Monday, July 04, 2022

Just barely

[What is going on in the world is entirely too much for me so I am simply trying to survive and that is more than enough right now.] I finally submitted my draft for the apron pattern (not my original, simply traced off of a kimchi apron from Namdaemun market in Seoul) photographed in the last post and here are the three versions based off of the red one at left, from Korea. My first one that I made years ago is my favorite, the one with umbrellas. But I love love love the hot dog fabric.
The kids down the street returned for another round of art and plant madness. We had a mix of weeding and transplanting outside before the sun made it over the side of the building.
I still haven't been able to get large enough permanent planters so I threw together what I could find in my garage, thanks mostly to my friend Angela who gives me lots of her garden transplants.
Mostly what is outside now is zinnia, while I had the kids each take a coreopsis seedling to take home and care for.
Michelle was, like last time, the best assistant I could ask for. She is GREAT with these kids, and they had a little weeding party in the back for a while.
To decorate the yogurt cups for their seedlings, they decorated slips of paper that we taped to the cups.


After everyone left, I laid down on a table and had a quick lunch before heading downtown to fix the installation that got hung wonky. This show opens soon, and hopefully they'll light this with a wash over the front to accompany the backlighting.
On the way back, I stopped to see my past student's public art project for the Cleveland Public Library. Irena was with Ngoc, doing finishing touches before the rain rolled in.
I delivered boba and bakery snacks as it was hot hot hot, and then finally headed home. I've been very fatigued but napping almost daily, still riding out the summer and having a lot of thoughts and feelings about my future. In less than a week, my hanji retreat begins! Everything turns to prep now.

July 14 opening for downtown locations, CAN Triennial

Chi-Irena Wong

Monday, June 20, 2022

Another new leaf, again and again

Last week's big day involved meeting local kids at the youth center/camp down the street. They walked up from there to the studio and I showed them the outside first, asking what their impressions were. It's great to get really honest answers because kids do not pull punches! We talked about the best exposures for plants, and about chlorophyll, and they had already seen samples of botanical papers. Thank goodness for my friend Angela, who provided all kinds of drawing tools. This is the great boon of parent friends.
My Oberlin student Michelle was also an incredible and necessary help, as she did a lot of the prep and cleanup, as well as truly engaging with the kids.
I had done a tiny scale drawing of the building exterior and wanted them to draw how they'd make it look better with plants. I loved how some put full-on complete roof gardens! That is not an option right now but it would be amazing down the line.
Then we got to seed starting. It was a mess because I miscalculated how this would go, mostly from the sheer novelty and joy of scooping and spreading "dirt" (seed starter) and then planting tiny seeds. But it was worth it to hear, "This is so SATISFYING," over and over again.
The gallery's very first art show! After they left, Michelle and I cleaned and had some catch up time over lunch and ice cream. Then I gave a long tour to the local CDC director and marketing staff. I was so relieved that things went off okay, given how little experience I have teaching kids in this age range. We'll have ongoing contact, I just have to figure out the best series of things to do with them (a few containers are ordered, but also wondering about milkweed processing, etc.).
The crazy timing of it was that it was on Thursday and I had to deliver a new iteration of this on Saturday. I had spent days and days making bricks right up until the fiber started to get stinky. Then there was color sorting, and then demolition.
This guy had to come down briefly so that I could saw off the long wood support up top, as it had been 8 feet but didn't need to be. And so that I could start cutting threads at their junctions.
Then it went back up so I could finish cutting threads and then releasing bricks.
Why? Because I couldn't do a perfect color match and just add to the bottom of the piece (which would already have been a nightmare, since that would involve at least 21 new threads. That was going to happen anyway, so better to start all over and integrate the new weird colors (where some bricks were too blue, meaning they were getting too purply).
Final one!
Then I had to sort them all again by color and combine with the new batch. The bricks on the bottom shelf of the smaller cart are duds in terms of a match, so I'll have to turn that into another project.
After pulling down any extra lengths of threads from the clips, it was time to start all over again.

I think it took about 2.5 hours to do six rows. The beginning always takes a while, remembering the systems I've put into place over years.
The next day I had to get every last brick on.


Once they were all strung, I had to start releasing the bottom to the very ends of the threads to create the disintegration of the whole thing.

Then, where I see all the pulling and uneven distribution, I know that the threads are not where they need to be anymore (at no point is any one thread a complete piece from top to bottom. This means I attach new threads as they run out, but because I wanted to get them all on first before staggering, then almost all of the attachments are in the wrong place, too high up. It's a bad system but that's what happens when you are too lazy to REALLY start all over from cutting brand-new threads and re-clamping to the support).
Friday was utterly miserable for many different reasons but I managed to get closer to done, get home, defrost a pizza, and make the rental van reservation. Saturday morning I mowed the lawn because I knew I wouldn't be able to do it afterwards from exhaustion, and did some errands, before heading back to do the final necessary tweaks. This is about where I got it before meeting Angela at the rental agency so that she could drive for me. I am completely uncomfortable driving large vehicles; a pickup truck is my limit. Then we got it downtown to the CSU galleries and came back to return the van, blahblah. I asked Angela to shoot taking down the final piece, which caused everyone who saw it to recommend it turn into a sound piece.

For now, it's just going to hang there, when the CAN Triennial opens in a few weeks.

On fumes, I cooked and did laundry post-delivery, but Sunday was spent half in bed and the rest cooking soup, eating too much food from the farmers market, and lolling around. I thought today was going to be good as I got up early to head to the studio to water seedlings, of which more had sprouted. But on my way home I drove past a white dude walking down the street exposing himself at 6:40am. I was so angry that I called the police, who I'm sure won't do much. My car repair was not as long-winded as I feared so I got home before noon but I was derailed for many hours. Still hoping to get back to cook some yucca that has been waiting for weeks, though I have too many book projects and a jiseung piece waiting as well. Maybe I'll stay home and take it easy with some twining.

CAN Triennial kicks off July 8, see you at the opening at the CSU galleries on July 14!