Thursday, August 27, 2009


[My favorite kind of installations pack up easily.] All done w/the studio visit. But now I'm all kinds of tired. I did get up the nerve to make a new piece (success!) and edit an older piece (it's WAY easier when you do it right in the beginning. Fixing sucks). My fibers teacher from Haystack, Mi-Kyoung Lee, has a show opening at the Craft Alliance tomorrow. See the site and click thru for more images. She is so gorgeous I can hardly stand it.

The good thing about having the open studio is that I just taped up big pieces on the sloped walls in front of windows and found that the backlighting TOTALLY makes the pieces. So this is good information to have. It'll be a nightmare to hang and light in Miami, I'm sure, but I've been told that the installer is top notch.

I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about everything I didn't say or forgot to or was distracted from or what have you during the lecture. But mostly I have been thinking today about how crazy the two full-time jobs are: being an artist, and being the PR firm. I'd be perfectly happy NOT setting up ridiculous tripod/self-timer shots of me "working" so that I could simply work. But it's not that kind of world anymore.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Panties in a pot. Not thrilled about dye tests. I was thinking today that I have too much crap in the studio to play with. So I might just put this away for later.

This, too, the greased hanji. I did a piece with it today and showed it to my sister, who said it looked "rinky-dink," so that definitely is not going to happen. She said that my work this morning looked wholly uninspired. She's right.

Last night I stayed up late (I think I've become afraid to go to sleep here) and wove this out of mulberry bark. Today I dunked it in the dye bath. It's all that comforts me in this time of massive stress, keeping my hands busy w/random tiny bits of bark and hanji. I feel like I have to crank out work like a robot, which would be FINE if I actually WAS a robot. But I'm not. So this human being is going to see how she feels after taking a shower and cooking dinner. I am hoping that tonight will be a good work night. Or at least a good admin night - the galleries are breathing down my neck for a million things, of course all due yesterday, even though I only get notice now. My admin priority is prepping my presentation for tomorrow at the library. The rest will have to wait!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cooling off

Thank goodness the humidity and heat have finally subsided a little! I went to bed last night feeling like I had been drinking all day, so the morning was a little slow, but I finally managed to finish this book. I was upset about some mistakes I made, but they're not bad enough to ruin it and I don't have time (or desire) to re-do it. I visited the library today to scope it out for my presentation on Wednesday. I'm bringing hanji and stuff I've made, so there better be more people than I have fingers on one hand. Then Jen took me to the store and I got some green peppers, which are my new favorite thing to cook.

This morning, I cleaned the bathroom and washed the studio floor. There is a certain kind of roach-like bug that has been crawling out into the middle of my studio floor and dying, legs up, the same spot. I hope it doesn't happen tonight b/c I have nine sheets of hanji that I glued together today on the floor. And b/c it's creepy! The bugs are coming out in full force, which makes me squeamish, but I don't really have time to be squeamish. I cooked dinner while I was preparing my cochineal dye bath. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I didn't have pantyhose or mesh, so I wrapped up the ground bugs in a panties. I'm pretending that I intended to dye them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Derailed by heat

[Milkweed on the side of the road. Ahead, they touched up the crosswalk from the parking lot to the visitor center.] I have lately been eaten up by fear, fear of all sorts, so I decided this morning to do what I usually do when this happens (well, usually, I just avoid everything that is scaring me. But I do have this one tactic): do something that REALLY scares me.

So I finally took the trails from the national park land into the preserve that is managed by the Nature Conservancy. I don't have appropriate clothing, but even in my paranoia about ticks, I essentially RAN through the woods w/my ankles and arms exposed. A mosquito bit my forehead, but otherwise I came out unscathed. I was following the blazes on the trees but ran into a bunch of fallen trees and at one point, a stream, so I had to backtrack a lot. I came out the main entrance and walked past Jen's house (the volunteer in charge of me), and back home for a shower. I'm not really sure that I did anything but run through my fear with my fear, but it's done.

I finally put this together but didn't have the right rigging for it, which means that possibly it will take more work to FIX it than to make it. I wish wish wish I was better at rigging, but I am woefully bad. I need some PVC piping but that is NOT something I can find in the woods, so I will have to just fix the piece when it gets installed.

If it actually ever gets finished!! It's hot as blazes today and I am surprised I lasted as long as I did (until 3:30pm) in my sauna of a studio. The top is not a fashion statement: that's how I rigged having a pocket to hold the pieces of hanji cord to tie off all of the colored cords. I felt the whole time like I was just making a ginormous basketball net. Well, maybe I am.

