Monday, January 14, 2019

Gentle on awry plans

It's so hard to break out of my old habit of beating up myself when things don't go as planned, so I am trying to remember that things usually never go as planned. Jan was supposed to be my month of only making. HAHAHA! Almost no studio work except making paper. Why I don't consider that studio work is a whole other issue. You can see here that I ran out of drying boards so my fridge is working hard.
I have never used a dishwasher in my own home so this appliance is now finally being useful to me!
Downstairs, the washer is doing the same.
My bal is drying on top of the bal teul that Bob Walp did a small fix for me on a few years ago and it's all working great. I realized working with it that I so prefer the Korean-made ones to the ones we try to replicate here. Even with metal support bars!
Another piece of equipment I got and never dealt with for likely over a year: my drying system. It's hard to see, but the boards on the floor have hanji brushed onto them (they are also my press boards). I still need to get blotters (you see the cardboards on the bottom, then the butter boards above). But it was a feat to get them out of storage, transported to the basement, and then unwrapped.
I tested Amy Richard's Florida kozo and it is SO lovely to work with. I definitely could have beat longer but didn't want to (I even used it one night when I was angry/upset: I came home from dinner and whacked away for about an hour to help me digest everything). It may look not as well stirred because I added internal sizing, and that always messes with the fiber (but makes it much nicer for dyeing later).
I also figured out a way to do suminagashi in my kitchen, right on top of my sink. You can see the edge of a piece of hanji that was coated a few times with kakishibu and then marbled. I had to run so I threw it on the edge and left for a bit before coming back to take care of it.
A dried sheet! A pound was a nice amount to work with at once, both for beating and pulling. It cooks so much more easily than the Thai kozo and is pretty clean. I should have picked before beating (I'm lazy so often pick while beating; makes for lots of excuses to stop beating but is very inefficient).
I tested these bad sheets (always the first few of the post) to see how the ink would stay on—I always forget if they prefer sized or unsized paper but it seems to work fine on both. I had to do half a sheet at the time because my tray is small, which is why you see that blank white bit in the middle of the right sheet. Now, let's see if I get any good dry studio work done this week!

Friday, January 04, 2019

New new new

Hello, 2019! As much as I really do not enjoy end-of-year mania around "holidays," I really do enjoy the chance to start over, even if it's just like everything else that is made up. Yesterday, I mailed a lovely selection of books to my dealer. This is one where Velma did almost all of the papermaking. A good resolution should be: giving up control of some things.
This is another that I made at Penland but finished afterwards. I was a little embarrassed that these were the only two books I had for Stefan to shoot last month, but that was the reality of my fall. I forget how teaching can quickly take over my ability to be productive because my attention gets chopped up and I get overwrought about how to present and transfer knowledge.
My last research trip of 2018 was to Boston, where I got to see Lee McDonald in his shop and brand-new home! I have to go back because this visit confirmed the fact that I really cannot continue without a real camera (I reverted to my cell phone camera after my last camera died and was too lazy/poor to get a new one. That was foolish). So many ideas, stories, stuff to sort through, and that would be the bigger reason to return for a follow-up interview.
My favorite shot was this: Lee told me that with his very first paycheck from being a Twinrocker apprentice, after they got funding to pay the apprentices, he bought a knife and pot, still in use in the kitchen! In the recent move and settling into their new house, Lee and Anne Marie couldn't find the lids of their tupperware (which is really annoying, right?). But when he jumped into the kitchen to show me the knife and wondered where the pot was, he rooted around and not only found the pot, but all the lids INSIDE of it. Hooray! I've been a grateful guest at many homes but always worry I am a huge burden, so it felt good to be part of a solution.
I also got a gander at the papermaking studio at Wellesley College, which is shared with a screenprinting shop (it's behind me in the photo, and there's a shower curtain-type system that separates some of the major machinery.
This is their beater closet, with a nice Reina. Their Reina drying system is in a closet down the hall.
When I finally got home on New Year's Eve, I opened a package from the Korean consulate in Chicago to find beautiful generosity. I love the puffed rice ones the most, so this was a great surprise. Yes, I've probably eaten through the one layer already—under this is another set of sweets, all different. I'm still getting settled back at home, so things feel a bit all over the place, but I am optimistic and excited for the year to come.