Monday, April 19, 2010

Today, I made paper

I have no pictures (b/c I was SO busy), but I really did. This was the only one I managed, on the train ride home. Can you see the tiny fibers left between my fingers from repulped hanji? I got to Seacourt Print Workshop at about 10:20am and met Robert, who is in charge. I had found out via email about this experimental papermaking weekend they were hosting. I had intended to go yesterday and today but opted for the causeway yesterday instead. Today I was excited to ride peacefully along the coast to Bangor. I brought some tools, chemicals, lunch, and two containers full of hanji scraps. They were leftovers from jiseung clippings and pieces I've recycled. It seemed like a tiny bit, but I spent the ENTIRE morning standing above a narrow bucket of scraps and water, unraveling each cord bit by hand (otherwise they would just clog in the blender). One woman walked in and said, "that looks boring," and another said, "that is truly a labor of love." Both, perhaps. As tedious and back aching as it was, it felt good to have my hands in water, finally doing something to these curly bits that I had been accumulating for months.

I met five women, who were all doing fun projects. A couple had been to Pyramid Atlantic so they had some papermaking experience. Robert has also been, and he has visited the printshops in NYC as well. They have an incredible array of programming and even have a gorgeous Clymer Columbia press and I don't know how he stays on top of all the work. I loved the vibe there--it was down to earth and friendly and everyone works in multiple media. And get this: I met someone who knew about the North Country, the Adirondacks, and even Fort Drum!! Inga is a fiber artist who actually would love to move to Canton. She had been there when I was living on base, an hour or so north of me! Insane, this tiny world.

After lunch, I finally pulped my fiber, which made a nice big vat. I even got a private room: the screen washout section for screenprinters. I set up directly in the sink, which has always been my favorite setup: no fuss, direct access to water and drain. I had been trained to mix PEO 24 hours ahead of time, but today I just went for it and whoa, it worked way too well. I only made ten sheets but the fun of it was doing three demos for the other artists to show them how to make a modified sugeta (much easier to travel with than a western mould and deckle) and do eastern formation. I only had four pellons so I would constantly blot and transfer to newspaper, which was conveniently slightly bigger than the size of my paper. I didn't have a lot of time, so by the time I got into a rhythm it was time to clean up. I donated the rest of my pulp to interested parties, rolled up my damp sheets, and got into Inga's car just in time to make the train back home.

I am a little zonked from getting my period today and dangerously high levels of MSG (why did I think Chinese takeout could be better here than back home? At least I can put this on my list of "never do again" experiences here). But it has been an incredibly fulfilling weekend, even if I can't properly articulate it.

1 comment:

Velma Bolyard said...