Friday, July 31, 2009

Frozen grapes

Yesterday I had the most heavenly visit to Canton to visit Velma and Mark McMurray, the special collections curator and archivist at St. Lawrence University. He also runs Caliban Press and has the most exquisite printshop I have seen in forever. I finally got to see Velma's home and studio and papermill (!!) after doing the brutal 0515 rise so that I could drive Ben to base and then to North Country. She lives and works in this treasure trove of everything an artist could want and it was a total crime that I didn't have fresh batteries so I couldn't shoot anything yesterday. She did give me this piece of shifu she wove from lokta paper that she spun: we had fun at the printshop w/Mark doing proofs on her shifu w/wood type.

She also showed me some of Carol Blinn's books, which are insanely delicious. I finally saw the nest book that they made together in person, which is gorgeous. Carol is a total duck person, so I was particularly happy to see the books, even though it made me late picking up Ben (I have to learn to not have any expectations from the army: he's late when I expect him early, and early when I expect late). I think people could easily spend days in Velma's home and never need to emerge. She showed me her flax patch outside and I got to see her gorgeous red barn and her border collie Wendy was all over us, which was sweet.

Visiting Mark's shop and the library was also very nourishing. We were all nonstop talking about books and paper and printing and I went overboard babbling about my time and research in Korea. He pulled out some things from Paper Nao, a shop in Japan run by Naoaki Sakamoto, who makes amazing paper that he dyes in beautiful ways. There was one book besides the Paper Across Continents book that I had read in Korea at my hanji teacher's mill (they are friends). It was about hanji and I was too fried to do a decent translation job from the Korean, but it was great to see the photos and diagrams of the webal technique.

Mark treated us to a yummy lunch at Blackbird Cafe, where he found an old origami book and where I had to control myself from getting decadent desserts. If I had a car, Ben would be in trouble b/c I would spend all my time up in Canton. I'll definitely do a trip in the fall when I move with an operational camera so everyone can see the goodies.


Velma Bolyard said...

at stitch and bitch katrina was SO excited and shared your story!

jude said...

i love velma's shifu. i have a little square too!

mjc said...

Oh, dang, those batteries...I wish there were photos. But thanks for the tantalizing words (and the woven shifu is lovely).