Wednesday, November 23, 2016

North Country hanji

Foreground: Velma's old kozo. The stuff on the left was so much nicer than the Thai kozo now available to us. I'm convinced everything has changed in the many years since I started using this fiber. Behind is the kilo of Korean fiber I got with green bark still on.
And LOTS of black bark bits, too. More than Therese and I would like, but she was such a trooper and beat for HOURS the first day we went to really work. This was after soaking in Velma's tub and cooking on her stovetop for many hours as well.
Because the mallets at St. Lawrence University were so big and unwieldy, I ran out to the hardware store to get axe handles. The straight one was kind of useless but they didn't have more of the top one that is curved. All thanks to Frank's advice many years ago!
I got so tired thinking of how much we had to beat that I said we could just do 20-30 min on each bundle and then throw into the beater the next day.
 
Therese cleaned what was left of PBI hanji making off of the pond liner
before the vat got filled (and, yes, absolutely never throw it into a beater unless it's a naginata even if you are tired. I keep forgetting this and have done it every few years).
Though I was horribly ill with the worst cough/cold I've ever had (at least in my adult life), I pushed through almost 40 sheets.
Then I got carried away with every single floating mould that SLU had in storage. Rough, rough sheets, but an excellent way to dry and store and travel.
The tiny green figure on the top bar is an aardvark. The hanji just barely fit within the pressboards, making pressing easier than it has ever been, ever!
Of course, because I didn't believe the gauge, I overpressed. I did not tear/lose a single sheet, but they were really dry, so they pulled off of boards and were pretty funky.
But I still think it was a good outcome, given the unforeseen awful conditions dealt so unkindly. What would I have done without my friends? They kept me from going to the very worst places in mind and body.
After Therese left to beat the snowstorm, I played with kozo to make bark lace bits, and
remembered to do amate before it was too late—but not before already beginning to beat everything. So this would have worked a lot better if I had not attempted to beat another pound on my own, but it kept the theme of the day consistent: an hour of beating into a pulp, and another who knows how long beating with a rock given to me by a student.
Therese left two pomegranates for us, which I separated into food, compost, and dyestuff.
Velma had friends and talismans everywhere to hold space
and a Subaru that was totally undaunted by the very deep snow. I had to wait a few days and delay departure because my car needed a new alternator (everyone had to explain to me why it was better to burden my friend by staying longer than to risk losing power on the road). In the end I was very happy to have met a mechanic who listened to me, not rolling his eyes or ignoring my concerns, and then explained everything to me without being condescending. Velma's person in her corner also took good care to make sure I understood all the potential consequences of each action.

I made it to my folks yesterday after white knuckling it through the Adirondacks (snow or freezing rain or whatever it was created sheets of ice on my windshield so I could barely see) and dropping off my hanji bal teul to Bob for a fix. In less than a week, I'll do one more long drive to get back home, grateful for such generous and big-hearted friends.

1 comment:

  1. all that pounding that i didn't hear...but such beautiful paper despite all the impediments. damnable cold. the house feels pretty huge now. and zone 4 is, too.

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