Saturday, August 09, 2014

Waves of gratitude

These weeks have been a blur because they have been so incredibly full. Full of friends from out of town (Melissa and Julie are still here as I write!), full of disappointment and frustration about future plans, full of constant teaching (we've wrapped up our apprentice stays and I am so proud of what we have accomplished in their half year with us—thousands of sheets of paper, and enough left in inventory to total thousands of dollars of sales—not to mention their full grasp of the whole process of making paper and cultivating the plants necessary to make and dye them), full of relief from certain work ending and new work beginning (I was just asked to be in a show in Nebraska with one of my watershed books), full of time with local friends (kakishibu in the kitchen!), and full of incredible gifts, which you can see above:

To best ascertain the quality and versatility of the papers we produced at the Eastern Paper Studio, I asked friendly colleagues who are skilled in various media to test our samples. They have returned the results to us, and I can't stop carrying them around to show everyone (the way people carry around photos of their children). Bill tested them for joomchi, Therese tested them for calligraphy, thread, dyes, and joomchi, and Takuji tested them for woodblock printing. A Crown Point Press printer is in town on a residency, and she is going to test them for screenprinting. It's clear in the samples what works for which process, and I love the idea of our papers going out into the world and into the hands of fantastic artists who turn them into things I could not even imagine.

This is SO MUCH MORE satisfying than beta testing apps or websites or digital whathaveyou. That interacting with the rest of the world is an enormous validation for all of the hard work we put into the quiet winter months in near solitude. Charity and I inventoried the papers this week and all these memories flooded back as I handled each batch, from February to August. Not only could we feel how the seasons change the paper, but we could see the improvement in sheet formation, and remember everything that went into several production runs. Ivey and Charity have scraped enough bark to get us off to an amazing start when winter production resumes, and have gotten so good at the hardest, most tedious tasks. The former is off to graduate school and the latter resumes her graduate studies closer to home but they'll always be family.

I'm still doing final reporting type work and next week will prep for my Pure Hanji class while starting a bunch of major dental work (groan). The class filled past max so quickly that we're going to run a second section on Labor Day weekend (I know, insane. But we already have two signed up and only need two more to run it). Spread the word to the unusual people who don't take a last hurrah vacation then!

1 comment:

  1. YAY about your hanji class, and the summing up. beautiful.

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