Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reasons for grumpies

I like to follow trains of thought whenever possible, and the one that I had followed through several books led me to The Feminist Memoir Project. I didn't read the whole thing--that wasn't the point. But I read one thing that led to another that led to another that reminded me of the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. And then I got sad. And read some more about the ERA and got even sadder. I didn't realize that MOST people in this country think that it did pass and that we live under a constitution that grants equal rights regardless of sex. I remember being horrified when I learned about the failure to ratify the ERA in secondary school, but then other things came along to distract me. Now I am horrified again, but mostly at the intense powerlessness in the face of the machine. I'll probably get up tomorrow and be fine, but wouldn't it be great if this got resolved soon? Then maybe I'd be more understanding of women who claim they would die for the Constitution.

The big experiment begins tomorrow. It will be a secret between about three people and if it goes well, the rest of the world gets in on it next year. Wohoo!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Speaking of websites

I just did some big updates to mine, though it's all stuff I would notice more than anyone else b/c it makes my body sore to do the updates and no one else's. Lucky everyone else! This is a brand-new section, of all knit books (I know, I should have made this section a long time ago but when I was at the 5th book, I thought I was done for good). Starting from this woven book are a bunch of new woven pieces (under the photo on the left side, click on the tiny "Next"). And then from here are a few more joomchi pieces (though technically, a few are NOT...but it was the best section to classify them!).

Every time I do a big update, I see why I need a website overhaul but it'll have to wait until FY11, whenever funds come in!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New website: Adam Field

I found Adam last year when I was randomly doing an online search for onggi. He had done an amazing hardcore apprenticeship in Korea to learn how to make onggi and inspired me to keep up my work spreading the word about hanji. He has a new website, which looks great. I especially love that all his videos are now in one place.

"No one is as fragile as a woman but no one is as fragile as a man."

[I read that quote by Ted Hoagland last night in Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces.] Last night I finally found Interweave Knits. I am happy w/how they used my images (but wanted to say that papermaking DOES require specialized equipment, for certain kinds of paper). It was a wonderful treat before heading to a party to see Ellen and David. There were a million different conversations going on and mostly I listened while eating and grazing. There was one, inevitably, about politicians these days. All evil, of course. Someone talked about how Republicans love the she-devil that we love to hate from the largest state in the U.S. and their reasons for viewing her so favorably. My view was that she finally portrays women the way that Republicans (and not just them) want women to look: gorgeous, stupid, running at the mouth, incredibly flawed, irresponsible, and always in lipstick. This makes me very sad, of course, since it's part of the whole rolling back of advances made by women for women's equality. But it also makes me even more grateful for the women who are themselves completely and unapologetically, who live lives of integrity, who are connected to the land and non-human life, and who write about the harvest moon and hunter's moon. No wonder I am burrowing into their books so ferociously these days and reading about kelpies and blue heelers and border collies. So here is to one of them (and her equally-lovable border collie Wendy): Velma celebrates her birthday today!

Friday, November 26, 2010

After the feast

I am so glad that is over. I over-stressed myself but at least the food all came out fine. While on the stationary bike, pretending to work out, I read Buddhism & Culture Magazine and loved what Jon Kabat-Zinn said about how human beings are more like "human doings." Which makes me think we are all just pieces of shit. That's what glancing at "human doings" looks like to my semi-bilingual brain.

Rebecca and Don out in Indiana are starting a new improvisation series in Lafayette: find out more here or donate here. I did both since I am all about improv (you don't have to take a very close look at my own work to know this).

In more exciting news from old friends from our Mexican residency days, Elizabeth has been working hard at getting eyeseverywhere, a women artists photoblog out in the world. Tomorrow, it will be presented in the photography week in Madrid at Espacio monosUno! I was part of this project for a few years and am proud of Elizbeth's hard work.

