Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old lies

I've been behaving badly, staying up until 3am reading books, getting up in the morning and finishing books, reading books at all my meals, reading in dim light, reading until my eyes go all blurry. But I can't help it! They are so delicious. Though today or last night I caught, finally, the passage that I had wondered about for years, since the mid-90s. I had been involved with a boy who was very dramatic and wrote beautifully (both in terms of his composition and his handwriting--dangerous traits, I came to realize too late) and had terrible posture and treated women badly. In one of his dramatic letters from his first ever trip abroad, he wrote about the mountains, and about how Annie Dillard said that you could throw your anger at a mountain and it would not throw it back. I see the passage now, and he paraphrased it horribly (she wasn't talking about anger) and completely skewed my idea of her writing back when I was all too impressionable. The funny thing is that I can see all my youth's folly now, but I'm not that much further along in current folly. At least all of my citations are bibliographically correct, and with the proper pagination. I don't like to paraphrase and only do it when I have to (which is a lot) and always worry that I got it wrong.

Then again, I suppose we are all entitled to our own misreadings and misunderstandings. Better to think for ourselves than not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A sure thing

Today I tried to stay off the computer once the library opened. Hooray for that, after holiday and blizzard closings! I came home with ten books and ripped into half today. I laughed and laughed at Nikki Giovanni's brilliant Sacred Cows...and Other Edibles and was completely distraught by Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza. I also got wonderful things in the mail: the perfect book gifts from Velma, and the new issue of Hand Papermaking Magazine that includes an article I wrote about my research in Korea and how I am trying to share it with a wider audience online.

From Sacred Cows, I enjoyed this (but miss the typewriter days b/c there is MORE room for procrastination now that the keyboard can access all sorts of other things besides paper. Actually, keyboards these days can access everything else in the world, it seems, but paper):
I think, by the way, that every intended writer should learn to type. Most of us have a poor handwriting, and thinking on a typewriter is different from thinking on a yellow pad. The sooner you can think on a keyboard, the less room you have for procrastination. And all writers are great procrastinators!
But mostly was heartened by this: "I would hope each and every woman who ever thought she wanted to write would at least give it a try."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reviewing the divide

I'm unearthing things I read in preparation for my trip to Korea over two years ago and loved this one from East to America: Korean American Life Stories.
Out of curiosity I asked, "Which side are you on? Are you on the communist side, or are you on the side of democracy?" He said, "I don't know how to answer you, but let me put it this way. We are the grass, and one of you is a cow and one if you is a horse. What difference does it make which one eats us?" After a while I said, "That's a very good answer." I thanked him and went on my way. But that episode always stayed with me. I never asked another Korean peasant what side he was on.
--Young Kim, "Born to be a Soldier"

A good day to work from home

Lots of snow, lots of wind, a great day to be without a commute.

p.s. - West Elm reprinted a HAND/EYE article on me, changing up the design.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's true about the zoo

Bad dream about blood gushing out of my head + broken gel pen that I pliered apart.

I am feeling a sad about my grand experiment this month, which I'm failing miserably at. Yesterday, I re-read this from Annie Dillard's The Writing Life:
I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better.

This tender relationship can change in a twinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, "Simba!"
She's so right it's scary. But for the clawing I will get soon when I re-enter the cage, it was worth today's break to watch "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop." And, embarrassingly, I got so self-involved that I forgot to say, send good vibes in the direction of the deployed, around the world in a cold, windy patch of desert. I wish they got to celebrate their holy days differently.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A big puffy joy

I just mailed a mini-model (it looks like a normal one that accidently was guillotined. But that's not what happened) of one of my favorite bindings of this bunch to Velma. I got some longer paper in the completely wrong grain direction to do the slipcases, but these are the willing sacrifices I make when it's the only stuff I can get locally, immediately. On the way to the post office, I passed one of those blow-up lawn decorations: JOY in red. That's my today!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sixteen books later,

I can finally breathe easier (last night I had some kind of strange panic attack in bed) now that all of these models are done. Tomorrow I'll scrounge for big paper to practice slipcases and then, DONE! And back to computer work (boo). An update of my comings and goings has been posted on IAKA's blog.

Velma's stash of paper lasted me through the entire book, but I had to do some piecing near the end that would have horrified purists. You can see the most innocuous evidence here. The last book was much more obvious, made from no less than 9 scraps. Now I have to figure out what to do with all these trimmings!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nose, meet grindstone

I am ever so grateful to Velma for her encouragement to try structures from this book and for the paper to make my models. Though it has taught me that I would take a real live teacher any day over a book. I love books, and love learning things from books, but these kinds of things I need from a person, directly. Maybe this is why I was only able to get so far with knitting, b/c there was only so much I could stand learning from the back of a library book.

