Tuesday, February 09, 2016

One tiny step at a time

Two tiny shoes are done, though they aren't a pair. I feel like I have all this time to work, and work around the clock, yet nothing on my to do list gets crossed off. I am staying relatively calm because of my new attempts at creating better habits (like more regular sleep, doing something nice for myself each day, not spiraling into circular negative thoughts, and walking away from people/places/situations that make me sick/angry/defeatist).
I'm working on the pair for this one, hopefully done tonight. My writing tasks have been going very slowly but they're plodding along. This month is all about steady tortoise work. This weekend I have to teach a dye class, but otherwise things are staying local (AKA, working at home as much as possible!).

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Congrats to Mindy Dubansky!

Yesterday, after shipping art to my Gallery Korea show, I read its description on their website, which only went live recently. They advertise hanji dresses, but none were in my original inventory, so I had to wait until morning to dive into the nearby recycling bin. There was almost nothing but a HUGE box, almost exactly the right size. My hair dryer took away some of the dampness as I built a custom housing. Four hours later, I'm back from UPS.

What I really wanted to say is hooray for Mindy! She is a remarkable scholar, teacher, gardener, and all around great person who has worked for years as a conservator for the museum library at the Met in NYC. She has amassed an amazing collection of blooks (objects that look like books), now on display at the Grolier Club. For the task, she painstakingly photographed her collection, curated it, and wrote a comprehensive catalog of the show. During my visits, she showed me blooks and talked about the laborious process of deciding how to publish, print, and disseminate the information. The NYT reviewed the exhibit and I am so glad I'll get to see it before it closes next month.
Mindy is especially important to me because she came to a museum event of mine two years ago with a gift of a 1980s paper exhibition catalog from the Mingei International Museum. She had noticed a couple of Korean woven paper pieces and knew that this book would be more useful to me than it was to her. Amidst the din of the family program behind me, I was totally entranced by this duck! I made my first two that summer, and started my 29th duck late last night.
These are in a private collection and they look remarkably happy together. Thanks to Mindy for her excellent eye and generous heart! Her show is already a huge hit and I hope that any of you who can, will see it.

Monday, February 01, 2016


I finished this funny little one last night while trying to weave three stages of a basket for the part of the exhibit in NYC where I try to illustrate the journey of a sheet of hanji into a woven piece. Not sure if it will be successful, but at least it's not my job to install it! The show opens at the end of this month, and the majority of the artwork headed to the gallery today. The info about the exhibit and more is finally live!
It took a little while, but I finally found the right hanger for this dress. What would we do without kozo sticks? I spent the weekend doing massive inventory and came to a decision about my future. All signs have been pointing that way, so I'll send my energy in new directions and see what comes of that.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

First chapter closed

Our class wrapped up on Wednesday, getting the cases downstairs from the 4th to 1st floor and arranging the goodies to display.
There was one less case than usual, so we had to squeeze three, three, and two.
I forget that students don't know what it takes to put up a show, so I should build this into the syllabus more mindfully. The cases at this point are locked, but smudges need to be removed. Tags are marked but need to be printed for the final.

Ingrid stayed way past the end of class to finish up her solar system: samples of all the paper she had made/decorated over the course!
It's hard to see here, but each planet sits off the page by about half an inch.

This year, we also get to exhibit with the letterpress class! I like that we have walls this time; it confronts visitors more and hopefully they spend more time with the work.
After class each night, I was weaving like a maniac. My eyes and hands and the rest of my body bore the brunt. This is the last tiny one I started the day after I returned home.
Like the ducks, it helps to try miniature versions to get a better feel for how to shape things.
The big loafer was finished the Wed night, the tiny one the following night.
After a full Friday of errands, meetings, catching up, and excellent time with friends, I dunked the mini into the indigo vat today. It got an extra coat of kakishibu and is drying now. Everything has to ship next week for my show in NYC, eeks! Tomorrow will be a long day of inventory and packing, but it will be good to get my art off to its next adventure.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reaching another end

[One is missing because I sent her to return materials to the library and the van left before she returned.] After packing up the paper studio into the Gladiator again to drive back to the Morgan on Tuesday, my students began the book adventure.
They sprawled out almost immediately in the Special Collections classroom in the library and set off to complete 15 or more structures. I did build in a couple more days this year so that the pace was not as hectic as past years.
They also viewed books and objects in Special Collections (in the foreground are blocks for the late Paul Arnold's prints called Ethnic Cleansing, which we think were printed during the war in Bosnia). The prints are in the box, and there is even an accompanying video where he talked about making the two prints. The next day, they visited the art library to see a big selection of artists' books, which is always fun. Kind of like visiting with old friends!
This student had to leave early for her semester abroad, but left behind a sampling of books and papers to display in the two exhibits scheduled for next week and in the spring.
Her namesake and friend sitting directly across from her left her station nicely organized. I like that she used her pulp painted milkweed paper for covers (the circles on yellow in the top left section). I am still so attached to milkweed fluff paper that I would have hoarded it for a while longer.
I've been slow in getting this shoe off the ground but it's further along than this sole that I finished a few nights ago. I only about an hour ago realized how close I am to show deadlines, so I need to scurry off and finish this in time to ship to NYC for photography, and then to the gallery for the show. February really snuck up on me this time.

p.s. - Ed Vermue, the Oberlin special collections librarian, told me about this water filter made of paper!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Snowy holiday

The first three ducks of the year. Now they are all coated in methylcellulose and ready to be out in the world. But they're staying in for now; too cold and snowy!
The shoe has begun. I have lots of ideas for how to do this one differently from the last. Let's hope at least the sole comes out better. It's tricky when I space them years apart—easy to forget the mistakes and re-live them!
Today was a flurry of activity, trying to plan two shows and catch up on other old work. I didn't get the big app done (yet) but at least sketched out the idea of how to show the process of weaving something for my NYC show. A new interview about my work is online here—an Australian site!

Tomorrow, my students begin the adventure into making books. My car is loaded with samples and supplies and I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to gather more things before making the trip back to campus.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Closing up shop for now

Another year, another final papermaking day! I had forgotten about my stray pigments and remembered as my students pulled their faces at the prospect of more white cotton. I don't like this green out of the bottle but they were delighted.
Third and last day of marbling, so much more than the other years!
And as a final hurrah, I had the cattail seed heads that accidentally got cooked with the leaves taken apart by two intrepid students. The paper was a bit chunky and I mixed kozo into it, but you still got a nice sense of the tiny seeds with their hairs intact.
Finally messy activity for the wet studio: waxing.
Naomi had given me the last of her soy wax at Haystack last year, and I decided to try it in a makeshift double boiler. Some students were very taken. Others did one and were done. After they left, I set up for one last demo for a group of the latest Shansi Fellows, exceptional Oberlin students who will teach English in various parts of Asia after they graduate. Next week, we'll pack the studio into the van and start making books!
In the meantime, a tiny green duck was born two nights ago as my "break" after the big one. And my TV segment is now online! It's the first story after the intro, and I'm grateful to Dennis Knowles, who produced it so well. He and two cameramen took the time to come multiple times to visit me and get the whole story behind the hanji ducks. It's always a joy and privilege to work with excellent professionals. Enjoy!