Last night I finished Drinking the Rain (thanks, Velma!) and loved this line: "But of course, you don't know till you know."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


[Stefan did his usual amazing job. I love especially how this one turned out.] I've been building a new press kit and am in that place where I suspect there is a much easier way to do it, yet it's harder to figure out what it might be than to labor on as I always have. That means today was proposal and cornbread day. I think I am sick from overeating already, trying to figure out the best prep for tomorrow. I don't like how we've been tricked into thinking that we MUST have turkey &c for this holiday. I would never choose to eat this stuff on any other day of the year (and will probably not tomorrow, since I'll be full from tasting as I cook). Thank goodness we're having a Korean half of the meal.

This image is my little protest of all the hoopla going on in Korea but also the usual media antics surrounding it. This is to say, Korea is more than commies versus us, or China versus U.S., or taekwondo and bboys. It also produces the plants that make and dye this paper and the genius and hardworking hands that transform hanji into something else altogether.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

G is for gratitude

[More Bruno Munari.] I had the most unexpectedly pleasant meeting w/a public services worker today. I met a mother who had lost her son to the war in Iraq. I watched a TEDTalk about women and war. I finished A Match to the Heart but I think I liked The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating better. I felt overwhelmed by my workload, which I have brought upon myself, but feel better after a workout and shower and decisions about stuffing (I am in charge of the "American" portion of turkey dinner this year, not voluntarily). And I loved this image by Elizabeth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bruno Munari made beautiful books

[From Bruno Munari's ABC. This book was a great way to start the morning.] Big Monday, lots of being all over. Yet it was spaced out enough that I didn't feel like I was running all the time. My first appt was a half success; I need to return tomorrow with more paperwork (health insurance tanglies). My second was good as usual: a shoot with Stefan to take care of the Ithaca art. He noted that I didn't have any comics or zines. This will have to be remedied immediately. My third was a failure: Barnes & Noble only had the holiday edition of Interweave Knits so I still am up a creek trying to find the latest regular issue. My final was also good as usual: a we're-both-a-bit-frenzied-but-calm-together visit with Terttu. I came home to a mountain of daunting inbox work but am avoiding that by packing a gift to mail tomorrow instead. Priorities! Friends are up top, and more fun to spend time on than long lists of physicians.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here and there I am

Scroll down to Feb 16, 2011 to see the description of the lecture I will present that day at the Denver Art Museum.

Tam says I'm in the new issue of Interweave Knits. I have yet to see anything besides the table of contents, but I am super happy that she told me about it first, since she's the one who told me about Sabrina in the first place, who wrote about me.

Shoveling bento box type lunches into your mouth while sitting in a parked car in a parking lot can be very gratifying. Also, I'm moving across the country next year. It's all a lot to take in, especially since I have a big pile of books that I desperately want to devour. I just finished Gretel Ehrlich's The Future of Ice and that was a big downer. But I loved this, from early on in the book:
Once a Chinese Ch'an master asked his head monk where he was going. Fa-yen answered, "I'm rambling aimlessly around." The teacher asked why, and Fa-yen said, "I don't know." The teacher smiled. "That's good."
That IS good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book addiction

Velma's words have fallen prey to my need to make books with my female friends' words (and images). It started last year with Chela, and then Jami, and then Joana. This last book came to me last night and I fine-tuned it today, the most simple of all. I'm not sure if this is a big warming up to or a big procrastination away from my own words. Small miracles, though: today I wrote some. Maybe it has something to do with walking out in the yellow leaves, on dirt, passing community gardens and a baseball diamond. It came out in the middle of Anil's Ghost, which I just finished. Tragic and beautiful, lovely and arresting, totally Ondaatje.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting, stopping, starting, hesitating

What I've been doing:

1. Making a new edition of Chela's bball book
2. Still foiled on an edition of Jami's
3. Crying while watching "Milk"
4. Reading Joseph Campbell
5. Cleaning up after the window man
6. Free weights
7. Calling people who like to pass the buck (yes, they work for the gov't)
8. Getting a haircut
9. Being passed over for jury duty after calling in for three nights
10. Throwing things out into the world to construct my 2011.