However, I have been overflowing with gratitude for the library next door. I used to think that I could never be a teacher, b/c I always assumed that 1. teachers had to be life-long learners, which meant reading books even after they finished school and they weren't assigned anymore, and 2. I would not be this kind of person. But I was wrong (about #2)! I know my life is not long enough to learn all the things I want to learn (and the things I don't even know that I want to learn, and the things I don't want to learn), but I still walk out with a bursting heart when I have a fresh stack of book in my hands. These days I have been reading, writing, reading, reading, and stressing (that last one is a given). I wish for more time, but as a good alternative, was so pleased to watch a good movie tonight after a family holiday celebration. "The Lives of Others," damn! Gives me enough inspiration to tackle a few more structures before my eyes give out for the night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elephantine stress

Ay! Where is the time GOING?? I feel like I can barely stay on top of the research, the prep, the writing, the admin. But this was the best check ever that I got yesterday in the mail, and the snow that finally stuck brightens the day. Last night I had a great quick catch up with Paula from my violining days, and a nice long dinner with two girlfriends who've known me for even longer. One was the only friend who visited me when I was hospitalized at 16 with food poisoning that had turned into liver disease. I remember laying in bed being totally stressed out that I wasn't going to be able to research and hand in a report on elephants for a science class. And I still remember the flower she brought in a white bud vase and her mom. Thinking back, that was a really nice thing for another kid to do.

Today I am going to continue my grand experiment, propped up after reading a million more comics and finding this quote that I shared with Ben right before he deployed: “I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” –Audre Lorde

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today's stash

Immediate access to a library is such a blessing, though I also use it as a way to get out of doing other things I should be doing (like writing). I especially loved that when I read Jessica Abel's La Perdida, I saw the character in front of an "All About My Mother" sign, which was tonight's movie. Both were satisfying. Derrida's Paper Machine is on my bed, but I'm putting all other reading before that to avoid the drudgery.

In a panic late last night, I bought my ticket to Oakland. I have one month left, and all I want to do is continue my version of hibernation: read, read, write a little, read, watch a movie, read, sleep, eat.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Permeated

I had nightmares about an artist acquaintance coming into my home, rehanging ALL of the artwork, doing a terrible job patching the old nail holes, and then covering the walls with a hideous bad paint job with glossy paint (on top of the existing flat paint), so that it was obvious where all the brushstrokes were. Then I screamed at him. The upside: I usually have a hard time yelling in my dreams, so I must be gaining more verve.

These days are a little ridiculous, the amount of time I'm forced to be on the computer. But here are two things to do if you want to stay online:

1. This only works for NYS artists: apply to go to Saltonstall in Ithaca next year! It's a GREAT residency.

2. Watch the fun and inspiring video of the very first kozo harvest at the Morgan! I almost didn't recognize my friends b/c I was so used to them being half naked in their summer garb, but they're all bundled up now.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

High on sharpies

I finally bit the bullet and made a comic book section on my site. I avoided it for a while because they don't look very exciting like this, but now they're somewhat penned in. True to their nature, there are definitely plenty of strays that are not in the lot and chewing on grass elsewhere. I made a nice zine yesterday AND the day before. I think my best work belongs to my beau. Too bad we can't open a zine library in Afghanistan. Maybe there is one and I just don't know about it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How can you not love James Baldwin

About my interests: I don't know if I have any, unless the morbid desire to own a sixteen-millimeter camera and make experimental movies can be so classified. Otherwise, I love to eat and drink--it's my melancholy conviction that I've scarcely ever had enough to eat (this is because it's impossible to eat enough if you're worried about the next meal)--and I love to argue with people who do not disagree with me too profoundly, and I love to laugh. I do not like bohemia, or bohemians, I do not like people whose principal aim is pleasure, and I do not like people who are earnest about anything. I don't like people who like me because I'm a Negro; neither do I like people who find in the same accident grounds for contempt. I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright. I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: to last, as Hemingway says, and get my work done.

I want to be an honest man an a good writer.
--"Autobiographical Notes," Notes of a Native Son

Grey, rain, wind, SUN!

The Incident at Blood Canyon from Shawn Miller. [This has great music but the subtitles are even better!]

