Saturday, June 29, 2013

Three thirds!

Susan's brilliant bark pages woven hanji cover book.  Julie called it essentially a Melissa Jay Craig / Aimee Lee mashup.
 Gale's coffee-dyed hanji cover book with beads on the spine and threads sewn throughout.
Dina's festive joomchi yarn: she carefully made hanji confetti, felted it to a big base sheet, and prepared this yarn to knit with.
Donna's baskets, a mix of hanji, pattern paper, and cedar bark.
 Zia's lovely joomchi samples using all sorts of test papers from this classroom and beyond, plus non-traditional shapes for base sheets.
Julie's kakishibu-dyed hanji covers with Iowa kozo pages sewn in with kozo bark thread.
Diane's joomchi covers with jiseung cords running throughout, one of many joomchi samples that include landscapes and lacy hanji from lots of thorough handling.
Dawn's gorgeous joomchi sample using hanji and grab bag papers, making the best use of almost yarn.
Steph's final book cover that proves she is getting better and better as she twines away.
Leia's amazingly tight paper yarn, all done with her hands because she was wearing pants so her thighs were not available for rolling.

I'm fried by the sudden increase in heat, something like a 20 degree jump in a day, but grateful for these full days and wonderful, engaged students. I keep learning more and more, and get to meet titans of the book arts world each day. Tomorrow is the market, so fingers crossed for enough book sales to allow me to fly home without excess baggage!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Two thirds

Steph's excellent way of turning a mistake into a lovely joomchi sample.
I had an extra piece of bark left and remembered amate and tapa production (this closer to the former because it's cooked). I didn't have a rock so I started with the bottom of one of my jiseung teacups.
Oops. I forgot about all the extra gunk in that bark that is now trapped in the crevices of this teacup. This will be a nightmare to remove but a lesson well learned. Partway through, Julie was kind enough to share some rocks with me and I flattened the rest of the 6-foot bark piece easily.
Diane's and Zia's table of drying joomchi samples.
I absolutely love having chalkboards. I had never known the botanical name for konnyaku and now kind of regret knowing what it is (but understand why it is named that way, based on how it looks).
I had time for the first time ever since I've started these workshops to take apart my joomchi teaching samples and combine about five of them into one. Very satisfying, and a good way to show how more layers shrink more than less layers.
I also got a chance to use up some paper yarn samples to twine away on my jiseung book cover sample. Tonight is a quiet work evening, helping one student who is putting in lots of extra hours to make the most of tomorrow, last day! The more time I have for this class, the more I want.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

One third

This floor perplexed me, a plastic coating on the carpet to protect it. I feel like I'm shrink wrapped but I did drop a container of PVA on the floor (it didn't open) and I was grateful for the protection. It doesn't look like it, but I am in lush Oregon, not far from Portland, teaching at the Focus on Book Arts Conference.

I am doing my best to pace myself more slowly this time, luxuriating in a 3-day workshop (rather than one or two). So everyone got a LOT of time to work with bark. I already learned a bunch in terms of people not being able to read my mind because we cooked in class and everyone rinsed their own bark. I forgot to tell them to keep it intact, but it's a good lesson for everyone. For me to be more clear in instruction, and for students to see how much bark falls apart even after just an hour of cooking.

The whole afternoon, almost, was devoted to cords. But I let up in the last half hour with some big sheet joomchi. I have a lovely group of ladies with varied degrees of separation (some I already knew, some were passing acquaintances from other chapters of my life, and so on). I have to say that having a fancy computer projection system is very exciting. I can pull together slideshows and show them instantly, or project handouts not available in person, or show movies when people are cording. But not tonight: time for dinner, and a conversation with book dealers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Late days and nights

