Saturday, April 07, 2018

Chicago via hanji

This past week I took my last road trip until June (miracle of miracles! To have over a month at home is something I haven't experienced for almost two years). It was a return to Chicago and packed with goodies, like the recent Kerry James Marshall mural on the side of the cultural center, which Shawn was sure to route us by on the way to catching up. He made me feel slightly less panicked about home ownership, given he's been at it for a while.
I saw him the day after I flew in and got started with a workshop, which included a little of everything: joomchi, thread making, and jiseung cords. There are Danny and Myungah rolling in more tables. I love that this classroom (and others at SAIC) has a built in long ledge.
Korean mills willing to make the donation provided a bunch of hanji, so we had lots of options to play with. This is how things were set up when I thought we'd have about 18 students.
I was wrong! We had a LOT more students, across majors, grad/undergrad, staff/faculty, and so on. It was a wild two hours, packing in tons of info and techniques, and lots of fun. I always forget that there are more people in the world who don't know about hanji than those who do. Right away, the questions came over and over: where can I buy hanji? I also keep forgetting, because I make it and know where to buy it, that it's not as easy to source as other common art materials for students.
After studio visits and lunch the next day, we had a tour of the fiber facilities, which includes a paper studio shared with another classroom, made possible by the mighty Andrea, who was my first paper teacher and continues to teach and inspire students in Chicago and beyond.
There was very little time for anything outside of work, but my hosts were wonderful and I enjoyed the views before running over to see Eric, having a final lunch with Myungah, and then paying a house visit to Melissa. The perfect mix of old and new friends from all walks of life, from barely being out of toddlerhood to just a few years ago. Walking in a city where I lived for 3 years made me wonder if I never really inhabited it, reminding me of the last thing I forget often: how conversations sound with places you've been or lived, then leave, and then return to. Certainly I am focused on the people that I meet, but there is so much to learn from taking in how places evolve—since people have such a big hand in that as well.

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