Yesterday was very, very stormy. I went out into it to see Barbara for lunch and then Shawn and Lystra for dinner. My umbrella was decimated on the first leg of my walk, and I could barely stuff it into the trash can overflowing with broken umbrellas. I couldn't bring myself to purchase a new one b/c I knew the rain would eventually pass, so after lunch, I walked to the bookstore and dried off there and then looked at lots of books about books. Then I tried to get 'feminine products' out of a fancy department store's vending machine, only to have it eat my money, so I had to ask a gaggle of sales people who had no sales to make and they sent me to the executive office, where the secretary assumed I needed a discount coupon. When I explained, she gave me a tampon from her bag. I don't think SHE should have been responsible (though I was grateful) if the store had broken machines. Just like I don't think that soldiers at war should have to pay for their own tools to build their tents. But that's how working for the man goes.

I loved seeing my old friends and found out that Shawn has posted his fabulous videos on Vimeo. If I ever need a DP, I'm hiring him. I also came home to a surprising letter from my favorite alma mater: Oberlin has chosen me for an alumni award! I feel super honored and am excited to visit campus next year for a short residency. Which means I better get cracking on my big experiment.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reasons for grumpies

I like to follow trains of thought whenever possible, and the one that I had followed through several books led me to The Feminist Memoir Project. I didn't read the whole thing--that wasn't the point. But I read one thing that led to another that led to another that reminded me of the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. And then I got sad. And read some more about the ERA and got even sadder. I didn't realize that MOST people in this country think that it did pass and that we live under a constitution that grants equal rights regardless of sex. I remember being horrified when I learned about the failure to ratify the ERA in secondary school, but then other things came along to distract me. Now I am horrified again, but mostly at the intense powerlessness in the face of the machine. I'll probably get up tomorrow and be fine, but wouldn't it be great if this got resolved soon? Then maybe I'd be more understanding of women who claim they would die for the Constitution.

The big experiment begins tomorrow. It will be a secret between about three people and if it goes well, the rest of the world gets in on it next year. Wohoo!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Speaking of websites

I just did some big updates to mine, though it's all stuff I would notice more than anyone else b/c it makes my body sore to do the updates and no one else's. Lucky everyone else! This is a brand-new section, of all knit books (I know, I should have made this section a long time ago but when I was at the 5th book, I thought I was done for good). Starting from this woven book are a bunch of new woven pieces (under the photo on the left side, click on the tiny "Next"). And then from here are a few more joomchi pieces (though technically, a few are NOT...but it was the best section to classify them!).

Every time I do a big update, I see why I need a website overhaul but it'll have to wait until FY11, whenever funds come in!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New website: Adam Field

I found Adam last year when I was randomly doing an online search for onggi. He had done an amazing hardcore apprenticeship in Korea to learn how to make onggi and inspired me to keep up my work spreading the word about hanji. He has a new website, which looks great. I especially love that all his videos are now in one place.

"No one is as fragile as a woman but no one is as fragile as a man."

[I read that quote by Ted Hoagland last night in Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces.] Last night I finally found Interweave Knits. I am happy w/how they used my images (but wanted to say that papermaking DOES require specialized equipment, for certain kinds of paper). It was a wonderful treat before heading to a party to see Ellen and David. There were a million different conversations going on and mostly I listened while eating and grazing. There was one, inevitably, about politicians these days. All evil, of course. Someone talked about how Republicans love the she-devil that we love to hate from the largest state in the U.S. and their reasons for viewing her so favorably. My view was that she finally portrays women the way that Republicans (and not just them) want women to look: gorgeous, stupid, running at the mouth, incredibly flawed, irresponsible, and always in lipstick. This makes me very sad, of course, since it's part of the whole rolling back of advances made by women for women's equality. But it also makes me even more grateful for the women who are themselves completely and unapologetically, who live lives of integrity, who are connected to the land and non-human life, and who write about the harvest moon and hunter's moon. No wonder I am burrowing into their books so ferociously these days and reading about kelpies and blue heelers and border collies. So here is to one of them (and her equally-lovable border collie Wendy): Velma celebrates her birthday today!

Friday, November 26, 2010

After the feast

I am so glad that is over. I over-stressed myself but at least the food all came out fine. While on the stationary bike, pretending to work out, I read Buddhism & Culture Magazine and loved what Jon Kabat-Zinn said about how human beings are more like "human doings." Which makes me think we are all just pieces of shit. That's what glancing at "human doings" looks like to my semi-bilingual brain.

Rebecca and Don out in Indiana are starting a new improvisation series in Lafayette: find out more here or donate here. I did both since I am all about improv (you don't have to take a very close look at my own work to know this).

