Thursday, April 26, 2012

Processing and recovering

Oh, wow. That week in Ohio was even more intense than my first trip to the Morgan when I worked around the clock. And this time I didn't lose any weight, either. The students were not very happy when I dragged them outdoors to see the kozo garden at the Morgan so I hustled them back in as quickly as I could. My fault for having them take off jackets BEFORE we took that trip outside. But I had been working for hours before they arrived so I was already as warmed up as I was going to get. I flew home yesterday after a late session of drying hanji (I crawled into bed at 2am and was up again by 6:20am). It's a miracle I didn't crash the rental car with all the heavy-eyed driving I was doing, but I was so happy to connect with the people that I did, both in Cleveland and at Oberlin.
Meanwhile, I got a lovely package of Bulhwaji books from Asao Shimura today. Ten books, all for sale at 22 USD each, contact me if you want to buy. About 11 leaves of info about hanji and Asao's trip to Korea, plus five small samples of hanji, four of them dyed with organic dye and kon'nyaku, and then two teeny samples of shifu (one washed white, one right after weaving).
I finally typed out my notes from the Book in East Asia workshop I was so honored to attend at Oberlin this past week. It was a day and a half of super intensity, but we all came away having learned a ridiculous amount. This image was from their postcards and posters for the public lectures, and we got to see the original at the art museum, which I loved straightaway. He is writing on a banana leaf! It's too wonderful. And what does it remind me of?
I love it! Anyhow, I did want to share a few notes from the workshop, which I believe is the first to gather scholars (professors, conservators, librarians, etc.) of the book in China/Korea/Japan:

To learn how to handle Chinese and Japanese scrolls, the Freer Sackler has videos online!

People love printmaking, and have for centuries (no one said this, I just remembered it).

Stab bindings (the official name being side-stitched bindings) happened in East Asia b/c the paper was so thin and flexible and strong. I usually hate teaching stabs because I was taught to do them with Western paper, and the cheap, thick, stiff stuff totally works against the binding.

Buddhists love books.

Even people who are obsessed with books don't seem to share that zeal for paper. Paper becomes invisible as it supports the contents of books.

Cutters, who were the artisans who cut woodblocks for printing, were itinerant (traveling for work), taught while they traveled/worked, and were willing to work for very low wages. I must have been a cutter in a past life because that is the exact description of me, now!

Even really smart scholars use words that they have never heard spoken aloud.

In research (and life, I believe), you only see something once you are ready to see it.

People are still willing to talk to me even on bad hair days (which will be every day until this cut grows out).

Most importantly, it is surreal to try and switch between manual labor and intellectual labor. I went from two days of pure brute force (beating fiber) to two days of sitting on my ass and listening to lectures and panels and papers and watching the slides go by, to three more days of wet, cold labor. But I am glad that the students went from the workshops and lectures to getting wet in the paper studio. It's always nice to come away with something tangible.

I'm going to be on various trains for something like eight hours tomorrow, all told, so I can make it to the closing reception of my solo exhibit in Connecticut. I don't think I've ever booked such last-minute tickets, but I was so wholly consumed in Ohio that I could not think an hour ahead of my present second. I am still confused as to what day and month and year it is, and in shock that I will be in Santa Fe in less than a week!

1 comment:

  1. i'm exhausted reading this, let alone moving at this pace! wow!


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