Thursday, August 29, 2013

The slimmest thread

First thing in the morning, I learned the dangers of rushing: I walked into the bed frame and my shin is suffering, but luckily missed the knee. Then I proceeded to forget to change out of my flip flops into normal shoes and was mortified at each meeting I had to have such informally shod feet. Among other things. But I survived my first two downtown meetings after the initial frenzy, walked through the farmers market, called Velma, and drove to Oberlin. These mushrooms are on the lawn in front of
the building where we may potentially hold a papermaking class in the winter. It is always so strange to return to campus, but I was happy to be with allies who support fully my papermaking charge and then ran into my drawing prof and very first advisor.
Gang showers a bit of a mess but at least one is still operating, so we have water! After the site visit and follow up, I got to meet the wife of someone I met last weekend at a networking BBQ, and she had some great ideas for resources. One was this website, 100 days in cleveland. After finishing up at Oberlin, I drove to the western suburbs to meeting with the director of a music studio about teaching violin lessons. So much to think about if I return to my old stomping grounds, this business of music education!
After dropping by the Morgan to unload paper I made Monday and to have another meeting about a loooming grant deadline, I visited the opening of the faculty exhibit at CIA and enjoyed the range of the work, coveted a few things, and bumped into new and old friends. I somehow made it back home right before dark. One more meeting tomorrow and possibly another opening, but otherwise, more grant busting, admin, and hopefully getting back to the paper! This weekend I'm hoping for quiet studio time. Which reminds me, I'd love to be HERE.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The joys of a single-site day: deep, enchanting, with no hurriedness about getting to the next place. I was wrong to think the wet weather would dampen my excitement or the spirit of this meeting. I had no idea that not far from the city was this beautiful space, the University Farm.
This, on new acreage purchased through a generous family gift: cacti growing in Ohio! In sand, no less.
Not far from this pond, which the cattails are happily taking over. They have waders so we can go out to harvest when we are ready.
A multipurpose room in one of the old Wade family buildings, used when the place was a dairy farm. There are masks and antlers looking quite ceremonial in the old silo! The light you see from the left comes from the huge garage door that opens this room to look out to the farm that provides food to the Case dining halls.
Old dairy farm, right?? This was the indoor space that Ana, the director of the farm, showed me as ideal for wet floor work (the drain is off to the left).
Ceramics classes happen in the old pig pen structure. A handy troth runs down the entire length of the room and down to the drain. Water here comes from wells.
And the glorious horse barn that was saved from demolition! The interior is stunning, even in dim lighting. The roof is new and some walls are rebuilt, but improvements are on hold.
The top floor of the horse barn, gorgeous. We were looking at the spaces and both could imagine so much. I am hoping for a fruitful partnership here, and heartened already by all of the fiber sources readily available. The morning was all grantwriting, so by the time I got home from getting groceries, all I could manage was cooking and eating as fast as I could before resting a bit. Now, time for nighttime admin, but well nourished by walking land with a kindred spirit.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New pacing attempt

[Melissa and her ears.] Yesterday everything was shrieking in my head because I hadn't taken any real time off for a while. I keep forgetting that it's okay and useful to take evenings and weekends away from work because there is so much I want to push forward. But of course nothing much of lasting value comes from pushing. So last night I decided to pace myself a little better. Today, I went in late and left early. Tomorrow, I won't go in at all but I WILL visit a farm. Thursday is a complete reversal because I have six different appointments. But only one on Friday!
I did insist to myself yesterday that I had to make paper, and I did, though it was decidedly poor stuff. And today I did some more sewing on a piece that may or may not go into the Morgan's fundraiser. I survived a meeting that I was dreading, only to find that things are not as dire as they seem! Back to baby steps.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunny bursting weekends

The days slide by, FULL beyond imagining. Friday was my day to visit Loganberry Books, the Verne Gallery, and the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse. It was a welcome detour from the usual days. I've also gotten great quality time with Melissa in between her long days of teaching. Saturday I met a bunch of Asian people at Edgewater Park, and that may have been my one and only summer bbq (it's possible there were more but I have no memory at the moment).
There's another festival today but the exhaustion catches up to me daily, so it might just be half-hearted admin, and then dinner with Melissa and her longtime friend, before we turn in early. The doors have gone up in the new beater room, and I hope more doors keep opening to me as I figure out the best way to build a life here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Whirling about

