Sunday, February 19, 2017

Vienna: All over again, at last

After the first five days of teaching, I started over again and taught the first two workshops again for different groupings of students. Here's papermaking, round two (all very enthusiastic beaters! With such nice fiber, it didn't take long to get this to a lovely state for nice sheets).
George, the biology professor, took all of the pics with a more orange cast. It was SUCH a treat to have a scientist, serious artists, and serious papermakers.
So hard to avoid the magic of paper prototypes when working from raw fiber, and a good way to have another thing for students to do when not sheet forming but working wet.
Lydia, Christian, Michal. I was not crazy about the formation aid and it was revealed to be polyethylene glycol AKA PEG AKA PEO AKA absolutely not what I consider to be formation aid at all. No wonder both classes had some trouble with formation. But everyone soldiered on.
Ai Weiwei's zodiac heads are now in Vienna!!! I had no idea, and some students mentioned it was in town when talking to me about the different museums in town. It wasn't until I walked with another papermaker to the Belvedere Palace grounds that we saw them. I first saw them in Cleveland at the art museum years ago and it was so comforting to see them again.
After that brief walk, which was close to the studio, I walked much further to the museum district and could only pick one to visit that was open late because I only had so much steam in me. I chose the Leopold Museum, because I have always been an Egon Schiele fan, and very much enjoyed it. This is a horse toy that he owned that showed up in his work.
Next day, back to papermaking! Pia, Tatiana, and Lydia were great and all stayed on to take the class afterwards, so it was nice to have that continuity. My stretcher bar sugeta remained the favorite of all. I will probably need to construct some more in certain dimensions for future travel.
George and Tatiana using up the last of the fiber (plus some mitsumata that came in sheets from Beatrix's store) in floating moulds. Very nice way to empty vats.
We survived (well, Lydia went home sick a bit early)!
The last two days took me back to teaching variations of paper thread and cord. Annette, a textile designer from Bavaria, took SO very quickly to everything and was a huge help because she demystified the drop spindle for the rest of the class (I've never had the majority of students prefer that to the bobbin winder).
Susan is also a textile designer and a quick study, also fantastic to have in class. And can you believe, Elisabeth in the background, far left, spent five years living in the US, in Cleveland? Small, small world. She worked and studied there and will be returning in May for a visit to see an old friend. All the circles close somehow.

Once teaching was over, I packed and left gifts for Beatrix and Linda of PaperPhine before attempting to sleep for the final night. It was indeed an unusual travel plan, to only fly in and out to teach and not sightsee or relax or travel to neighboring countries, but this was an unusual set of circumstances. Hoping that future trips are more leisurely, and grateful for all the new connections. After weeks, I may finally be out of the grips of jet lag!

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