But not a single sit-up. Maybe those, and some push-ups, will help motivate me towards the big task I've been avoiding for over a year now. But probably not. Who knows, though. I could start writing...tomorrow!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Work is hard but hanji has finally landed in NYC

Tonight's Book Arts Lounge went well! No time for being a lizard, and not even time to eat wasabi peas or whatever refreshments were out; there must have been at least 40 people in attendance. People started to come in well before the published start time and were all super engaged. I was going to make a joke at the beginning about how it was a lounge so the first portion (my lecture) was the part where I'd let people sleep, but i didn't even have time for that. The three hours actually seemed long, so I was able to cover a lot of material and then stagger my demos. It was the most amount of people I've ever had do joomchi in one space (this is one of the two bindery spaces and both were full), so it was like a massive drum circle. It seemed uncoordinated, but it was amazing to hear, at one moment, a lull when suddenly everyone stopped banging on the tables. And there was laughter. And what I especially love about all of the hanji workshops I've taught thus far: people always help each other, which lightens my load significantly.

I learn more each time I teach cording, and have to remember to include "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" into my demos. I also made my first public mention (even before I mentioned it here!) tonight about my jiseung teacher's wife: she passed away suddenly over a month ago. I was very upset and had gotten the news from my teacher the night before I left to meet Ben, but thankfully I've heard from him since and he is hanging in there. His entire immediate family is now gone, but he even said he wants to travel more, so I hope I can get him here sooner than later so he can perform his magic. Tonight reminded me again of my huge debts to all of my teachers in Korea, b/c they had been so generous. I think that is why I go all out whenever I get a chance to teach about hanji; it's the only way to go!

As an aside: the other night, I watched "The Story of the Weeping Camel." It's a wonderful film set in Mongolia and involves families, camels, and a morin khuur player (roughly a Mongolian violinist). Near the beginning, the men shear a camel and then bring the wool to an elder woman who is cording it into rope to create a harness for a colt. I had noticed the fuzzy rope at the very start of the film when an elder ties up sticks with it and had wondered, but was SO taken by watching the woman cord. It was like cording hanji only backwards! We cord from down to up and she was cording from up to down. I loved it. It's so funny the things that jump out at you once you key into certain things (like the random job cases and letterpresses in "Inception").

And a final hurrah from tonight: a student tonight told me about how we are all taught that Gutenberg did the first metal moveable type, but she told me about a tiny display somewhere in the depths of the natural history museum here in NYC that shows Korean metal moveable type, dated well before his time. I didn't know they had those artifacts since I figured all western cultures like to go w/the Gutenberg story. Maybe I'll look for it after jury duty next week. For now, I need a breather. I have to install one more set of window shades tomorrow (I did more today, manually, since the power drill stripped all of my screws) and then I am calling it a weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More is work

[Hiding out in the library trying to escape varnish fumes.] There was a time not long ago when I wondered why people were so obsessed with home improvement. Today I had to install blinds into four windows (screwing the screws in manually rather than with a drill, which excused me from my exercise for the day) and realized that doing that made the gaps in the windowsill moulding more apparent and then I was exasperated b/c that mean more caulking or something of that nature. There is NO END once you start these things.

Yesterday I was banished from the home after letting in the two men who were re-doing the floors. I am surprised that I survived to see today after sleeping in those fumes. But at least I was finally able to take down all the art I had taped into the windows as makeshift privacy screens, so I don't need to worry anymore about inadvertently destroying my art by opening the window. Now I get to prep for tomorrow's fun: teaching a hanji workshop at the Center for Book Arts in NYC. It's called a Book Arts Lounge and I will start with a presentation of my Fulbright research, and then pull out hanji for everyone to play with. $10 to learn how to cord and felt paper; doesn't get better than that!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

More of more

Home improvement can be endless. I suppose it usually is, but doing it every day gives me the sleeping sickness. I managed to stave off another nap today by watching "The Horse Boy," and finally reconstructed my last lost data. Which is a slideshow of my Cleveland summer: building the Morgan's hanji studio. The narration is not fabulous, nor is it subtitled, but it's the best it's going to be for the time being. Now I have to move onto Now Work.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A day late, a day early

Ah, my first gloomy-looking day since arriving back home. And huge piles, still, of work. But I managed to finish up the third in an edition of 3 yesterday that I had started in Ithaca, so that made me feel slightly more sane, to be able to do a tiny bit of the work that I'd rather be doing. These days, it's the home renovation business that has taken all of my energy, so I can't even blame the admin for keeping me away from the art. But it's fine: having a nice place to live makes it easier to work, in the long run.

