Monday, February 27, 2006


As I lay in bed one night, I realized that the sleep broadside IS a self-portrait! Now I wonder if I'm either making so many self-portraits that I don't even recognize them anymore, or if I'm just using that category to identify all my work lately b/c it's easy. Hm. I should figure that out before I send out more applications. To balance it out, these are portraits of me but not BY me - by Terttu. We had to cancel our date tonight for Ethiopian b/c she got called to work, so I got to have tea and then salad and dessert w/Rich instead. The panic on my end has subsided, and it's just really nice to be with and around him - it's just so easy! Like he says, he's versatile. I barely know what to do now that I have a boyfriend who really is one. I don't have to hide him from people and we actually DO things; he wants to do things like go to performances or watch movies or go to yoga or anything.

I booked a ticket tonight to head west in two weekends! I'll be in the bay area March 10-15. Wohoo! I had to do it pronto before I lost the nerve. Last night, we went to Tamara's housewarming (which was SUCH a great party...perfect spread, perfect lighting, perfect people!) and everyone was asking two things: 1. bricks? and 2. future? Both are extremely stressful yet exciting. And nebulous. I was too wrecked today to do any more than unwrap 79 bricks and wrap 34. I figured out today that I actually need WAY more half bricks, so I should just stop right now w/the regular ones. I'm feeling a lot more momentum to build now, which is great. I wonder if I should get my hair cut in San Francisco...votes?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Back to bricks...

WOW. I had a panic attack last night and my yogi man called me right at the end of my food binge. There's just so much work to be done...but the good news is that I started my wall tests! And it looks great! I was behind the wall this afternoon after making two trips to the art supply store for double-sided tape (the first roll wasn't sticky enough). I stopped at 11 rows b/c it started to sag/sway and b/c I wanted to be able to clear it w/my legs. It's working! My advisor was SO happy today at our meeting, and really excited for how it will turn out. It's nice to feel like someone who has seen me thru the program is genuinely proud of me. She couldn't stop smiling.

This is from the inside, which gives a little sense of how translucent it is, so that light comes right through. You can see the backs of all the bricks (where I pulled out the molds), and the little straps (Ami calls them overalls) are extra pieces that I use as restraints: when it's all wet paper, I put two straps on to keep the paper from shrinking and pulling off the mold. It works remarkably well.

I made 114 bricks today and was the human exhibit for two big tours that came thru school this a.m. I'm completely fried, but managed to set type, go to the library for research and a heavy William Blake book, do some quick reading, eat a ton, have Ami tell me to scrap almost all the type I set, and print the last bit of my broadside from last last weekend's class. I did have to cancel my date, which made me feel guilty, but at least I'm feeling a little more at ease about getting caught up w/my work.

Now I need to sleep. I can't get much lately...I keep waking at 7:30, 7:45 no matter when I go to bed. Making a broadside about the negative effects of sleep depravation doesn't make it any better (it's great to know that I'm just getting fat, stupid, and screwing w/my cortisol levels and blood pressure). I think I'll go to bed even though I haven't written my thesis paper or press release for tomorrow. I promise I'll try to take it easier (though I'd like to make more paper...).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

1,378 bricks. 1 week left.

Okay, so according to my "timeline" for thesis, I should be at a thousand bricks by the end of this month. No, I should be at however many that I need. So. I'm feeling pretty unhappy w/the days I lost this month from class and dating, so I've decided that I need to max out for the next seven days: no LESS than 79 a day (today I did 111). The good news is that I decided to move my corner in the gallery for the show. Instead of the 9' x 8' corner w/a big pillar obstruction, I'm going one back to the 7' x 7' corner, where I'll have a power outlet as well as no visual distraction (the big corner has an air vent. And see the pillar on the left side of the photo? That would have been in the way if I kept the big corner).

I laid out some of my bricks to get a better idea of how many I will need, and then spent the entirety of our graduate studio meeting doing calculations. I figured I would need 861 bricks to do a 10-foot wall. So that means 1,293 bricks to go all the way to the ceiling (14 feet). Clif and Joseph insisted that I go all the way. EVERYONE loved the new colored bricks. Which is sad, b/c I have more white ones than colored. And they haven't even seen the ridiculous colored ones that I have (today I did purple, red, yellow, and dark grey).

I also think that I need to retire from dating. I can't believe how much it cramps my style, and my studio routine. Back to the dog idea. But I did have the BEST feedback last night from Shawn about my DVD - he said tears came to his eyes watching the last clip of my Nov performance. So, despite all of the drama, I think I finally kind of got the hang of what I needed: a good cameraman and a good editor or two. And! Andrea (my paper teacher) wants me to give her images of my work to do a lecture in Vienna this summer about people using paper conceptually. Wohoo.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Almost at empty

In case you ever wondered what 1,000 bricks all together might look like. I can't get far away enough b/c there's a wall a few feet away from the bricks, but here they are. Another 79 are drying in the studio now. I HAVE to stop making them and have to start testing walls, but I'm just on automatic pilot now. Crazy.

