Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday + snow = slowdown

My hanji dress made it back safely and I already showed pictures to the shop where I got the pattern (where I also got lots of fabric from the stash party that happened to be going alongside Christine's opening for her lovely exhibit).
One of my shopping trips in NJ was to the Korean bedding store that carries buckwheat hull pillows. I poured some out of one pillow, still trying to get the ideal loft for my head. Haven't figured it out, but the remaining hulls will go into a pillow (if I ever get around to getting a borrowed sewing machine into this space).
They were sitting around for a long time, but I finally bound bark lace into another book. Intentionally wonky.
Yet to be filled. I woke up to another white out, snow falling endlessly. So much for any plans to leave the house. I'll be lucky if I take out the trash and recycling. But glad for nature giving me an excuse to rest a bit more.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Walking curiosity"

Right after I posted the link to my first lecture in Chicago in a couple of weeks (less!), I got the poster for my second, more public talk. Fun. Today was the last of my doctor's appointments and somehow I pumped out two apps, one before and one after. Earlier this week, a new doctor told me that I am a walking curiosity because of this new but probably permanent condition. It isn't grave (though the doctors in Korea had me in the most fear I have ever had about my health) but I have used it as a big wake-up call to make changes and take better care of myself.
On a last-minute whim sent by a former student, I visited the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to see Xu Bing's phoenixes. Apt, because a lot of the changes I am making are very much in the vein of a rising phoenix (though I am still a bit in the phase where I burn everything down to make way for something new that I may not even be able to imagine).
Then I saw a dear former teacher/close confidante, rushed in and out of an art show, and rushed home because I am tired and didn't want to be on my feet any longer (I spent and hour walking around in the cold today to kill time between dates). This is after I decided to turn my solo show this fall at the Morgan into a two-person exhibit, with the bright and hardworking Kristen Martincic. We met last summer at Penland when each of us was teaching and she sent many students my way to buy the hanji we had produced in Cleveland. I love her work, want to see more in person, and think that our work would speak well with each other. She is also a Cleveland-area native and her themes right now are water, pools, and these transparent blues that she prints that I look at every night before I go to bed.

I should go to bed now. Packing will have to wait for morning! I'll be glad to fly back but this was a good trip, second opinions and all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sewing machines are amazing machines

Before last weekend, I got the sewing machine up and ready to go. I wanted to finish this hanji dress over the weekend, but I had to go see the baby, so this languished until a friend asked when I was going to finish and I panicked last night, sewing late, until my eyes wore out.
I started up this morning, thinking I'd be done by lunch, but I wasn't done by lunch at all. I'm not a dressmaker, and this is an intermediate pattern that I was trying to follow fairly faithfully (I skipped one step: the staystitching. I wish I didn't skip it). So it took longer than I'd like, and I had to rip out some seams because better to take the time to fix mistakes if this was a dress six years in the making.
This was the first joomchi I ever did, in 2008. Six sheets of it stayed in Korea after I left in 2009, and when I returned in 2014, I found the sheets at my aunt's house. She had intended to return them to my teacher but never did. When I saw how far gone my teacher's mind was in Jeju, I decided to keep them, bring them back, and finish her homework: back the paper and make a garment. But I won't do the rest of the homework, which is to have a famous person model the garment, photograph the model, and give everything to my teacher to have and exhibit as her own work. I picked the pattern because it had "washi" in the title. There are issues, which are hard to see from the front and on a hanger, but I learned a LOT, which was the whole point.

Meanwhile, I am still extremely behind on my long to do list, but time ticks on. I was happy for ONE day to myself today, but could use about 300 more.

Scroll down here to see info on my talk in Chicago (one of two; the other is on Wed, Mar 11 at 4:30pm).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Exactly how things unfold

I prefer to spend Mondays alone but today was an exception. I had to do a photo shoot with Stefan for one book. I usually never get five slides of one book (or only shoot one piece at a time), but I figured I might as well make it worth our while; it's also a one of a kind. Look at the first five photos here to see today's shoot. I was going to ship this to my dealers, who have already placed three of my books in three excellent collections this year, but realized I should have it on hand when I teach at SAIC in a couple of weeks for my prodigal return to Chicago.
After the shoot, I met Terttu for a nice long afternoon tea and then tacos. I indulged in horchata, the only beverage that I insist on getting if it exists on a menu, and watched this boy insist on stacking all of the table condiments and then crying when his tower was almost immediately dismantled by a concerned adult. Before tea, I got a message from Lisa about meeting while in town, and we managed to make it happen tonight! I was grateful to meet right at the train station, and excited to swap Japan trip stories (we both went in November but missed each other by a day). It reminded me of how much work I still have left to do, but that I could approach it with more joy than dread. After reading a 2002 speech by Michael Dirda about books and reading, I finally began a book I wish I had read years ago: Jonathan Bloom's Paper Before Print. If I can get excited about reading excellent writing again, I can start writing again.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Duster party

Feeling a bit buried by work and obligations, but a weekend with the niece is always a good tonic for all that panic. The best part is that she loved her paper duster—she got one with really tough paper in three colors, and it was hilarious to watch her not only wave it around while dancing to music, but to hit herself in the face with it and then hold her cheek, wondering why it stung.

We can all relate.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

One by one

I met these three yesterday after lunch with a dear friend. I've been trying to not push myself in NY, a stay motivated solely by medical needs (I'm fine, just getting second opinions on something that was diagnosed in Seoul). It's hard to fight my impulse to cram my time full of family and friends and professional work, but that's probably what got me into this mess in the first place. First, sleep. Second, food. After that, I'm just keeping my head above water. It's cold now, but I've been dreaming of learning to sail.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dust away

I felt like I was driving kids to afterschool activities, but they're just my paper dusters traveling to get trimmed and sanded.
I decided to make a new batch that was all Ohio botanicals, so that the entire thing would be grown and made locally: the kozo stick that acts as a handle, the paper thread that it hangs from, the paper thread waists, and the heads. Milkweed, cattail, hosta, and dogbane were thrown into the mix.
I prefer this miter box saw but mix it up with the powered version for speed.
Though I did lose a few sticks on this one, because they're so light and not straight.
I dropped them off today at Still Point Gallery, and Kate labeled each one so you know what fiber is what. They're on sale in Little Italy, so visit to take a look or contact them if you need to purchase from a distance (I had very harrowing experiences driving through the blizzard, so you don't have to go today—better stay warm and safe at home!).