Sunday, October 01, 2017

New month, harvest moon

Anne's birthday is today so Friday Bille brought a cake. Friday cake is brilliant regardless of celebrations.
My first day pulling hanji was great, until I slid the post around to load the press when very tired and dropped it between the two sawhorses it was sitting on. Sideways, between boards. I was so tired that I didn't have the heart to re-beat the entire post or start over, so I decided to rescue it, press it, and see if I could get away with it.
Aside from the corner that made first contact on the floor, the sheets actually did quite well. It's remarkable how strong the sheets are and the integrity of each sheet: they would pull right out of the wrinkles, intact.
I ran out of boards so I started door drying.
Yesterday was my third day pulling hanji (I take at least a day off in between and bail out the vat each time). Now that I have time and space to just make hanji on my own without teaching or training or people coming through to ask questions, I have lots of opportunities to make improvements, take mental notes, and know what to change for the future. Yesterday I got really tired of the taped ribbons coming loose so I poked a hole in the pond liner and made a loop fixture for the ribbons. Not perfect but hopefully more elegant (and now easier to tell which side of the liner is the front when unpacking).
The other delightful project was FINALLY getting to use my yucca fiber that I harvested and cooked over a year ago. I didn't think it was going to come down with hand beating, though so many people have achieved good results that way, so after several rounds of beating with mallets, I trimmed the long strands and threw it into a Valley. Done in a minute or less with some soap suds, demonstrating the saponin levels of this plant used for soap, I was so excited to use it.
I pulled it on my Japanese sugeta even though I had beaten fibers short and it did beautifully even though my vat is too small to manipulate the sugeta properly. Not many sheets but lovely. I saved the dregs to throw into my second batch of hanji for fun.
Friday was busy, with a morning hanji lecture I gave for a world art class, and then working with students in Lynn's sculpture class. She drove them out in two groups to harvest milkweed, while rotating the other half of the class to stay at school with me to hand beat.
They got a lot of tall stems on this beautiful property that David and Allie have been restoring to a more natural habitat (going from corn stubble to grasses, tress, and shrubs). Beautiful and inspiring! I was a little sad that I didn't get to do the harvest myself because the weather was perfect (and because harvesting is often the easiest, fastest, and most fun part of the process).
I only was able to process a fraction of it that night while also coming up against a writing deadline that I've already missed. I stayed up far too late steaming, stripping, and scraping this batch, but figured I have a hard time sleeping here so I might as well work.
But doing this until 2:30am is probably not a habit I should cultivate.
I'm only under half a pound, and even then, more of the fiber is going to cook away. If I get this essay edited before sundown, I may attempt another batch tonight.
Last night I was treated to another dinner at Tim's and Pati's with two more Albion friends. I always always always marvel at woodpiles like this. I had already splurged at the farmers market earlier in the day, so I was stuffed with delicious food all day. I had hoped to celebrate the Korean harvest moon festival today in Ann Arbor but am going to skip it because I need to edit. I'll visit mid-week though, so I may head to a Korean restaurant then.

1 comment:

Velma Bolyard said...

so the standard is enough firewood for three years...i wonder if we can translate that to a paper standard for paper/art?