In more exciting news from old friends from our Mexican residency days, Elizabeth has been working hard at getting eyeseverywhere, a women artists photoblog out in the world. Tomorrow, it will be presented in the photography week in Madrid at Espacio monosUno! I was part of this project for a few years and am proud of Elizbeth's hard work.

Last night I finished Drinking the Rain (thanks, Velma!) and loved this line: "But of course, you don't know till you know."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unnatural

[Stefan did his usual amazing job. I love especially how this one turned out.] I've been building a new press kit and am in that place where I suspect there is a much easier way to do it, yet it's harder to figure out what it might be than to labor on as I always have. That means today was proposal and cornbread day. I think I am sick from overeating already, trying to figure out the best prep for tomorrow. I don't like how we've been tricked into thinking that we MUST have turkey &c for this holiday. I would never choose to eat this stuff on any other day of the year (and will probably not tomorrow, since I'll be full from tasting as I cook). Thank goodness we're having a Korean half of the meal.

This image is my little protest of all the hoopla going on in Korea but also the usual media antics surrounding it. This is to say, Korea is more than commies versus us, or China versus U.S., or taekwondo and bboys. It also produces the plants that make and dye this paper and the genius and hardworking hands that transform hanji into something else altogether.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

G is for gratitude

[More Bruno Munari.] I had the most unexpectedly pleasant meeting w/a public services worker today. I met a mother who had lost her son to the war in Iraq. I watched a TEDTalk about women and war. I finished A Match to the Heart but I think I liked The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating better. I felt overwhelmed by my workload, which I have brought upon myself, but feel better after a workout and shower and decisions about stuffing (I am in charge of the "American" portion of turkey dinner this year, not voluntarily). And I loved this image by Elizabeth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bruno Munari made beautiful books




[From Bruno Munari's ABC. This book was a great way to start the morning.] Big Monday, lots of being all over. Yet it was spaced out enough that I didn't feel like I was running all the time. My first appt was a half success; I need to return tomorrow with more paperwork (health insurance tanglies). My second was good as usual: a shoot with Stefan to take care of the Ithaca art. He noted that I didn't have any comics or zines. This will have to be remedied immediately. My third was a failure: Barnes & Noble only had the holiday edition of Interweave Knits so I still am up a creek trying to find the latest regular issue. My final was also good as usual: a we're-both-a-bit-frenzied-but-calm-together visit with Terttu. I came home to a mountain of daunting inbox work but am avoiding that by packing a gift to mail tomorrow instead. Priorities! Friends are up top, and more fun to spend time on than long lists of physicians.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here and there I am

Scroll down to Feb 16, 2011 to see the description of the lecture I will present that day at the Denver Art Museum.

Tam says I'm in the new issue of Interweave Knits. I have yet to see anything besides the table of contents, but I am super happy that she told me about it first, since she's the one who told me about Sabrina in the first place, who wrote about me.

Shoveling bento box type lunches into your mouth while sitting in a parked car in a parking lot can be very gratifying. Also, I'm moving across the country next year. It's all a lot to take in, especially since I have a big pile of books that I desperately want to devour. I just finished Gretel Ehrlich's The Future of Ice and that was a big downer. But I loved this, from early on in the book:
Once a Chinese Ch'an master asked his head monk where he was going. Fa-yen answered, "I'm rambling aimlessly around." The teacher asked why, and Fa-yen said, "I don't know." The teacher smiled. "That's good."
That IS good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book addiction

Velma's words have fallen prey to my need to make books with my female friends' words (and images). It started last year with Chela, and then Jami, and then Joana. This last book came to me last night and I fine-tuned it today, the most simple of all. I'm not sure if this is a big warming up to or a big procrastination away from my own words. Small miracles, though: today I wrote some. Maybe it has something to do with walking out in the yellow leaves, on dirt, passing community gardens and a baseball diamond. It came out in the middle of Anil's Ghost, which I just finished. Tragic and beautiful, lovely and arresting, totally Ondaatje.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting, stopping, starting, hesitating

What I've been doing:

1. Making a new edition of Chela's bball book
2. Still foiled on an edition of Jami's
3. Crying while watching "Milk"
4. Reading Joseph Campbell
5. Cleaning up after the window man
6. Free weights
7. Calling people who like to pass the buck (yes, they work for the gov't)
8. Getting a haircut
9. Being passed over for jury duty after calling in for three nights
10. Throwing things out into the world to construct my 2011.