Yesterday I had many meetings, and the highlight of the day came when I went over to visit CPAC and saw this welcome sign on the door. This is one of the smartest things I have seen an organization implement as visitor policy! Even before you set foot inside, you feel special.
Melissa arrived after all of my meetings and we talked and talked and talked late into the night. I decided to crash with her on the floor (we had our separate sections), grateful for air conditioning as the humidity has been rising. She had gifts and stories and most importantly, enough energy after the long drive to provide wonderful company! Today, she had MASSIVE prep for her totally-booked class that begins tomorrow. I got through lots of odds and ends because I need to clear away my things for the classes that will occupy the studio over the next few days. Up there is beautiful pina paper by Asao. So strong, so lovely!
Up there is the slightest bit of joomchi, below is thigh-spun pina paper thread.
And this is that same thigh-spun thread tightened up on the bobbin winder. I used some of it to sew a big piece that I was joomchi-ing in the morning.
There are about a billion projects going on in every single corner of the Morgan right now. The beater room walls are going up, and Stephanie was hard at work today working with Mason on it. I have had the nicest few days in the bindery getting to know Marlene, one of the interns, and will be sad to see her go.
And, sorely neglected today was my admin work. Yikes! But I absolutely love this call for stories for next summer's Hand Papermaking issue. A ceramic artist friend recently suggested that maybe I take one more day off from the studio, and that may happen tomorrow, though days away from the studio are not days off. There are two libraries I definitely want to visit sooner than later. And I probably can't stay away for long, because I am greedy for more of Melissa's company.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Looking forward

This is a picture by Julie, of her own beautiful dress made of BigAss paper (piled on the table) and sumi ink, macrame belt, and impeccable design and patterning. I absolutely love her work, and her. Yesterday was a big watershed, huge changes coming from unexpected gifts of service. I'm looking at my life and trajectory differently. Not drastically, but like what Louis C.K. mentions in his Live at the Beacon show, about being high and driving and realizing he probably has not looked out the windshield for about 25 minutes, neglecting an entire "spectrum of responsibility." I sometimes feel like that, in a real car and in my life: so busy fiddling with the controls and figuring out how all the accessories work that I get distracted from the most important task at hand. Whether that task is getting somewhere or not crashing the car is still up for grabs.

If you like mail art type things and poets, write to Joe:

Melissa arrives today!! Life gets better and better.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Repercussions of antsy

I can't believe there aren't more images of the beater room coming together, but then again, all hands are need for the work. It's going to be strange to have this area walled in, but it will also be fantastic to have a beater room (and smaller, warmer work space for wintertime).
In the process of waving away flies outside during lunch, I ended up throwing my phone across the cement. I have too many things going on my head and my body just flails around. But the nice thing about quiet Mondays is that I was able to finish up the last bits of paper on my sorry stump loom. It has been mesmerizing, even though I know I could be doing it better and wish Velma could be at my elbow. I was also very happy to finally get a chance to clean out and organize the cabinet for eastern papermaking, and there were lots of surprises in there. Oh, and lots of scraps are soaking in a bucket for papermaking that I hope happens this week.

Juliane alerted me to Ruth Asawa's passing, and I took a moment to look at her work. Of course the crocheted wire is wonderful, but I love that she did some paper-related things, too.


Julie sent me this picture from my hanji class at the Morgan and it makes me laugh because it's SO how I feel right now. Leaning in, impatient, about to leap to the next thing. I'm going crazy waiting for an upload because I had hoped to be in the studio by now after taking my one day away. I forget that no one realizes how much artists/teachers are asked to do when proposing, planning, and preparing for classes. We are only paid for being present on the days that the activities occur. But I have spent DAYS on the computer, the phone, and in my head to conceive, apply (even when acceptance is implicit), and get confirmed for a conference gig next year. Those days go into the ether of Hey, So Glad People Work For Free!

Now, off to go work for free. But in a more joyful capacity.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First day off

Today will be the very first day since I've arrived where I will NOT go to the studio. Imagine that, a 17-day workweek. Yesterday, I made the little blue miniature basket and these four are sitting on the top of a cork. I made one more blue baby before I ran out to meet a wonderful fiber artist/teacher and his family for a feast of Korean food at their lovely home. I am constantly dumbfounded by the generosity and friendship offered to me in such large quantities, and grateful.

Call for hanji artists!

I am preparing an article about hanji for submission to the Guild of Book Workers Journal. I'd like to include artists, especially those who work in book arts, who exploit the full potential of hanji and its unique properties. If you would like to be considered for inclusion, please email me at contact[at]aimeelee[dot]net with an attached statement (no longer than 1 page, .doc, .docx) about how and why you use hanji in your artwork, and how that work fits into your overall practice as an artist. Please also attach 5-7 images (.jpg, no larger than 2 MB each) of pertinent hanji artwork and a separate document with a work sample inventory (title, date, media, dims). If you are selected for inclusion, I will contact you later with information on exact resolution and size of images.