In my strangely-long-lasting jet lag, I forgot to mention a show that opened last night in NYC. It's been traveling around the world for the past few years and I have a tiny green piece in it. This Saturday (6-8pm), Manhattan Graphics Center will have an opening, which includes work of past scholarship recipients, so my work will be on the wall.

But, most exciting: tomorrow, Velma's solo show will open in Potsdam, NY! That book up there, I have four of, and one has her name on it. Which means I need to call my photog today so I can shoot them and then release them into the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

B/c I can't think about myself anymore

Two things. One, make a postcard to protest hydrofracking! It is a terrible thing that corporate entities like to do to get natural gas out of the earth, by poisoning everyone else's water supply. They get away with it by keeping ignorance up, and throwing money at people who need it too much to turn it down:

1. Exit Art SEA seeks artist’s postcards, deaedline Nov. 24

Dear Friends,

Good News! Exit Art SEA is having an exhibition about hydrofracking for natural gas in December.

I'm writing, as one of the organizers of this show along with Lauren Rosati, Peggy Cyphers, and Alice Zinnes, to invite you to send a postcard as a way of participating in our efforts to bring awareness and information about this technology that, if it proceeds, will have huge, damaging consequences to the environment... specifically the Delaware River Basin and upstate New York.

Please send to Exit Art a post card with a small drawing (or image) on it, and a few words about hydrofracking. It is due this month by Nov 24. And if you can, please ask friends to send a post card as well.

Exit Art SEA
475 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
(212) 966-7745

Thank you very much, in advance, for sending a card!

best wishes,

Ruth Hardinger, FF Alumn

Two, remember to vote if you can! I may have been up until 4am stressing last night, but I still made a point to vote as soon as I got up.

Related to that, I wanted to share some things from An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms:
MT: There isn't much discussion of the spiritual ideals of these other cultures, either. How is that related to what's going on in the world politically?

JC: In politics and economics, the mode inevitably is conflict. Politics is winning over somebody else; economics is, again, winning over somebody else. I think it's a good thing to have to fight, and to be in the world struggle; that's what life is. But it's in the spiritual realm that there are constants. It's a shame that typically there's been a fight in the spiritual realm also, namely, "Our religion is the true one, and these other people are pagans or infidels or whatnot," which is the political accent. The comparative approach, on the other hand, allows you to recognize the constants; it allows you to recognize that you are in counterplay--in your political and economic life--with one of your own kind, and you can regard the person as a "thou," as you would in a tennis game. You are no longer fighting a monster. But the old political style turns the man on the other side of the net into a monster. In every war we've done that. But to know that the other person is a "thou," a human being with the same sentiments and potentialities as yourself, at least civilizes the game. Then in other relationships there is the possibility of a real sense of accord and commonality.

What's before us now is the problem of our social group. What is it? Our social group is mankind. Formerly, it was this group or that. And in the older traditions, love was reserved for the in-group; aggression and all that was for others. There is no out-group now, so what are we going to do with the aggression? It has to be civilized.

Do you think politics can catch up?

I don't know what politics can do. I think it's fair to say that I'm a little bit discouraged by the people who are involved in the political life of this country. I begin to feel it has been betrayed. Its potentialities have been sold for values that are inscrutable to me.

We don't seem to honor our artists and poets very much in our culture. Are there civilizations that do?

It's worse here in the United States. In France, they name streets after their poets; we have them named after generals.

What does that reflect?

It reflects, I think, a businessman's mentality. That's what's running, and has run, and has made this country. It's a curiously unartistic country in its common character, and yet it has produced some of the greatest artists of the century. But they're not recognized publicly; those that are recognized publicly are the razzle-dazzlers who come across in the popular media.

And you feel that it's important that art and poetry and music be a vital part of any culture.

It is what is vital; the rest isn't.