Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Sixth time's a charm

In my sixth iteration of this January papermaking/book arts class, I have a fine group of six students in the studio that is old/new: the space is the same, with a slight upgrade (the peeling lead paint was finally painted over), but the studio itself is new. We could finally commit time and resources to putting the tables in here and leaving them (rather than folding up and sending away), and building out or purchasing or scavenging the rest of a paper studio. It required over half a year of planning and execution and even this morning I was sewing more sugetas with one of my students, but everything is working so far.
The group is slightly smaller than previous years and as they inhabit the space it makes me realize how much EASIER this class is to run with a couple less students. If we can keep it that way going forward, I would be delighted. I met the custodian for the building and learned a lot, even though we know that the college will eventually tear down the building. It's unclear how many more years we have in here but I'm making the best of it.
The new press works with an easily adjustable lower platen while the drybox had a lot of initial glitches. We will put it to the real test next week and fingers crossed it functions (you can see the back of it with the box fans on the left side of this pic). After a full first day of scraping mulberry bark and dry stripping milkweed, they made clean Florida mulberry paper, slightly less clean Florida mulberry paper, Florida chiri paper, and Thai kozo paper. Tomorrow we'll clean and beat the milkweed fiber and do a bit of bark lace. I've already heard and been part of numerous fascinating conversations as I settle back into my alma mater's very particular and very verbal environment. Already lots of adventures and looking forward to more paper discoveries.

I can't remember if I shared this or not, but this is the video of my live papermaking "performance" last month on stage. Enjoy!

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