All submissions received by September 2, 2013, will receive full consideration. I will contact you regardless of outcome by September 16, 2013.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pacing still clunky

One of the last days of BigAss this week, before they broke down the screens and siphoned off the vat into the garden, went inevitably to blue paper. Tom loves blue kozo (try to guess which limbs are attached to him in this photo).
You never really know how it looks until it dries. There were some huge deckle box sheets that were turning into a giving tree, which will be displayed during the kozo garden dedication next month.
I had been feeling blue and discouraged about what I'm doing (or not), but Friday came with a wealth of gifts. I had already gotten a lovely kozo-core drop spindle from Kevin last weekend. Then the mail came with a lovely article about my Minneapolis workshop in Korean Quarterly by Libby, shifu from Asao, a letter from Jim with lots of reading and insights, a check for my book from Vagner with a gift certificate, and the most beautiful card and artwork from Therese of hanji made in my class and shifu learned in Velma's. ENTIRELY wonderful and loving and perfectly timed. Then Claudio came by from Montana on his way home to Oberlin, and dropped off equipment and knapweed paper to share.

Speaking of mail art, you can my letter to Joe and Cheryl on a handmade paper apron here.

MAYBE I will allow myself a day off today from work as I still attempt to sort out the best way to schedule my days and nights and everything in between.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Belated but still heart lodged

We went from lovely summer to low temps almost as soon as Julie and Mike left for Iowa this week. But I promised some Big Ass Paper process images. Here, hogging the vat. The screen is already inside, on the floor of the vat, and Julie (in green) is standing on it to keep it from floating up.
Then everyone has to work together to bring the entire screen evenly to the surface of the water,
and then slowly raise it up until the water line has been broken (it's HEAVY, so this is no easy feat, even with 11 people (8 is the minimum).
Eventually, the slurry is carefully rocked in a circle from corner, to edge to corner to edge,
 to corner,
 edge, corner, edge  (it drains on the way, so it gets to be a smaller pool of water as it travels),

This whole process requires lots of strength, flexibility, teamwork, ability to follow instruction, and being okay with getting wet.
Eventually the whole screen is raised up to drain,
like this! And then walked over to prop up so the sagging middle doesn't touch the ground. In warm, sunny weather, they dry in half a day and then you can make more sheets after peeling them off the screens. As hard as the work was, I miss being in the studio to make stuff. These days: all admin, all networking, though I've already met so many wonderful people. I've been in meetings on Tuesday and all day today, and yesterday got to meet two ceramic artists, a sculptor, and a people connector, plus a few other people who walked by on the street. A lot of these people double as teachers as well. And even got to hear some nice music after a museum visit last night. More hours, more sleep, and more fruit/vegetables would be lovely, but it will all even out eventually.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To the bone

Overwhelmingly exhausted and today felt completely eaten by research, admin, job searching, and meetings. But I managed to make a tiny basket inspired by even TINIER Native American baskets that Vagner and I saw at the museum this weekend.
And its sibling, to the left, with a bit of kakishibu! I have to remind myself about balance, and about putting the work front and center even though it feels just as to the side as it was before I arrived.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Starting the real days

I'll show more of the sequence later, but there was a LOT of big ass paper made over the last week. Whew. Julie and Mike left this morning for Iowa and I was sad to say goodbye last night after our final dinner together, because it means that my real life here begins (the visitors leave and I stay!), which is scary, but also good.
One great thing is that Vagner lives only three hours away, and he came to visit this weekend! It was good timing, with all of the festivities surrounding a show opening, teaching, and visitors (big dinner party cooked by Mike). We were able to get away to visit the art museum and contemporary art museum and eat good Korean food and catch up. Now, Monday, with a huge pile of work waiting for me inside of my head and computer.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday, already?

The Big Ass Papermaking is well underway. Hooray for the sun after all this rain threatening to spoil the fun!

Watching the sheets being detached from their screens is so satisfying and lovely, hands visible under the dry paper.
I worked on a tiny sample that came from a question Julie had about spinning on the bobbin winder as opposed to the thigh, and what happens when you mix the two.
Repurposing nails with heads too large for a stump loom, but who cares when you just want to use up some paper dyed with calligraphy ink?
It was obviously a day for ice pops.
The sheet freshly formed being carried away to lay onto bricks and dry. I was part of the morning crowd but was terrible at my corner and got very, very wet, so I let other hands do the work in the afternoon shift. Tonight was the very successful opening of the Morgan's new juried show, its very first. Saw SO many old face and met lots of new folks as well. Overwhelmed by how many people I already know and like in this town!