel garlanding, she thought that was tacky) and multi-coloured faery lights (either she or my dad didn't care for the big bulbs). When we got older, we attended Midnight Mass.

And she made Christmas stollen, out of the Settlement Cookbook.

Of those traditions, the ones for food have persisted the most strongly, though with vegetarians in our friend and family group, seitan subs for the turkey, and I've been too lazy to make even one kind of cookie, let alone 4 or 5 kinds, for years now. We have a tree because f2tE demanded it...and I still do gift decorating, cruising on ribbons, bows, even paper that I've mostly recycled, and sometimes received since I took this craft up, some thirty years ago.

And so here we are, with a vaguely Autumn themed decoration that reminded me, a bit, of a photograph that was far more effective in memory than reality, a “painting with (flash) light assignment from the studio photography class I took in 2018 (though in the picture above, I achieved the effect by moving the subject around to get the glint of sun where I wanted it;):

photography class painting with light and edge-bottle assignment. 2018, canon EOS 60D, multiple composited images.

Wow, this is bad. I mean, I knew it at the time, cuz I never bothered to post it; I guess I kinda melded this one and the much better old thread still life. But that's why the gift, above, has the rather unusual (and, perhaps not entirely successful) lighting.

02jan24: minor edits for clarification and overuse of the word ‘really’.

[1]On the site, anyway—there may be more buried in my somewhat broken 300K image archive...I don't think I've ever used the spring or summer papers—the latter is especially odd when you consider I love green and clovers/shamrocks which is the summer version; winter, with the hoarfrost, is perhaps my favourite, and it's cropped up a couple of times, once in 2003 (scroll down), and again about a decade later, in 2015.

[2]We did turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, as the family liked it better than the other traditional menu items of ham, lamb or goose


[giftwrap] [photography] [xmas] [2023]