Dating has been splendid, but extremely time and energy consuming. I can barely keep my head up right now. I'm blasting "Check Your Head" to keep myself awake as I try and piece together my schedule for the rest of this week. The rain is crazy here! It was bad enough to keep me from going to an opening at a show I have a piece in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Screaming w/joy

I DID IT!!!!!!!! I reached my most recently-set goal for my bricks: one thousand by Valentine's Day! Well, it's still Valentine's Day, and I have 1,000!!!! WHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, other things in my life are also contributing to my excessive joy. And hopefully, I did my calculations right. But I'm pretty sure I did. I'm happy w/the shades of grey bricks, so I'm going to play w/colors some more. Some film undergrad was talking me up as I traveled downstairs w/one load of bricks, and we discussed the fact that NOBODY in the building (besides book & paper people) knows that we exist on the 2nd floor.

Okay, back to work. I have a big application due tomorrow and a fancy dinner to attend. Looks like the weather just might cooperate enough for me to break out a new pair of boots.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A work-related one

I had to post these, b/c they should have captions that say, "Chinese factory worker in a paper brick facility." But really, it's just me in my brick-unwrapping mode. This is how I spend my days, now. First, I unfasten any paper lips or restraints I've made. Then, I pull the middle piece out, and then the other two. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's REALLY hard. Then I wrap them all over again.

I also cleaned and re-organized my studio space. Moved my 2nd editing table over so I can pile more bricks onto it, and all my bookbinding goods are on shelves so I'm not tempted to bind anything. After this full-weekend class of letterpress printing w/John Risseeuw, I'll be all set to get back into factory mode.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I = factory

542 bricks as of tonight (Ami is standing in my studio with 466 of them), and with not too much effort and about two hours, I should have 621 tomorrow.

I am very, very tired. This is kind of a strange process for me - the long, drawn out, single-minded project. And I don't let myself do anything else on the side. I almost made a book yesterday, but was able to stop myself in time, rip up the paper, throw it into a bucket of water, and beat it back to a pulp last night. And now they're bricks! I don't even have the energy to do anything on the side. I talked today w/the gallery coordinator about how to build my wall in terms of what the architecture can handle, and w/my advisor about similar things (he says really thin sheet metal to go horizontally and she says really thin acrylic. He recommends little plastic beads w/tiny slits that they use in fishing to put onto the monofilament that will run vertically, to act like knots). We even reviewed how I'd make the arched doorway (lots of PVA [polyvinyl acetate, aka glue]). I'm thinking I should have put band-aids into my budget since I have to tape them onto my right foot every day before papermaking b/c the boots irritate my bone spur.

Oh, I also have a new life plan. I figured I should just completely give up on ever having a healthy relationship or a boyfriend I'm not embarrassed by/ashamed of/not attracted to/neglected by, and just get a dog. There was another part of the plan (I formulated it this morning while making my first batch of paper), but I forgot it already. A big dog, Meinrad Craighead style.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Return to the living

[This is me making paper - the pink board divides the deckle (top frame) so that in pulling one sheet, I actually make TWO. A nice time-saving device. And what I did Sunday a.m. for two hours, to pull 100 sheets (aka 200 sheets!)] I had to sleep a LOT last night (hit the sack at about 9pm) to recover from this weekend. I got a little behind in my brick-making, but feel okay about where I'm at now. I spent Saturday night at Anne's after watching "Wedding Crashers" and then talking until late about our depressing relationship failures, after lots of pizza and rice pudding (for her) and flan (for me. Though I'm not a huge fan - too sweet. I just couldn't find single chocolate puddings). Wednesday came and slept w/me, which was kind of a relief b/c I was afraid it would be too cold in the living room and she's 80 lbs, so I figured that would be good body heat. My very first! Have never shared a bed w/a dog. Now I kinda see why people do.

I did a quick tally of what I think I have in terms of quantity, and the seemingly overshot number of 373 appeared! Which seems impossible, but if it's true, would make me very happy (or not...b/c they don't look like enough to build the wall, or a third of it, that would mean I'd need more than a thousand). Tamara came yesterday to help me wrap another batch of 78, so now I have one skilled worker. haha!

Okay, here's the other HILarious thing: a new acquaintance saw the cartoon sketch of my wall, and thought it looked more like ice blocks, so he sent me this link, which teaches you how to build an igloo. That made my week. Or month. Too funny! Very smart. And a good alternative for me.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I should be sleeping now

But no. I was so enchanted by the slides of the show I'm in that opens tomorrow (today) that I uploaded some of my own images to see how it all works. So you can see my amateur efforts in wet bindings and decorative paper using veil pulps (fiber that you beat for crazy long amounts of 9 hours).

But for instant gratification, here is me beating pulp and wrapping bricks. While making more wire houses, Greg suggested surgical gloves after I complained about how much my hands hurt. At first I scoffed. But then in desperation, I put them on, and then became pretty adept at making the little suckers. It helps to have a barrier from certain scratches. I always have horrible premonitions of scraping my skin, scratching it off w/sharp objects that I run into, jabbing my thigh w/a utility knife, slicing my fingers with any sharp instruments, and so on. So the latex made me feel invincible.

Oh, and another plug: see the show online, and contact Faythe at if you're interested in buying anything (everything is priced under $150. Mine is super cheap - it's the next to last image on the 2nd row of thumbnails. I had to re-print it for the show to meet the size guidelines, but still have a couple on the original panty paper if you want those).