Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tools tools tools

Weather has been the driving force for this entire trip: inclement weather that was predicted forced me to change my flight earlier (which meant I packed in a last minute haze that left a few things behind unintentionally), and it has been cold (which makes me want to curl up and sleep). But class went well over the weekend with a nice group and then I was free to start research interviews for my toolmaker book. Yesterday morning I met Serge Picard, a Belgian mould maker who has inherited Ron MacDonald's amazing loom for backings and facings of English moulds in the Amies tradition. He was delivering a wove and laid mould each to donate to the Hand Papermaking auction this spring! I was astounded by his generosity.
Tatiana was kind enough to let me sit in on this meeting at Dieu Donne's new location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard so it was an adventure to get there and look around. Still a big work in progress, with concrete drilling going on during the entire day. Here she is with Serge, looking at a huge Tim Moore mould. She let me transcribe my notes after he left to visit Carriage House and I was amazed by how quickly the time went. I needed to head back to Manhattan and way uptown for my next meeting, but managed to navigate with her excellent directions.
Jeff Peachey had moved since the last time I visited his studio several years ago. I knew I absolutely needed to spend time with him for this book even though I am focusing on papermaking toolmakers and he makes book tools, because he is the Tool Guy. The real deal.
He showed me so many things and shared so much knowledge that I'm positive that most of it has fallen out of my head because of the sheer quantity and depth of it all. But I was really happy to hang out for five hours (eventually moving to dinner) and be schooled in a way that reminds me how fortunate I am to be working on this project.
This was part of the journey home at night. I was very happy to be free of meetings today during the snow and wind but tomorrow I head out again for family stuff. Still need to write up a ton of notes and get back to the regular work as well, but excited about what's to come, including another interview this week before the flight home.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


While avoiding admin on Monday afternoon, made this wee one.
On Tuesday, I went back to think[box] to work with a great volunteer, John, who helped me solder my copper stands. I spent the evening sanding each one by hand.
Otherwise, they would have looked like this (which is okay in some situations, but once I got home and started sanding, I preferred a more refined finish).
Voila! Of course there are things I still want to tweak, and I will return tomorrow if I am prepared enough for NY to use up the last bits of copper so I have the maximum number of stands possible. It only took 7 months to figure out the solution, but now I know how! Which made it very satisfying to read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams where Loyd says,
“The important thing isn’t the house. It’s the ability to make it. You carry that in your brain and in your hands, wherever you go."
and also,
"Once you know how, you can always do that, no matter what. You won’t forget."
Oberlin's communications office did a fun project in January, traveling campus to document all the things people were doing during Winter Term. If you scroll down to 10:20am, you'll see my hands teaching a book structure; at 10:50pm and later, you'll see a former student marbling.

My paper dress show is doing well, with consistent sales—so gratifying! Here is a post from one of the companies that made a pattern that I used. Now, back to admin.

Monday, March 06, 2017


The opening went great! Sales went well and people came out in the cold to visit and they affirmed what a lovely community I have here. I gave two talks and was so pleased not only to see my cousin and her friends, but a few of my Oberlin students, who were delighted to see and understand the show on a different level now that they know how to make and dye paper.
I brought these new ones for my talk and then coated them the next day, when I was hugely exhausted.
Yet I couldn't stay idle or even nap, so I made this one as well! Hoping to get one more of these done before I head to NYC to teach this weekend.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

This week: Install, Whirlwind, Opening

After feverishly sewing as many garments as possible, I went to the gallery on Monday to start hanging the show. I was SO pleased that they actually hire a pro to do the work, which meant that all I needed to do was re-rig my hanging devices (AKA dowels/sticks and monofilament), take a look at placement, and fluff dresses.
I like leaving the math of it all to other people. Geoff and Joe are such pros and it was a real luxury to not have to figure it all out myself.
This is only one view of the show but it was on the second day when I brought in the large piece in the back to hang above the reception desk. I am so glad this one gets another chance to see the light, after it debuted in Miami years ago.
The large hanbok (Korean dress) anchored the center and then everything fanned out from there. The only reason I climbed the ladder was to re-tie the jacket and make sure the skirt was tied to match the jacket.
On a regular hanger, you'd never see the hood on this one!
Five of the small dresses are on pedestals.
 The rest are on the opposite wall.
Some of my favorites: my milkweed two piece!
Suminagashi jacket and woodblock print skirt
This one was inspired by Joe, who showed me a picture of a movie starring Elvis that he saw: he took a picture of the screen because he so loved the 60s jacket on the woman playing opposite him. I took that as inspiration and changed the design, which is much more obvious on the backside:
This make the front a different color IF you hang the dress in the light rather than on a wall. So much fun to make!

The show opens Friday at Still Point Gallery, and I'll give a talk (with props!) at 6:30 and 7:30pm. Here's all the info.