Saturday, July 28, 2007

Scraps of things

Tonight was the NY premiere of "No End In Sight." Pretty intense, totally proud of little sis. It has been getting a landslide of fantastic reviews. Go whenever/wherever you can so that it can eventually get wider distribution!

What I miss: cantaloupe, lime, hibiscus, and tamarind juices. Markus and I had lunch at Caravan of Dreams today so that he could sample raw food. I haven't been in years. After tea w/Tami, I went to see Gili. I felt like I haven't seen her forever, like we've been through major life changes.

What I miss: one late morning after papermaking, I laid up on the balcony and wove a five-strand gold cord off of my toe. I almost fell asleep doing it. Keeping my hands busy calms my mind. I eventually climbed down and went to lunch.

I picked up this book at the library today, b/c people at Ragdale had been talking about how great it is and how the movie is completely different. I'm having a hard time getting into it, but loved where I stopped before I got off the train:
But here there were shedding skins. They could imitate nothing but what they were. There was no defence but to look for the truth in others.

--Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why I love being a crafty artist

I used to be a big conceptual art snob, and looked down on all things related to craft. I was young and too ignorant to really understand that stance, even though it was always important to me that my craftsmanship was unassailable in critiques. I eventually shifted from all thinking to all making, and then understood why some people like to not ever think, b/c making brings so much pleasure.

Cut to the ranch.

I felt like everyone's mom. You know, the mom who has everything in her purse in case of emergency? It was fantastic.

Markus: rope for photo shoot
Gaelyn: knife, triangle, & awl for photo mats
Jill: knife for scraping bones
Andrew: sharpie & tape for tool labels, knife & glue for art labels
Don: thread for hanging horseshoe as an instrument
Don & Rebecca: clothespins for laundry (that they later sculpted into a message for me)
Laura: knife & straightedge for student presentations, sharpie for diplomas
Hope: pruning shears for flower arrangements, awl for something else, Anacin for headache and aches (oh, wait, I can't take credit for that one - dad packed the first aid paraphernalia).

I was dumbfounded, thinking, "No one brought a knife?? Doesn't EVERYONE travel with a utility knife?? And scissors?!" What I learned: not everyone travels with sharp tools and bone folders. To be fair, I did borrow needle-nose pliers from the new toolkit to snap off a couple blades (I left my pliers at home), and I borrowed a small needle from Markus to sew silver thread into an old slip (I only had large needles for binding, tapestry, and sewing sails and carpets). But it felt so good to be useful, and to have tools that made sense beyond bookbinding and papermaking. That must be why I do what I do - b/c it doesn't require super specialized tools, like robots or egg white separators, just basic things that translate into a million different uses.

I also had a fantastic time teaching bookbinding classes. My first was a beginning session with Gaelyn, Gustavo, Laura, and Don. We did a single-sheet folded book, an accordion, a pamphlet, a stab binding, and a non-adhesive tipped-in photograph. That last one got passed onto Gaelyn's and Gustavo's workshop students, who used it for their own work. My second was a private session with Elizabeth, covering all the same bindings. My last one was an advanced seminar with Don and Rebecca - I think they were binders in another life! We did a single-section cased pamphlet with paper I had made on the ranch and cereal box covers. They turned out great; I'm hoping they'll take pictures.

No wonder I didn't feel like performing this time around. I was perfectly content being a book and paper artist.

A plug for my sister's doc

Well, the one she co-edited. This one is a biggie! It has gotten a zillion good reviews and they just did a profile on the director today in the NYT. "No End In Sight" opens Friday. I'll be at the 8pm show at Film Forum in NY tomorrow and hope you get to see it wherever you may be.

Obviously, this isn't a feel good kind of film (is there anything that feels good about what the US has been up to in Iraq??), but it's worth seeing. I'm just proud of my sister for doing such a great job with soooo much footage and a difficult subject.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Singing on the way back from Juanitzio

I didn't do them justice; I have notoriously poor videography skills. I was sitting on the boat going back to the mainland, watching these musicians perform all along the length of the boat, thinking, "I've dated a bassist, a guitarist, and two percussionists, but no accordion players..." I thought about Tam, and later, Don and Rebecca said that they knew and accordion dude, but he's gay.