Too exhausted to fix the time/date stamp, and who cares, because I still have no idea what day it is. I felt it was every day except Monday, the day it was. I don't know how I survived the day with so little sleep but I'm glad I did. These trees are doing what I would like to do right now.
After the Cave visit and gratifying time with Bridget, she dropped Ching-In and me off near the Walker. We drifted to lunch, errands, and tea time, which involved trying not to fall asleep and reading a first-hand account of a Hmong author.
Then Juliane joined us and we braved the wavering weather (rain, clouds, clouds, rain?) to walk through the sculpture garden across from the Walker, which included a visit to the mini golf functional art. Then we went to stroll around Uptown, all the while craving ice cream.
After a good long bookstore visit, we made it to ice cream! I like how an entire afternoon can be spent looking for it and friendships strengthened over sweet dairy.
We then had Somali food for dinner, and met James and his son for a reunion. We haven't met together (James and Ching-In and me) since first meeting in January 2007 in Vermont.
Now, it's way past bedtime, and I still wonder if I'll be able to haul everything to the airport tomorrow without falling down like all of these storm-damaged ones. I'll find out in a few hours!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Going deep

I played with the time stamp to make sure it's still Sunday in my head. What a FULL experience! One that I didn't really even attempt to document with my camera. Too much to show, too much going on, wonderful things. One of my students bravely made yarn from an entire 2 x 3 foot sheet of hanji. This is only one of the many ambitious things that went on all weekend in the wonderful spaces of MCBA. What an amazingly vibrant, beautiful, well-equipped and cared for space!
Maybe someday I'll get to make paper here. For now, I just admired the mill (there another space downstairs where you can make paper, and another beater/beater room! Insane.
And I am shown up by my generous students. I talked in my lecture on Friday (which even was cause for my name on the marquee. I didn't know this until I was told and was so hungry for lunch that I didn't photograph it. I just rushed inside after marveling at "Korean papermaking" in lights so I could eat) about gifting being a big part of my work. Then Karen gave me some Korean hemp, the ladies of the Hanji Crew gave me a bookmark they had made from hanji that I made in Cleveland when they supported my fundraising efforts to build the studio there, and Teri brought fresh flowers from her daughter's garden.

Saturday I was lucky to spend time with Bridget, and tonight with Amanda, both of the Cave. RICHES. I also met Teri, who is family of people who helped me immensely before and during my research in Korea. It turns out her husband trained me over ten years ago back in my past non-profit administrative life. The sun has returned to the city after flash storms my first night that did major damage. So many downed trees, power outages, the works. Inside and oblivious, I was happily yammering away about paper worlds. And one more massive gift: Jana came this morning with a bark-scraping knife, drying brush, and bal from Lynn Amlie's days in Korea doing her groundbreaking hanji learning and research. This place, what a place! I like it here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I have no idea what day it is and have been struggling to figure it out for the last few hours as I prepare for class. I was convinced it was Monday at breakfast, then Sunday, then Friday. Wrong on all counts, but something about traveling through time zones (even if it's only one) and through the least obvious ways (modern air travel means traveling from A to C to B) has warped my sense of everything. Where am I, why am I here, and am I ready? Of course I am ready to teach in the Twin Cities, and though I would love a little more sleep, I always prefer traveling backwards through time so I have real morning time.

I found these old images in a Korean book about jiseung and wish I had a suit of paper armor right now. I know soldiers these days have to withstand things worse than cold, arrows, and stones, but this paper armor seems much kinder than the Kevlar and fireproofed poison things they wear now (though certainly warfare was just as barbaric then as it is now).

Last night's talk at MCBA was great. I was so impressed by the space: what an amazing center for book arts! I look forward to teaching there this weekend and in the meantime, enjoy more of Chandler's Droplets.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Almost in the air

After all the, I'm leaving soon, I'm leaving soon, it's finally on top of me. I hate leaving home at 5:30am but sometimes these things happen. What I want to leave you with for now:

1. Tomorrow, Friday (June 21), I'll speak at 7pm at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis. Lots and LOTS of hanji samples and objects, books to be signed and taken away while held close to the heart, and tons of images (you can imagine the whole thing to be a movie b/c I click through slides so quickly).