But not a single sit-up. Maybe those, and some push-ups, will help motivate me towards the big task I've been avoiding for over a year now. But probably not. Who knows, though. I could start writing...tomorrow!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Work is hard but hanji has finally landed in NYC

Tonight's Book Arts Lounge went well! No time for being a lizard, and not even time to eat wasabi peas or whatever refreshments were out; there must have been at least 40 people in attendance. People started to come in well before the published start time and were all super engaged. I was going to make a joke at the beginning about how it was a lounge so the first portion (my lecture) was the part where I'd let people sleep, but i didn't even have time for that. The three hours actually seemed long, so I was able to cover a lot of material and then stagger my demos. It was the most amount of people I've ever had do joomchi in one space (this is one of the two bindery spaces and both were full), so it was like a massive drum circle. It seemed uncoordinated, but it was amazing to hear, at one moment, a lull when suddenly everyone stopped banging on the tables. And there was laughter. And what I especially love about all of the hanji workshops I've taught thus far: people always help each other, which lightens my load significantly.

I learn more each time I teach cording, and have to remember to include "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" into my demos. I also made my first public mention (even before I mentioned it here!) tonight about my jiseung teacher's wife: she passed away suddenly over a month ago. I was very upset and had gotten the news from my teacher the night before I left to meet Ben, but thankfully I've heard from him since and he is hanging in there. His entire immediate family is now gone, but he even said he wants to travel more, so I hope I can get him here sooner than later so he can perform his magic. Tonight reminded me again of my huge debts to all of my teachers in Korea, b/c they had been so generous. I think that is why I go all out whenever I get a chance to teach about hanji; it's the only way to go!

As an aside: the other night, I watched "The Story of the Weeping Camel." It's a wonderful film set in Mongolia and involves families, camels, and a morin khuur player (roughly a Mongolian violinist). Near the beginning, the men shear a camel and then bring the wool to an elder woman who is cording it into rope to create a harness for a colt. I had noticed the fuzzy rope at the very start of the film when an elder ties up sticks with it and had wondered, but was SO taken by watching the woman cord. It was like cording hanji only backwards! We cord from down to up and she was cording from up to down. I loved it. It's so funny the things that jump out at you once you key into certain things (like the random job cases and letterpresses in "Inception").

And a final hurrah from tonight: a student tonight told me about how we are all taught that Gutenberg did the first metal moveable type, but she told me about a tiny display somewhere in the depths of the natural history museum here in NYC that shows Korean metal moveable type, dated well before his time. I didn't know they had those artifacts since I figured all western cultures like to go w/the Gutenberg story. Maybe I'll look for it after jury duty next week. For now, I need a breather. I have to install one more set of window shades tomorrow (I did more today, manually, since the power drill stripped all of my screws) and then I am calling it a weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More is work

[Hiding out in the library trying to escape varnish fumes.] There was a time not long ago when I wondered why people were so obsessed with home improvement. Today I had to install blinds into four windows (screwing the screws in manually rather than with a drill, which excused me from my exercise for the day) and realized that doing that made the gaps in the windowsill moulding more apparent and then I was exasperated b/c that mean more caulking or something of that nature. There is NO END once you start these things.

Yesterday I was banished from the home after letting in the two men who were re-doing the floors. I am surprised that I survived to see today after sleeping in those fumes. But at least I was finally able to take down all the art I had taped into the windows as makeshift privacy screens, so I don't need to worry anymore about inadvertently destroying my art by opening the window. Now I get to prep for tomorrow's fun: teaching a hanji workshop at the Center for Book Arts in NYC. It's called a Book Arts Lounge and I will start with a presentation of my Fulbright research, and then pull out hanji for everyone to play with. $10 to learn how to cord and felt paper; doesn't get better than that!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

More of more

Home improvement can be endless. I suppose it usually is, but doing it every day gives me the sleeping sickness. I managed to stave off another nap today by watching "The Horse Boy," and finally reconstructed my last lost data. Which is a slideshow of my Cleveland summer: building the Morgan's hanji studio. The narration is not fabulous, nor is it subtitled, but it's the best it's going to be for the time being. Now I have to move onto Now Work.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A day late, a day early

Ah, my first gloomy-looking day since arriving back home. And huge piles, still, of work. But I managed to finish up the third in an edition of 3 yesterday that I had started in Ithaca, so that made me feel slightly more sane, to be able to do a tiny bit of the work that I'd rather be doing. These days, it's the home renovation business that has taken all of my energy, so I can't even blame the admin for keeping me away from the art. But it's fine: having a nice place to live makes it easier to work, in the long run.

In my strangely-long-lasting jet lag, I forgot to mention a show that opened last night in NYC. It's been traveling around the world for the past few years and I have a tiny green piece in it. This Saturday (6-8pm), Manhattan Graphics Center will have an opening, which includes work of past scholarship recipients, so my work will be on the wall.

