Monday, April 24, 2017

Fresh week

I don't remember how many weeks ago I finally got around to my flax paper impregnated with beeswax (with embedded dyed paper thread). It was a great idea but the process of turning the whole thing inside out changed it a bit. This is why I prefer working with more flexible paper, though it's always nice to have a change here and there.
Trying to remember this mantra as I enter another flurry of travel/show prep. I've been getting a lot of acupuncture from someone a friend recommended and he has been so helpful because he actually listens to me and explains things. I've learned so much, which explains years of discomfort, pain, mysterious conditions, etc. But it requires lifestyle changes that of course are challenging when still highly plugged into the old lifestyle.

I enjoyed the gathering to close my show and finally took some pictures of the whole thing before taking it down. Today has been a mix of fixing old pieces, finding boxes for things, packing, making lists, and constructing new student sugetas for summer teaching. I also discovered that the buy I made on a whim was a great one: I am converted to this line of canned fish! Could easily have it every day. Now, time for tea and trying to reconfigure a new dress.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The in-between times

It took days to catch up on work after Atlanta. I finally got back to making things a few days ago but had a lot of interruptions and have been preparing for a road trip that begins next week. Here is a silly thing that was supposed to be something else but now is another problem to solve.
This was a wonderful pleasure, to visit the museum and see this woven hanji tray in objects storage. Amazing! I also got to see the Korean gallery that I hadn't visited in a while and its new rotation of objects.
Their new acquisition is gorgeous, painted by a famous regent and scholar when he was 79 years old of orchids. The moon jar was back out and I loved looking at the garments more closely, and a headpiece made of gilded paper!
Having fun making new garments based on a slightly different Korean style. I will probably take them for show and tell tomorrow for my show's closing reception. See you there!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Two down!

My Atlanta show is up (here are some pictures)! That means the second of six shows this year is finally installed. This one is up for a while, which makes it worth all the work getting it there.
This is the view upon entering the main gallery.
This was when we had to corral lots of tall guys to help us place a huge case cover onto the case without damaging the Korean bal and bal teul. This is the moment where Chris and Jerry were yelling that they needed help. Everyone paused before jumping in because we knew that the case had already been polished and no one was wearing gloves. But it was easier to place it first before raising it again to polish fingerprints inside.
This is a shot of the back gallery from the back of the room. We all got a lot of exercise getting everything ready. Walking, lifting, polishing, hammering, carrying, climbing, crawling, and so on. Juan, the preparator/installer, had retired months ago and the position was still vacant so I did a ton of double duty even though I've never made museum mounts before. Now I know a lot more about how this kind of show gets made, and appreciate these behind the scenes people SO MUCH MORE. Fortunately, Juan came on the second day to help install TV screens and more, which was an enormous help.
He hung these cases as well and was really kind about staying a long time, well into bad traffic time (remember, there was a huge highway bridge collapse due to careless arson) and WELL past lunchtime. Our lunches got pushed later and later each day, while arrival times got earlier each day and departures later. I brought hundreds of hanji strips to cord in the evenings, thinking I'd have relaxing long evenings, but I didn't touch a single one.
But in the end, the show looks great and I feel like I accomplished something that I've wanted to do forever: a comprehensive show about hanji that includes how to, history, still and moving images, things to touch, and lots of art. The catering spread at the opening was beautiful and we had a mention on NPR in the morning! I was wrung dry but grateful for the chance to show at this amazing facility. I had a fantasy that I'd finish install early so that I could spend time with the collection—whoa, was I silly to think I'd finish early. But someday I'll go back on a more relaxed trip to see this incredible collection.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cleats conquered