During our first week, we had a massage night - Rebecca led the first set, and Hope the second. Alicia asked if I was a professional, which was the best thing someone could say to me, and later, Rebecca asked if we could swap so that we could get really good massages. I worked on her first, and she was so easy! All tiny and soft. I love dancers. But then she put me to shame two nights later. TO SHAME. I'm getting on the bullhorn right now: If you are ever in Springfield, MO, or its vicinity, go visit Rebecca for a massage. She is ridiculously amazing. She did things that no one has ever done for me before. I even fell asleep. I think that my body is still doing better, a week after the session, b/c it was so thorough. My favorites: when she stepped on my feet with her feet, and when she did jaw work. I told her that if I had come to Mexico and had gotten nothing done, except her massage, then it was alllll worth it. No joke.

I think it would be nice to be the traveling residency massage therapist. Even though I'm not one. If I didn't have debt and other financial restraints, I would soooo sell myself to the cause. But only if I get to see Rebecca in between.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's 2am in Nueva York

Hey, look. I'm instantly back to my bad habits re: sleeping hours. I've been on my computer all day after sleeping in LATE and doing serious laundry and scrubbing. I have a huge fear that I've inadvertently brought microscopic and not so microscopic pests back from the ranch (I saw a big bug crawl out from under one of my bags today). I've already made a lunch date for tomorrow (or today, however you want to see it) and am feeling nervous about getting back on the Fulbright app track.

But I did get this done: pictures from Mexico!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reentry sucks

You'd think I'd know better than to turn on the computer the night I get in. I got home past midnight and promptly took everything out of my suitcase and then went through all my mail and THEN showered my first shower since Thursday. We had run out of water in Mexico. Once it came back on Saturday, I figured I'd skip it b/c I hate traveling with wet towels (despite Andrew's assertion that "the good lord made towels so that they would get wet." Oh, and he also made the pockets in suitcases where you can put wet towels).

So, I am showered. And so sad to be back. I had a great time and now have a bunch more loved ones in my life and still have enough mosquito bites to keep me itchy for a while. I feel like a princess with clean running water, a toilet I am allowed to flush, and the option of putting all my dirty clothes in a machine that washes them. I miss the ranch, don't miss the mold. I miss the people like crazy. Half or more are still in Mexico as I return to my computer/Internet habit (more on that later). I'm going to itch myself to sleep now.

p.s. - this was the terrace outside my bedroom.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

If you're bored of this unchanging screen, follow these links!

I feel like a TV station that is suspending programming and leaving two weeks of fuzz for the world. Blogger can't auto post, and I'm not on top of it enough (and too much of a control freak) to have guest bloggers, so look here:

1. Clover, who I am lucky to call a dear friend, but who also is an incredible Chicago-based performance artist, has returned from her European trip! She did a great performance for Julie in Prague and then went to Venice. Click the cities for photos.

2. On July 10, Rachel's intelligent blog will auto post an entry that I wrote for her while she is away in Italy. She's currently based in Estonia, interested in all things bookish, worldly, and publishable.

WordPress is good, I know, and I'll eventually use it to start a blog directly on my website (a highly "professional" one) in the fall. But for now, this is it.

3. Ching-In recommended Cathy Park Hong's newest book of poems, Dance Dance Revolution. I read it today, and would also recommend it. I worked at NYFA when she got a Poetry Fellowship, and looking back at her artist statement from then (it's online if you search for her in NYFA Artists), I realized that I had edited that statement. I had forgotten! But since I was in charge of putting the Poetry panel together, I was also in charge of editing all the statements of the Poetry Fellowship winners. It's really satisfying to see how well people do after they're funded.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Haven't started packing yet

Instead, I'm tackling my to do list for when I get back from Mexico. I updated my website (new images under "Nebraska Sweat," "Papercuts," and "Shifu" in the Books and Paper sections), and am about to update my press kit now that Stefan sent the last three images from the shoot. I'm also doing Fulbright stuff and eating pickles. Last night I got sucked into Matt Ridley's Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Maybe after I print and mail letters to Korea, I'll distract myself some more with the book.

Good news: I was panicking for months about nothing. I forgot that domestic and international luggage limits were different. There was no way I'd clear the 50 lb domestic limit, but I can manage the international 70 lb. Come on in, blender and tripod and pruning shears!

Shopaholic friend saves the day

AM: Unexpectedly ride into Harlem with a Korean man visiting from Seattle. We speak both Korean and English and he never once makes fun of my Korean. Learn that I need to do physical and emotional self-care in Mexico. Learn new breathing exercise: inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 6, hold for 2, repeat.