But, most exciting: tomorrow, Velma's solo show will open in Potsdam, NY! That book up there, I have four of, and one has her name on it. Which means I need to call my photog today so I can shoot them and then release them into the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

B/c I can't think about myself anymore

Two things. One, make a postcard to protest hydrofracking! It is a terrible thing that corporate entities like to do to get natural gas out of the earth, by poisoning everyone else's water supply. They get away with it by keeping ignorance up, and throwing money at people who need it too much to turn it down:

1. Exit Art SEA seeks artist’s postcards, deaedline Nov. 24

Dear Friends,

Good News! Exit Art SEA is having an exhibition about hydrofracking for natural gas in December.

I'm writing, as one of the organizers of this show along with Lauren Rosati, Peggy Cyphers, and Alice Zinnes, to invite you to send a postcard as a way of participating in our efforts to bring awareness and information about this technology that, if it proceeds, will have huge, damaging consequences to the environment... specifically the Delaware River Basin and upstate New York.

Please send to Exit Art a post card with a small drawing (or image) on it, and a few words about hydrofracking. It is due this month by Nov 24. And if you can, please ask friends to send a post card as well.

Exit Art SEA
475 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
(212) 966-7745

Thank you very much, in advance, for sending a card!

best wishes,

Ruth Hardinger, FF Alumn

Two, remember to vote if you can! I may have been up until 4am stressing last night, but I still made a point to vote as soon as I got up.

Related to that, I wanted to share some things from An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms:
MT: There isn't much discussion of the spiritual ideals of these other cultures, either. How is that related to what's going on in the world politically?

JC: In politics and economics, the mode inevitably is conflict. Politics is winning over somebody else; economics is, again, winning over somebody else. I think it's a good thing to have to fight, and to be in the world struggle; that's what life is. But it's in the spiritual realm that there are constants. It's a shame that typically there's been a fight in the spiritual realm also, namely, "Our religion is the true one, and these other people are pagans or infidels or whatnot," which is the political accent. The comparative approach, on the other hand, allows you to recognize the constants; it allows you to recognize that you are in counterplay--in your political and economic life--with one of your own kind, and you can regard the person as a "thou," as you would in a tennis game. You are no longer fighting a monster. But the old political style turns the man on the other side of the net into a monster. In every war we've done that. But to know that the other person is a "thou," a human being with the same sentiments and potentialities as yourself, at least civilizes the game. Then in other relationships there is the possibility of a real sense of accord and commonality.

What's before us now is the problem of our social group. What is it? Our social group is mankind. Formerly, it was this group or that. And in the older traditions, love was reserved for the in-group; aggression and all that was for others. There is no out-group now, so what are we going to do with the aggression? It has to be civilized.

Do you think politics can catch up?

I don't know what politics can do. I think it's fair to say that I'm a little bit discouraged by the people who are involved in the political life of this country. I begin to feel it has been betrayed. Its potentialities have been sold for values that are inscrutable to me.

We don't seem to honor our artists and poets very much in our culture. Are there civilizations that do?

It's worse here in the United States. In France, they name streets after their poets; we have them named after generals.

What does that reflect?

It reflects, I think, a businessman's mentality. That's what's running, and has run, and has made this country. It's a curiously unartistic country in its common character, and yet it has produced some of the greatest artists of the century. But they're not recognized publicly; those that are recognized publicly are the razzle-dazzlers who come across in the popular media.

And you feel that it's important that art and poetry and music be a vital part of any culture.

It is what is vital; the rest isn't.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Return to the living

[Bald eagle nest.] I got a surprise email last night from Alex, who is in town, and once I got his confirmation this morning, I realized I had to get up and get dressed and Have A Day instead of sit at home all day with the dogs (which is not a bad thing to do once in a while. I loved witnessing the truth that all they do is sleep). I worked briefly with Alex in Chicago and printed his wedding invites and haven't seen him in years. He looks great and walked me to the beach where we saw three blondes in bikinis doing some kind of photo shoot in what was probably pretty cold water, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Since the last time I saw him, he has maintained his upbeat attitude, which I appreciate more now. He's also a great host, so I got fruit when I arrived, a fab lunch, and snacks for the road. I'm really glad I was able to make that visit today.