[Eventually, I ended up just working in my underwear.] I quit in the afternoon b/c I got a ways down and realized that the whole thing needs to be longer, which means I have to cut down and spin more hanji, which makes me want to throw a tantrum b/c that will take another 2 days at least. Plus, that prep work is brutal. So I took a nap in the a/c, read about female soldiers, talked to Terttu, and looked at the final report for Guapa, the residency program I did in Mexico in 2007. Their call for applications is up - apply! It's due Sept 15 and I think the dates in Feb next year will be around when the monarch butterflies do their migration.

Also, Marian Runk, an alumna from both my almae matres, has a new Etsy shop. She does great comics; I had fun reading her books when they were in Seoul. Oh, and one more shout out to Doug Collins, who is a printmaker back in NYC who helped inspire the conceptual framework behind my word ruler book. Now, back to brave the studio...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I have no idea what is going on

Last night as I was trying to sleep, I realized that I wanted to use up my ink tests on the Chinese-made paper I bought in Korea for calligraphy practice. I had intended first to combine it w/hanji, but I'm too spoiled now. The vast gulf in quality makes it impossible for me to mix the two since the Chinese stuff falls apart. It's so fragile that it won't take my glue tape; it just rips and sticks to the tape, instead of letting the tape stick to it. So I made this today instead: Chinese paper on Chinese paper. I sat on it the whole time that I made it. I really enjoy sitting on and stepping on my work. Maybe this is related to Korean culture being a floor culture, or maybe I was a rug dealer in a past life. I honestly have no idea what I am doing lately with all this joomchi and collage work, which makes it doubly hard for me to be alone here since I have no outside eye to give me feedback. They photograph badly, so I can't share here.

As for all the torn paper, I think that I still have this in my system and haven't channeled it out yet. I only started getting it out of my system last year in Maine, but didn't get a chance to continue in Korea. The good news is that I spun all the cut-down hanji, showered, and gave the cottage a once over w/the highly-functioning vacuum cleaner! This prepares me at the halfway mark, when I need to focus on what I'll get done in the next (final!) two weeks. Of course, instead of working, I walked three miles for pizza and chocolate granola (and eggs and veggies), thought about a welcome home party in NYC, agreed to more time-consuming non-studio work, napped, and watched a supremely bad basketball movie while spinning paper. But isn't that what Sundays are for?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back into the water

Terttu came to visit yesterday!! It was SO GOOD to see her again. It's been way too long. Years! These are the little stickies I got for her in Seoul, so that she can study hard at Yale when she starts grad school next month. I think it's hilarious that we are both in CT right now, which we both find to be a super weird state. I love that she comes out to see me at residencies when she can. I was so out of it and too busy talking to her to take pics of both of us, but it was really great to have someone come and see what I've been up to and also all the hanji from Korea - she gave me some good ideas for directions to go in, which felt really freeing, b/c I had been so stuck on the directions that I thought I should go in. So now I'm all itching to be onto the next bunch of work - I'm two days behind the schedule I made.

Part of this comes from some serious administrative struggles since I'm now entering a give and take phase w/other people, and not everyone values efficiency and keeping deadlines. I am trying not to let that poison my work, but it's hard. It was good, though, to talk to Terttu about all of my major concerns. Near the end of her visit, she was like, "so, what else are you worried about?" But we had taken care of most of it. Mostly, I am just scared of making crap and wasting my time (not just my daily time but my time on earth). CLEARLY, someone needs to have a vacuum taken to her head so that she can clean up the neurotic dust bunnies. Instead, she spent the day downstairs weaving this and making lots of hanji dust.

This book is waiting for the one before it to get done. I'm hoping tomorrow will be the last day for these and then I can get to bigger work, fun stuff, for the second show this fall. I'm listening to Milli Vanilli and re-listening to Alain de Botton talking about things like how we live for the first time in an era where we worship ourselves and not things that are outside ourselves, or bigger that ourselves, or not human. Yesterday, I read a super depress-o article about our misogynist culture. Oh, and it's now crazy hot and humid, as August usually is. But otherwise, I am grateful for the time and the studio. And for the PVA that Terttu got for me in NYC! Total lifesaver. I loved being able to talk to her about being outside of the US and how that really brings out the differences in Americans and non-Americans - that idea of the individual as first priority, rather than the community as most important. So it was good to process that part of what I had learned in Korea with her. And also to eat lots of fruit.