Friday, February 23, 2018

Scale exhibit

Yesterday, I drove to Elyria to attend the opening of Scale, a group exhibit at the Stocker Gallery curated by Nancy Halbrooks, longtime professor at Lorain County Community College. I had no idea what a huge affair this would be! Outside the main gallery space was artwork by Rhodes Rozman (whom I had met years ago when she was a papermaking intern) and Tyler Heganbarth, alongside a public and collaborative piece to its right.
People were welcome to add to the sign that indicated the show around the corner, encouraging a lively exchange for the entire duration of the 4-hour opening. You can see Rhodes' mother, Susan, in the long coat busy adding to the piece. Susan runs Fiddlehead Gallery in the Larchmere neighborhood of Cleveland, a longtime, passionate advocate and resident of the area.
Also outside the gallery is a case of artwork by artists in the show as well as selections from the Joan Perch collection of Russian Miniatures. Nancy conceived this show as not only a way to feature artists we don't always get to see in the region (and managed to represent every decade from artists in their 20s to their 80s!), but as a valuable teaching exhibit. You can see Gene Epstein's and Amy Fishbach's work, and a couple of my dresses. There was so much more of Amy's prolific book art inside cases in the gallery; I wasn't able to shoot it all!
Upon entering the main gallery, Jan Zorman's striking string drawing greets you. I talked to her about how challenging this install was, and admire her commitment to making it. I used to constantly imagine installations that required tons of rigging from the ceiling, but often scrapped the ideas because I knew how difficult they were. I always loved Fred Sandback's work whenever I encountered it, but it's even more satisfying to know the artist—Jan was the curator who gave me my first solo exhibit in Cleveland years ago!
On the other side of Jan's work is a lovely niche for my paper dresses. Nancy said that hanging the large hanbok and a couple of other larger pieces helped act as anchors to install the rest of the show. I do not envy her and her installation team, but am glad they managed so well: 16 artists + an existing collection = a TON of work to display in a cohesive manner.
Looking past my work, there are fantastic miniature ceramic pieces by Diane Marrapese, plenty already sold, and the large and ambitious ceramic and enamel work by Brinsley Tyrrell.
These two wall pieces are enamel on steel, though you could easily walk by assuming they were paintings on canvas. Brinsley also did the ceramic sculpture in the corner, as well as a few others in the show.
This one was one of my favorites, by Stevie Lee Tanner. A printmaker (and the new printmaking tech at the Cleveland Institute of Art), she creates painterly landscapes and renders them even more desolate through manipulation of the mulberry paper they are printed onto.
I met Stevie as well as her husband Ryan Craycraft, whose large drawing in charcoal you can see in the center. They offer a full-circle story of artists who grew up in the area, went to LCCC, went away for a while to get more experience and training, and then returned. Ryan now teaches at LCCC and helped hang the show.
This gallery has gorgeous floors. In the case: Amy's books, Russian miniatures, and one of my small hanbok. The large portrait is by Tony Trunzo, and the white balloon tethered to an 8-pound weight is by Blake Cook. The smaller paintings and tiny but intricate graphite drawings to Blake's work's right are by Russ Revock, with Dennis Long's large canvas and wood piece to the left (another of Dennis' paintings is behind the balloon). The colorful tag drawings to the very left are by Catherine Rozmarynowycz.
Gallery shot from another end
I loved the title on this pair by Diane, "Pete and Repeat".
More of her ceramic pieces, miniature and not, are on the pedestals to the left. There was so much to see that I recommend multiple visits, or a long chunk of time to enjoy everything. I walked around the hallways to see student work and thought about Nancy's legacy as a teacher and art dept coordinator at LCCC: she has shepherded an enormous number of students through this program and encouraged them to achieve beyond what they could imagine at the time. She has nurtured a wide community and given so much of her life to teaching, while also making her own art (her show is still up in Oberlin). This kind of dedication is not for the faint of heart, and I'm grateful to be in her large orbit.

Scale is open through March 23 and even features a series of four talks given by the artists. Visit if you can!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mahalo

This was my second lei of the trip, gorgeous, from the Center for Korean Studies. My first was from Ned, a fantastic historian retired from teaching at the University of Hawaii, and it was incredibly fragrant. I'd sleep with it next to my pillow and wake in the dark, which was fine. Jet lag in this direction is fine (it's coming home when it's a bear).
After all the official work was done, Ned and Kamaile picked me up at the hotel and took me for delicious dim sum lunch while sightseeing.
With Ned, whom I met in Chile when we were invited to a Korean studies conference in Santiago. I am really grateful to him for making this trip happen. It's rare to meet such a good planner, generous and relaxed even while juggling a million things. He and Kamaile really welcomed me into their home and family, which made me feel like I was enveloped in a big hug the entire time (plus the hug of the wonderful humid air and water all around).
I don't even remember where all of these shots were exactly, but we saw whales blow and breach in the distance at one of the places we pulled off the road.
After most of the trip on Oahu, I ventured alone to the Big Island because I wanted to try one other island before going home (my last Hawaiian trip, 13 years ago, was only on Oahu). Here is Rainbow Falls, very close to the B&B where I stayed.
By then, I had gotten a cold, but this is the best place to be sick. Not just the climate, but the many options for hot soup, made it such a treat. I had Thai soup, then Korean soup with noodles, then Vietnamese chicken soup with noodles, and then Thai again, with noodles. 
The big reason for flying to Hilo was that I wanted to visit Volcanoes National Park. WELL WORTH IT. Here is near the end of the road that you can drive; it's blocked by lava flow and after that you have to hike (but I was not well enough to hike. Even if I was, I probably wouldn't have because I'm that kind of tourist).
Lava flow that come downhill (you can see it), and then right there at road level. There are tons of pull off points and I wanted to stop everywhere.
This is the big attraction, the still steaming and erupting one. I inadvertently hiked too much to get from the visitor center to the museum, but I'm still glad I did it. Amazing how quiet it is, beyond the wind. And how you can go from these desolate craters to rainforest so quickly. I was sad to leave but am now motivated to figure out good ways to return. In the meantime, there are always pictures.

