Monday, March 24, 2008

I am sad

And that is that. No getting around it. I had hoped it would pass and today would be a glorious new day, a bright Monday, the beginning of a new consciousness. But not so much. I did some taxes, went into a panic about my brick wall, and sewed two zines. I got this stack of books from the library, a good indicator of how I am feeling right now. But Elizabeth just sent a good email about changing your life or changing how you see it, to get out of depression.

And here is a poem from Nikki Giovanni, from Blues: For All the Changes --
The Poem for Frances Brown
(My First Warm Hearth Friend)

There are things you know . . . Clouds rise . . . Stars twinkle . . . Snow
melts . . . Rain makes thins grow . . . Sunshine warms . . . Trees cool . . .

If you love something . . . You will lose it

But the memory of motion . . . The wonder of the enchantment . . . The
blue of the glacier . . . The blue of the sky . . . The blue in your heart . . .
The reality of conclusion . . .

Through transforming . . . Stays

Delayed obit

I got this from a papermaking online group, and even though I never knew Kiichi Sakurai, I think he is worth remembering:

Obituary from Japan

Shiroishi shifu weaver Sadako Sakurai's husband Kiichi Sakurai died at his hometown hospital in Mito Ibaraki prefecture Feburary 16, 2008. He was 83 years old.

Kiichi and Sadako had always worked very closely together and were responsible for reviving Shifu successfully, as it had once disappeared from the Shiroishi area where it had been a family art and craft industry. When first Kiichi and Sadako saw and touched shifu fabric they immediately fell in love with it. Reviving this process wasn't so easy, using many expensive handmade papers to weave yardage of fabric, even failing many times and becoming almost bankrupt. Sadako cried, was discouraged, and tried to quit each difficult time, but Kiichi was always beside her encouraging her, and gave her enthusiastic support, no matter what the situation was.

They eventually successfully followed the traditional shiroishi shifu technique. It took them four years to accomplish this.

Sadako has been preparing for an Exhibition coming up on April 19-26 next month in her town of Mito. Anyone who wishes to send her remembrance greetings can send them to her address:

Sadako Sakurai
838-4 Horimachi
Mito City, Ibaraki pref.
310-0903 Japan

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring fever is no joke

Wow. It's been rough lately; lots of internal and external drama that has wrung me out. I love that as far as humans get from nature, in the end, we are no match for it. The seasonal changes are just too strong to ignore. This is from my final project for my poetry class with Myung Mi Kim. I feel like that now: when you're done with a semester and are about to be severed from a teacher and a classroom and then what do you do with all that you've been doing for the last few months?

Maybe that's not how I feel at all. I'm shut out of the printshop this weekend for the holiday - good and bad. Good b/c a break is handy. Bad b/c I was just getting ready to produce my zine in an etched format. Yesterday in the studio, I got horrible headaches from the bad ventilation. But I worked on seven plates, and had fun playing w/a new technique: sugar lift. I haven't been documenting my printmaking learning curve, so here is a good video on both the aquatint and sugar lift techniques, by Crown Point Press in SF.

I'm also in the bereft state of mind. I miss Ching-In - she's in Singapore on spring break. Before she left, she said that I read like a writer. My boss today showed me self-portraits she did when she was 10 and 20 years old, and I thought about what it might be like to know that you were an artist from an early age. I used to envy my musician friends who knew exactly what they wanted at age five. Or even fifteen.

Today was another exhausting studio day at work, but exciting: I began the very first production run at the resurrected papermill!! There are still lots of kinks to work out in the new space, but I managed to pull two sets of sheets, about 70 in all, while looking out the windows at the garden-in-progress. It was funny being back at the vat, after such a long absence. But I guess it's like what they say about riding bikes, or having sex (maybe they only say it about riding bikes...) - once you learn, you never forget. [Though I kind of protest this point b/c I learned how to ride a bike when I was a kid, and then had to re-learn it in college.]

Monday, March 10, 2008

My word ruler!

More like, my shot memory. I knew I was forgetting something today! I forgot to shoot this in daylight. Oh well. I'll pull more prints tomorrow; this piece is way too fun not to print constantly. It's in alpha order but within letters, not alphabetical. And, yes, the word "asshole" is at both ends of the ruler. That's the only anomaly. See? I'm getting a lot better at writing backwards (you have to scratch out the words in reverse if you want them to print properly).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

This Sunday was NOT a sabbath

Daylight savings really came and kicked my ass today. But I still managed to haul myself through massive wind tunnels to the studio and make two new plates. They were FUN. Today's especially - it's like a word ruler. A ruler to measure the distance between words. I'll take pics tomorrow b/c I can't explain it very well. Paulette came to see the show and buy a zine, and it was really nice to have someone who was genuinely interested in what I was doing. I kept thinking she wanted to leave, but then remembered, "this is the woman who flew to Chicago from NY and back in a day just to see my brick wall!!!" She says that this blog does my work and process no justice. But I try. I just don't have the patience to set up a tripod in a communal studio to document my printmaking process. I'd probably be kicked out! Hahaa.

We dined in Chinatown afterwards, and marveled at the unraveling of the current social fabric. I rode home on a crowded train, w/an overly perfumed woman right next to me, yammering the ENTIRE RIDE on her phone (after loud texting) about some black dress she found on sale, and three loud teenage girls talking in front of me, in Korean. I am heavily nostalgic for the days when all you could do on a train was sleep, read, and other non-digital/electronic activities. People have always talked loudly, but I'm convinced that noise pollution has reached an all time high. It makes me want to re-read Alberto Manguel again, how he talks about the fact that we all inhabit a world together, and we canNOT have it otherwise. So, how do we negotiate how we share this space, knowing that we can't live without each other?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I forgot to say that yesterday's (and today's) images are of the latest knit book, w/intaglio. I also feel very scattered and behind, but apparently the feeling of always catching up is endemic to workaholics. Though I'm trying to pause in the studio for a moment b/c 1. I want to do all the work for the project w/Clover, which is going to be all performance / sound / video / audio based and 2. I have no good ideas for a new copper plate. Tomorrow I might go and fool around w/long skinny scraps that I beveled last night.

I am still recovering from my movie intake this weekend: "Blood Diamond" (shudder) and "The Italian" (I loooove the shots of little Vanya sitting on the windowsill, looking outside). I think in general that anything referring directly or indirectly to chopping off hands will upset me for a while. But I tempered it by reading Susan Howe's Souls of the Labadie Tract, and finally finishing Alberto Manguel's The City of Words on a park bench yesterday. Park bench reading has been destroyed by cell phones. But I still managed to finish it! I liked best his quote from Anthony Burgess: "Editors never emend orchestra scores or panoramic paintings; why should the novelist be singled out as the one artist who doesn't understand his art?"

I'm skimming Howe's The Midnight, and my favorite from that so far is "It is fun to be hidden but horrible not to be found--the question is how to be isolated without being insulated."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Zine #2, but #1 to be posted online

In case you were curious, here are the contents of the zine I made this weekend. I'm now going to make pockets to display them in the show at Manhattan Graphics Center. Enjoy! [Ignore the weird color; I'm a notoriously poor color corrector.]