Then I walked to the De Young Museum, b/c I wanted to see the dye show there. I saw lots of other things I loved, like a tiny Inuit comb with figures and ships, baskets from all over, a Robert Motherwell painting, a super fun group of trompe l'oeil paintings, feathered cloaks, and so on. I was also very pleased w/my ability to navigate the city w/o getting lost. While walking to the museum, I saw all these leaves on the sidewalk that looked familiar, and I realized I had made them to send to Mexico, year ago. I mean, I hadn't made the ones at my feet today, but that's how I recognized them: I had made paper leaves to look like eucalyptus leaves, which I had never really studied in real life. But they looked exactly the same! So that was a satisfying walk. Things are looking up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Survivors

[Lake Tahoe.] This cruise was the highlight of the family trip out west. The rest was unspeakably difficult, and all of the drama unforeseen. But at least everyone, I think, is home safely. I'm still west, in San Francisco, trying to shake it off. Or at least sleep. I will be overjoyed to return home this weekend, though last night's hotel in San Bruno was lovely, and I get to see Paulette and Ellen here! They are the only reasons I am spending any extra time here. This has been a month of serious adventures and extreme highs and lows; probably the most eventful October I've had since I was born!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to the road

We made another trip to the airport this afternoon. I have been to Logan so many times in the last two weeks I can't keep track. Tomorrow morning will be our last, Ben back to deployment and my final big leg of the Great Month of Travel: California. The travel and admin have been a bit of a drag but overall the R&R has been a great success. More ideas and opportunities are flowing in, for ways to shape the future, and Ann did another thoughtful post about me that gave me some perspective on all the work I've been doing thus far. Time to pack, again!

p.s.--The MassArt William Kentridge show is fabulous. That totally made my Boston trip.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reluctant dive back into work

[That's Ben during his first splash into the Atlantic on our last day of vacation.] Upon Ben's suggestion, I made a to do list for today late last night, and have ticked off most of it. I get to see Katherine tonight and stay with her before I head to an appointment tomorrow in Boston, but I'm reluctant to enter the world already. It's only a 24-hour separation, but chunks of time seem enormous when we're past the half-way mark of his 15-day leave. In the meantime, life moves along: Ann Martin did a nice blog post on jiseung, and Velma kindly gave me the heads up about my picture in the new issue of Fiberarts Magazine on page 15 in their News section, about new craft centers. They talk about the hanji studio we built at the Morgan this summer. I also found out that the federal court has finally complied with my schedule requests and gave me a perfect date for jury duty, after my big obligations are over!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Too much flying

I had given myself until tomorrow to be "on vacation" but of course I am unable to not work, or at least, not fret about not working. To the vacation's credit, I got sucked into it enough to miss a couple of deadlines, but that's not the end of the world. On our way back from Florida, I gave some JetBlue employees a big laugh by falling all over luggage and not being able to get up (it was outrageously funny). I spent a good portion of my birthday sick from excessive travel, but I was taken care of remarkably well and was able to pull myself together enough for a big dinner w/Ben and his family. His mom was a total sweetheart and baked a HUGE chocolate cake for me that was unveiled when we returned home. I haven't blown out candles since ... I have no idea! It's been so long that I forgot to make a wish.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On vacay

Landed in Florida today after a nice wedding weekend in Virginia (don't worry, not MINE). Ben is back and well and it is such a treat to spend time together. For the first time in my self-employed life, I am putting an out-of-office reply on my email account. Time to chillax and enjoy the ocean view!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Love the soldier, hate the war

So much for my bus nap; I just discovered that Chinatown buses now have wifi (this is the view). I'm on the way to Boston to meet Ben, who is flying right now. He made it back in record time, it seems. I'm looking forward to vacation, though I'm still behind on work. At the rest stop, I was in such a rush that I saw "MEN" and filled in the "WO" in my head and ran right on into the men's room. I haven't done this in years and thought those days were behind me! This is why fe/male and wo/men are such stupid words, and why it sucks to be of the gender whose identifying terms are all built onto the ones for another gender! Though sometimes I also get confused by bad logos, like when the woman's skirt is so narrow it looks like pants.

I had a busy few days in NYC trying to pull things together and things were going great until yesterday, when my sister and I had lunch out and then immediately got food poisoning. I had my first round of vomiting in the bathroom--I ran in after we walked out. She had to use a trash can, and then I pushed her over for round two. We made it a few more blocks before she had to stop at another trash can, and then we got home and crawled into bed for a nap. So most of yesterday was a wash. But I'm mostly recovered and will be fine once we get through this snarly traffic. And the sun has finally emerged!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Playing catch up

Caron took this photo back in the day when we got to hang out in green paradise (btw, isn't her website grand? Daniel put it together for her and I think it's fab). Back when I was hacking milkweed in the kitchen to steam. Which may have been totally unnecessary, if you look at how pros like Velma (4th picture down) do it. This obviously means that someday in the future, I will have to do green milkweed again to paper to learn more. This may be something running alongside me my whole life!