2. New pictures of new work! The knitted slip & slide, and then a bunch of new jiseung pieces here, which start at this image (you can click on the image to go forward).

3. It's hard to find public art (or really any) that is well sited, thoughtfully conceived, and well executed. But now there are droplets in Tacoma! I often admire Chandler and her work from afar because she is on the opposite coast, and then I was able to admire her from up close when I was in Tacoma this spring. Now, another reason to visit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back to the list

I'm tackling the to do list that grows two or three more tasks for each one I cross of, but I feel I am making decent headway. I was soaked through yesterday in a downpour while running from my photo shoot to visit the China Institute's current exhibit. My big fear is that if I don't prepare right now for everything to come in the next two months (instead of simply the 11 days that I will be in Minnesota and Oregon), that my less-than-a-week time between long stretches of gigs and moving will be insufficient, and I will drown. Plus, the weather is nice NOW and more conducive to working. The first and last week of July will likely be sticky, full of the drone of air conditioners, and less supportive of diligence.

Then again, when I look back at similarly hectic schedules I've entertained in the not too distant past, I know that I won't drown because I'm here now. Now I'm looking back at what I just wrote and laughing because clearly I am an enormous control freak. So, how did I learn enough to make that bead necklace out of paper? You may already know but here's the story again in the Kyoto Journal (that article was first written for Bull & Branch, and became the seed that sprouted into Chapter Six of my book).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sample flurry

Sample book #2 on left, #1 on right. Can you tell I was listening to a discussion about old British methods of execution and how hard it was to be beheaded by a person wielding a sword for the one on the left and a family quarrel on the right?
The colors are all weird but I am lazy both with my camera settings and my Photoshop settings. This book includes both flat and joomchied hanji.
Open the smaller book to this spread, which also covered the time when I was listening to a woman talk about endometriosis.
Open it all the way for all of the brushed samples. I was SO relieved last night to finally finish my longer paper bead necklace, but I'll wait until later to show that to you. Today, Stefan will take care of the true photography for this latest batch of jiseung.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Yesterday I made one sample book and hopefully today I'll manage another. I have a few more final errands to do before I fly this week to Minneapolis but you can never have too many sample books.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kitchen oasis

I've been luxuriating in my interim time, which is precious for all sorts of reasons (used as down time, lazy time, work time, prep time, stay-in-one-place time, eat cookies time, etc.), but still punctuated by useless guilt that I'm not doing something else. Today has been delightful because I've been messing with pomegranate dye, testing on various kinds of hanji and also on hanji coated with soy milk. I wish I didn't have to do anything else, but the other tasks are helpful for different parts of the brain, like delving into a Korean jiseung book that talks about the paper armor of soldiers on border patrol being made from the state exams of failed test takers. The little things bring joy, like being able to ingest the ingredients for dyeing and wondering what it was like to weave with ancient blue books.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Slow acceptance

It looks like all of my summer classes are a go, which is great. But this will be a giant monster of an endurance test: seven cities in seven states in seven weeks plus a move to the last city at the end of all that flying and driving. The logistics have been dizzying, because each class has a different requirement for types and quantity of hanji, as well as prep. I've been in denial about how much travel and work is ahead, but it's time to snap out of it and ready the road show, once again.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The storm before the calm

Most of my recent output, minus a whole lot of beads. Now that my fingers are yelling for a rest, I take stock and then head out the door. Trying to do the compartmentalizing thing that Louis C.K. said he tries to do, being inspired by sharks (because they have to rest different parts of their brain at a time; sleeping entirely would kill them). Off to see strong women, family, and real estate (not for me—I'm the third eye).

Update: I keep forgetting to say that my solo show in Park City opened this week at the Kimball Art Center. Visit if you can, because I can't!

Friday, June 07, 2013


Squirrel and ant behavior these days, a bit. Enjoying the cool and rain.