Thursday, back to work: an opening for a local group show that looks at scale.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

One step closer

They say I'm in paradise and/or a kind of heaven. It's marvelous and wonderful and I am so grateful to be here. Finally made it to the beach/ocean this morning for a long walk. I can see it from my room but it took three days to find my way there.
Mostly because of teaching! This was my afternoon class yesterday, all lovely students (and some familiar/connected faces).
These were my morning students, and I had two kapa makers in the front row (one is on the left of this pic) who shared a lot of good wisdom as well.
My fancy hotel room view is stunning. The windows open right up! Have been delighting in lots of food, enjoying the company of friends and colleagues, and still jet lagged (but it's not the hard kind: waking up early means I can do things like take a pre-dawn dip in the pool). My actual vacation now begins!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Already, again

On the way to a dinner with a colleague in Oberlin, I walked past the house I lived in during my final year of college.
I saw this painting by Nancy at FAVA as well, along with all of her other crow artwork.
The Annie Dillard book I grabbed out of the stacks to read to my students one day. I love being able to teach a book making class in a library.
This is one of the very many perks of that: viewings of treasures in Special Collections! We invited Claudio's woodblock printing class to come see the goodies.
Renée was very busy preparing her elaborate choose your own adventure book. I watched her for days cut tiny bits of handmade paper. At night, she'd write the story and figure out how to get it down on paper.
You have to handle it to see how complex it is but here is one side (there's another whole half of the book on the other side. It's in four sections, and there are all kinds of adventures hidden inside each quarter).
 Showtime!


I can't believe it's February already, but I feel like that EVERY start of each month! I am only days away from my next big island(s) adventure but diving into other major projects. Time to get back to weaving a duck that needs to quack.




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Transition: paper to book

Marbling is always a huge hit. Last week, my students spent a day and a half doing this.
Plus paste papers and suminagashi. I mixed the methylcellulose a little too thin, so there are a lot of drippy looking cover papers out there.
Once they realized they could wrap wire armatures, a couple got busy making pieces for a mobile, and then....
earrings! One student who makes them from bike parts started to make these and then spent three days making more.
Here she is, with her new eggplant earrings made from a mix of cotton and abaca papers. Alizah is our one senior, and brings great energy to the class. Always helpful and present, enthusiastic and creative.
This morning we did the final load into the Gladiator (the van) before they walked over to the library with their combined stashes of paper. We started making books today and I already see them waking up more. I realize that kids these days like to SIT and aren't as physically fit to be at the vat all day. I also think there are more born book folks than papermakers (and understandably, it can be hard to get wet when the temperatures are in single digits outside).

Some more dates are set for my 2018, which include a workshop in Tasmania, for anyone interested!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Take five

These two (the duck and gourd-turned-lucky bamboo) were the last pieces of 2017. I like that I got to make art from the start to finish of the year. I think part of my crabbiness this year already is that I haven't made anything yet.
New year, new soap! This is from my Australia trip, made by a friend of my lovely hostess Sharon.
This reservoir east of me was home to at least two kitesurfers this weekend. Here is one of them, to the right. The other one had a red kite. I have no idea if they were also ice fishing but they were out for a while.
The fifth year of my Oberlin intensive is underway! I thought the first day of fiber processing would go quickly but I was wrong. The milkweed took ALL DAY to strip. Granted, we were down one person, but still...however, now everyone has beautiful milkweed paper.
This year I got earplugs for students because beating is so noisy in this echo chamber.
I may have gone overboard by providing so many fibers this year: Thai kozo, Cleveland kozo (plus chiri that they scraped), Philippine gampi, and Michigan milkweed. This was the cleanest white bark of all, which I think was due to the extra step of rinsing the scraped inner bark before cooking.
Sheet forming—this is the cooler (but darker) room. The other room where the actual shower heads are feels like a sauna.
Mostly white bark from paper mulberry hand scraped (by FOUR lefties!! Can you believe that half of the class is left-handed? It's a miracle), and milkweed.
This time I decided to have a communal bark lace piece, which they can cut from if they want to embed between sheets. I don't know why I didn't think of this as a group project before.
Yesterday was their field trip to Cleveland to visit the Morgan and dye paper,
followed by a visit to Zygote. Liz gave the tour even though she is outgoing to start her new art adventures; always great to see her, and to witness her energy as well as the way she draws everyone into her talks. Jane, the new and fabulous ED (in classes), had started that very day! I was happy to meet her and think she'll do a great job.
Rebekah, the shop manager, was trained extensively in green printmaking to transform the studio into a safer working environment. For the new litho press coming in, thanks to Tom Balbo, she is using vinegar to de-rust pieces. The containers are full of water to raise the level of vinegar.
Letterpress shop with lots of food for thought.
We are running out of drybox space, so I had one of my students board onto the tiles in the shower room. Let's see which actually stick (that room is so overheated that they started peeling away pretty soon after they were brushed on). Tomorrow, the pulp painting mania begins!