I'm locked inside (literally, no keys) and it's rainy and grey in NYC. I'm trying to catch up on my massive admin backlog but I am SO uninterested in doing that. I am much more interested in napping, taking vitamin C, and figuring out what to cook for dinner for a couple that will be very grateful for it after a full Monday in the office.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Back on the road

I never got good pictures of the trail blazes at Saltonstall, so these are all images courtesy of Caron. I also never got a final intentional hike b/c it rained and rained and rained for our final bit of time.

This image is hilarious b/c I was SO angry when Caron shot this. But it's me driving, which is ALL I was up to yesterday. Imagine the same posture but total grey and water where you see flashes of green. I drove through bad, bad storms and horrible driving weather: the torrential rain where you can't see anything and the noise is so bad you feel like you're under attack, and thick fog where, again, you can't see anything. I stopped about an hour from home to pee and grab food, and then made a bunch more stops before I spent the night w/a friend on the river. Storm central!

[This was during our visit to Skaneateles: a gorgeous letterpressed edition of Ulysses with etchings by Robert Motherwell.] Now I'm at the public library, watching and hearing the wind do its work, and not looking forward to figuring out how I'm going to unpack/pack for a month completely on the road. I'll sleep in about ten beds, fly on five planes, and be in five states this month. Only two weddings, though. This will be the ultimate test of my packing prowess: not only am I limited to carry on luggage, but I don't know where anything is b/c all of my belongings are now in storage, in no particular order. Makes me want to crawl into a ball and nap in the children's section of the library.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Last day!

Caron left me a story yesterday and I sketched it out last night. This morning, I drew it into two books. One for me, one for her.

Pogo is great to have around. She gives things that no human could, plus she makes me run up the hill a lot, so I am grateful for the cardio.

Denise is responsible for our delicious dinners and is probably delighted to be done cooking for us since we don't do a great job keeping the kitchen neat, but she's SO much fun to be around.

Brooke is the most dedicated runner I've ever met at a residency. Every day, without fail! Judy was just saying the same thing to her at this very moment.

Denise, Daniel, Ryan, Caron before dinner. I was ravenous but had to restrain myself. So tonight is my last night of overeating! Wohoo! I started packing already even though I told myself I'd do it in the morning. I think I will beeswax some bark hanji and then I can do a full-on pack. SO much work awaits me, which I'm not looking forward to, but it has been a fabulous month. Thank you, Connie.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The thing about paper

is that it all flies away when it's windy! Which is why it's tricky balancing cross ventilation for air circulation with laying lots of tiny scraps out all over the studio. Last night after dinner, I printed up a new poem for a set of four books. Somehow, I thought I would sew them all that night.

HA! I got one done and went to bed. This morning, I thought I'd finish all three before lunch. HA! I ended up talking to Judy for a while and it was good b/c she looked at one of the books and I realized that the placement of one word was bad b/c it was right where a reader would naturally place her thumb, and thus, never read the word. I finally finished the whole batch after lunch and this is the scene of the crime.

They're so lovely all together that it will be sad when they part ways. One for sure will go to Velma for a trade.

The book refers to a famous 16th-century Korean kisaeng and poet. I had been stuck last night writing, b/c I was using a difficult form and riding on negative energy. Once I pulled away from both the form and the content, it all came together. Meanwhile, I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I made no BIG work here as I had planned. I didn't know I was going to make a billion books. But I guess that is that. I wrapped up a few paper samples instead of making my usual obsessive sample books, just so the paper is saved, and am trying not to overexert myself or force work that isn't ready.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain and sauna

This is a very satisfying stack of books. I have to tie them up or they spring open and are very unruly. But I'm SO glad that they're all bound. The content is still a mystery for all six of them but I'll deal with that later. The on the on the very top is a 3-in-1 book.

I made this edition of two books from concrete paper I made in Cleveland this summer. I had been on the fence about doing it and then last night I just cut down all the paper for it. This morning, before my massage, I sewed them up, and afterwards did the glue and text and so on. They're very satisfying, too, and I am so glad that I finally found a use for this paper.

The massage was lovely. It's been a low-key day in that I haven't exercised, ate too much rich food, and napped. But I also did my best in facing an old demon, printed Robert Motherwell images onto hanji, and let the ideas fly. Just a couple more days, so we're all hunkering down in our studios.