Monday, March 17, 2014

Pockets of transition

I am very happy with how the persimmon dye took on the first gourd, and am still deciding how to treat the second. I am amazed that I was even able to carve out the time to finish them, and equally amazed that I found the time to nearly finish a marvelous book about Julia Parker that has become a huge inspiration, just in time (thank you, Velma, for the gift of the book and the spirit behind it!).
In the meantime, we have finally started to assemble the bal teul (frames to hold Korean papermaking screens, like a mould) for the Morgan & Friends. I took Charity and Ivey to Tom's wood shop on Saturday and we are hoping that the waterproof wood glue that I picked up last week does the trick (also I have to now figure out how to get waterproof glue out of my coat, which I only just got gasoline out of. I will never learn to wear work clothes, will I?).
Melissa's teul is on the left (Tom left the hand holds long, which I want to trim, but we will leave it up to the owners of the hands to decide) and the prototype is on the right.
The weather has been a big tease lately, but it's still colder inside the Morgan on lots of days than outside. After lunch, we took the regular mulberry outdoors to stomp in an attempt to remove more 'black' bark before we scrape.
Here is the batch from last fall's harvest. This will make a different kind of paper and it's not first priority at all, nor do I imagine it will be part of the production line, but I am just terribly curious.

What else? We'll start tororo-aoi seeds this week, and Seth came by last week for a quick but important and helpful knife sharpening session. We produced some small but lovely sheets of paper made from purely Morgan kozo, picked by hand. I think that is the first time the Morgan has ever done that, which is why it's such a boon to have such excellent apprentices. We're back to training at the big vat and the sheets are getting better. Everyone is able to start the entire process from scratch, so I don't need to stay and supervise, which is the heart of the goal: for me to eventually walk away and still have everything operate smoothly. We're still a long ways away but I love seeing how well everyone is getting the hang of the process.

I'm also trying very hard to get better at the work life balance, which included going to see Pam's show (and splurging on some art! Though some wonderful pieces have already been sold), making salads, going to a birthday party that was more social than work, and taking Sunday off. It was so thoroughly off that it felt like a vacation, and involved two naps, a ton of reading, and admiring the full moon through the clouds. It's all part of the feeling that winter is finally ending, though its claws are still deep into us. The light helps.


  1. the gourds are wonderful, love the kakishibu

  2. the gourds look grand, i love how they talk to each other! i would have loved doing the mulberry stomp dance with you!

  3. Love the gourds, especially the tilted one! And wow! THANK YOU for teul assembly - I thought I was doing that myself, how wonderful! Can't wait to see you soon...


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