I landed in Atlanta last night and slept HARD before today's first day of install. This is a big show, lots of work, but it's also at a museum that has so many resources. I am dying to get the show hung just so I can spend the rest of my time looking at their collection. WOW. See those two panels in the corner? They were the first ones I hung to practice doing this with French cleats.
I was daunted at first, but lined these all up: nine panels about how to make hanji. And then did lots of measuring to get started. Since it was an odd number, it was easy to start with the middle one to hang. I was slow and confused at first but eventually figured out exactly what I needed to do and which extra steps I could drop.
After lunch, I came back and hung the rest so quickly! Then, because I was alone, I went over to the other wall with six panels that contrast my color photos from the 2000s and Dard Hunter's black and white photos from the 1930s. I designed 17 panels in all and it's so nice to see them in this form. I've wanted to do a show like this for YEARS.
I knew that the person helping me hang these was not as into the task as I had gotten, so I hung the last four, whee! We moved tables and cases and all kinds of things to try and clear out the front gallery. Tomorrow we'll get help installing the TV screens for the videos, and then I can commit to where the art on those walls goes. We'll pull out the big hanji bal and balteul from Dard Hunter's visit 84 years ago, which will be VERY exciting to see. And then there's the entire back room to install as well. Fortunately, we budgeted a nice window of time to do this so I'm optimistic.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

A matter of scale

This used to be a teaching sample that was crude and not useful, so I had taken it out of rotation years ago. I finally took apart the kozo bark thread (it was dyed with cochineal but obviously not mordanted!) and then re-wove it into what began as a basket and now is a button. Very curious about what garment it will eventually grace.
I have been so fortunate to meet Stephen Yusko, a fantastic metal artist and blacksmith who has a long professional career in making museum mounts. After he made some excellent duck stand prototypes for me, I had a sudden realization that he could make a mount for my hanji lamp that for years has never made sense to people. This is because the last bit of it was missing: the candle inside that proves it was an ancient flashlight for palace guards. My teacher had a metalworker in Korea make a rough one for me but I was so NOT taken by it that I left it behind. I showed Stephen pictures and explained what I needed, and he did the job quickly even when he has a million other things on his plate. It's beautiful! Granted, we won't light the candle in the museum display, but now it makes sense.

I leave soon for Atlanta to install and open my show (next Thursday is the magic day).

Also, someone wrote up a nice piece on joomchi artists. Always nice to see people put things in context. Now that the whirlwind of shipping my Atlanta art is over, and I'm hopefully on the recovery end of a sudden spring cold, I'm back to work on art for D.C. and planning the next bit of travel. Though I have to admit that the travel never really ends.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Next batch

Getting rolling on more art for my next show. This is all milkweed paper inside of the grids, and then the rest is hanji.
This is all made of different scraps and was so delightful to make. It originally started as the front (or back) half of a pair of shorts but I didn't have enough paper to finish it so now it's this.
This was a huge experiment that initially failed and had to be washed and cut up. I think I managed to salvage the pieces, though, and it was my final piece done before midnight.
I tried to work on this last night but my eyes were too tired, so it got shifted to lunchtime and also makes use of scraps that didn't work for a different piece. Today I got to see a ton of water main work (there is a massive hole in the road outside my home) and a bunch of friends I haven't seen for a while—always a wonderful treat!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Whoosh

Home was a whirlwind and getting back threw me into action again, to all the spinning plates. First, I picked up stand prototypes from Stephen, so professional! Love working with people who really know how to fabricate, plus he has made museum mounts for years.
I also needed to use the rest of my copper pieces, so I went back to make the rest of the stands. Glad to have both options. Now I have more stands than ducks, which is great! Means I can now focus on making ducks.
I also needed to get more garments done, and decided to do more hand stitching because people respond so much to that. Here is the piece I spent all day on (lighting poor because it's nighttime by now), and it took a while for me to take a breath and do what I intended: pleat and sew it up into a skirt. Always tempting to leave as is.

So fun in the end! My hands very tired from stitching paper, but I took a day off before starting it again.
Pieced
Almost done. This is my weekend pleasure, and will eventually get into a larger garment. Less than two weeks before I ship all the art to my next show, so it's time to get stitching.