Noonish: Bank, buy a hat, look for boots. Lunch w/Marina over really good shrimp and vermicelli noodle salad.

Afternoon: Filene's w/Brian, DSW where I meet a pair of boots. Tea and muffin as we review wedding mania that has gripped our dear friends and what makes a good friend and a bad neighbor. He shows me a falafel place and touch base briefly about why I was so physically upset by Alan Johnston's kidnapping on the day he was freed.

Early evening: Pitter patter as I search for clothespins. For once, Gili's shopping mania comes to the rescue. She told me she got household goods at surprise! surprise! so I went to find...CLOTHESPINS!! I got a measuring cup, too. Almost got a meat tenderizer but feared it would overdo the job on plant fiber. Should have gotten an alarm clock. Had a moment of "I love being an artist [b/c it takes me to the most random places]" as I wandered the store. Finished a bag of cherries on the street.

Evening: Revisit the boots and try them on. Love. But the bulk and pricetag make me wonder, as I curse Gili's lack of minutes and Cindy's being in Macedonia. I was never meant to shop alone. Call Jennifer to ask for reinforcement. We decide against all boots and head to Souen, for a luxurious dinner and long overdue (5 years!) reunion.

Night: Not buying remorse about the boots. Nightmares about trekking through Mexico mud. Chuckle about Mexican man becoming the richest in the world.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The collywobbles

That's today's new vocabulary: A state of intestinal disorder, usually accompanied by a rumbling stomach. For example, 'butterflies in the stomach'. Rock on. I have a bottle of Imodium ready for the suitcase and have done lots of research on the water in Mexico, so I'm sufficiently warned. For now, I'm too tired and feel drugged after the pool party (well, no swimming b/c of rain) hosted by Clark and Becky. It was a chill afternoon/evening, good to meet new people and re-meet people from the past, and see Eric and Jenny in town from Chicago (Eric in the corner, and Becky's hands bouncing the beach ball on the left).

(There's a snake in that bottle: snake wine from Vietnam.) I'm surprised by how unwilling everything in my head has been this week. Tired eyes! Exhausted brain. I took time off yesterday to watch "Angels in America." Today, I got pruning shears, plastic sheeting, and nylon cord to make a clothesline. Now I just need clothespins. Why is that so hard to find nowadays? Apparently, we can blame it on clothes dryers. In the meantime, I've made three batches of paper, and four rainbow books. Tomorrow is my last day for errands in town. Hopefully I can find a good hat, rainboots (not so hopeful on that front), and clothespins. Then I can cram for two days at home before the adventure begins. For now, time to rehydrate so I can shake off the sangria. Maybe I'll try to learn Spanish for "where's the botanist?" and "is this a poisonous plant?" while I'm at it.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I got TONS of big work done today, but you'd never know it b/c I've been sitting on my ass nearly all day. I finally drafted my Fulbright proposal! It needs lots of work, but I'm relieved to get a down draft done. I also finished my press kit! Just two more images from Stefan and I'm golden. Well, at least regarding design and layout work. I still need to figure out where to print it, and then how to bind it (I decided that since I'm a book artist, I might as well have my press kit be a book). This is the postcard for the final presentation of our work in Mexico (I'm in the lower right corner), so if anyone is planning to be near Maravatio on July 21, you're welcome to come. The opening is 3-6pm and you can stay for dinner afterwards.

Other fun news: the paper show in Brockton got a nice review in the Providence Journal last Thursday. I hope this link works. They got a little confused about my piece, since I foolishly listed ALL the materials in the installation (I didn't want people to think it was just paper hanging out miraculously. I have learned my lesson. Better to let people think it's paper hanging out miraculously):
One of the show’s largest works, Aimee Lee’s Hunk & Dora, suggests a crumbling stone tower of the sort you might find in a Charlotte Bronte novel. (It turns out to be made from a combination of paper and Tyvek, a paper-like material used in home insulation.)
The bricks are made from paper ONLY, but reinforced by a tiny Tyvek square at each piercing to run monofilament. Still, the Bronte reference is fun.

I recommend getting a flight out of the country as a fantastic way to force deadlines. I can't believe how much work I'm getting done! I even rehydrated some bad sheets today and made more paper. I lost a few pellons. This morning, I noticed none of them hanging on the balcony where I left them last night. They flew away. I was able to find four, flung far, near a bush and under two separate garage doors. Who knows where the rest are. Such are the joys of suburban papermaking.