Thursday, March 31, 2011

No loss of blood, reprise

I never know when I make an edition if or when I'll have to re-edition it, but I realized over spring break that I needed to do exactly that with two comic zines before I send batches out into the world. So after seeing my TA's presentation at school, having lunch with her, and taking a nap, I forced myself back out the door in 70-degree California sun, against my jet-lagged body's wishes, to find a copy shop and start all over again.

After an entire evening of cutting down by hand, sewing, taping, folding, and binding with band-aids, I'm finally done. I had another hilarious encounter when my housemate, a nurse, came home and saw a pile of bandage wrappers on the table and a knife in my hand. She thought I had hurt myself! But found it curious that there was no blood and that I was so calm. I forget that sitting around doing this doesn't make sense to most people. Even when I sent my syllabus for approval, I had been told that there is a first aid kit in every studio, so I didn't need to have bandages on my tool kit list for students. But that's not why I always keep one or two in my kit!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There and back

I overloaded my schedule and melted down last weekend but am back from the dark places, had a lovely couple of train rides up the Hudson, got my nails done in between, and am now holed up on a military base that used to be like a cage but now is a good temporary refuge. Internet is spotty, which is for the best, and I'm trying to limit my work hours in honor of spring break. Good news on a few fronts but for now I'm going to lay down with a book, which can be the best sort of news from a busy bee.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Starting transit again

[Two knit books, ready to ship east.] Velma made me realize that the Morgan has their classes for this season online and I am lucky to get to return to teach a fiber art into book art class on May 14-15. I'm about wrapped up after mid-term meetings with my students and ready to fly tomorrow, back to NYC for a screening that includes my hanji video. And so spring break begins!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mistakes that locals don't make

[I can't help it. They're just too good. A spread from one of my students' books: she totally GETS letterpress and the magical qualities of having full control of your type.] It took the whole morning for me to grade books today, and then I hauled myself outside to run a couple errands, only to come home and realize that the Eva Hesse show in Berkeley was going to end soonish, so that I had better go TODAY instead of wait until I return from spring break.

I was foolish about how much fuel my body actually had, and overshot physically: a long walk to the BART, another walk, and I was very very faint in the galleries. I was disappointed. It wasn't a lot of work, and it was displayed in ways that made no sense to me. The intimacy of work made in the studio and left there after premature death was lost. But at least it's done. I was also foolish about the sun and all the sweating I expected to do with all the walking, and ran out without a jacket. I remember about 12 years ago, I had an informational interview with a guy who ran an arts non-profit in the Bay and he talked about the weather and how it pretty much hovered around 60 degrees and you always had to wear a light jacket. I had listened so well until today! But I take it to heart now and am trying to warm up with tea, in my puffy coat.

Total satisfaction

I do my best not to show student work here but I couldn't help myself (they're covers and piles and blurry, on purpose). Today was the deadline for the second big individual project. I set the bar sky high and my students delivered. It took everything I had left at the end of the day to bundle them up and carry them home in the rain, but it's so nice to be able to spend time with them for a day while I grade. They each had to make an edition of five books, done mostly with letterpress techniques. I had hoped to go out to see art tomorrow, but the rain will keep me inside, and now I have plenty of art to keep me company.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Surfacing again

I think I do book and paper art partly because some of it is so neat and orderly and I wish everything could be neat and orderly even though I know it never will be. I just saw Ben off at the airport this morning after a reunion weekend in SF. He was able to make a campus visit to Stanford while I taught a book making workshop on Saturday afternoon for my housemate and her friends/family in celebration of her birthday. That was a lot of fun, teaching interested adults. They applauded every demo. No joke! I felt like a magician or something. It's nice to feel that way from time to time, especially since my college students are stressed to the hilt with midterms. Plus, there was so much yummy food to eat: my housemate is an amazing host and always has a beautiful spread for events at home.

I just saw a proof of an article I wrote for the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild and it looks great. I'm also getting more organized around my hanji book, so I'm hoping to push that along during spring break. Tonight I get to see Shara, which will be great, since she's so loving and positive. That's exactly what I need for tomorrow's critique and Thursday's midterm evaluations. For now, a nap is in order.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Yesterday I visited Artfibers and they let me knit this tiny swatch of nylon paper yarn. The papermaker in me had a very hard time with this idea. Nylon paper?? No such thing. But it was a lovely place and the people were nice and I got to show Carl some of my old and new books in the meantime. He took me to his favorite copy shop so I could run off copies of a new zine after a scrumptious Japanese lunch. I got another kick in the ass re: my hanji book and have been working on that, though I took a break today to walk around Lake Merritt. I ran errands after that so I walked over five miles today but easily ate it away b/c I couldn't stop inhaling the chicken soup and rice that I made last night. Hopefully tonight I will stop eating long enough to continue work, but after a run to the Korean market, I wonder if I will ever stop shoveling food into my mouth.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hazy days in a hazy mind

I should have turned on the vents. I think I got slight solvent poisoning today after a good morning of setting and printing the key for my students' class project. I haven't used rule in forever so I'm glad it worked out. I never go to school on Saturdays so it was interesting today: quiet, but not as quiet as Sundays. It's funny how people hold to the rise and fall of the week and the weekends.

After a tiny nap, I rushed down to get overpriced groceries so to avoid the rain and sunset. I treated myself to cheesecake in an effort to motivate myself to WORK the way I need to this weekend, on writing.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Everything begins again

I feel suddenly like I've been hit by that wave of air that comes after a huge truck whizzes by. Only I don't get to lay down in the grass and zone out for a while like I think would be good for me. This is my first long free weekend w/o travel and I am terrified b/c so much work lies ahead! So I am trying to go one step at a time. Today is laundry and petty details. Tomorrow or Sunday will be setting type and printing the key/legend to the class project I assigned to my students: they turned in beautiful work yesterday but I realized I never made them a diagram to show them how the exquisite corpse fits together. I considered designing something on the computer and printing it out but I knew there was no way I could do that in good conscience. Teaching by example means that I have to print it on a Vandercook, just like I made them, and my TA, do. But I actually am looking forward to the challenge. I haven't had to use rule in a while!

Meanwhile, I am getting all these emails for the Korean American Film Festival New York that my hanji video is screening in. I'll be there for the second screening for the Shorts 2 Program on Saturday, March 19, 8pm at Chelsea Clearview Cinema. I can't make the first screening on Friday since I'll be enroute from California but I'm doing what I can. If you aren't local, you can just kick back with popcorn and watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Now I am off to the gargantuan task of making my bed. With the weight of the deployment stress gone, it's like when you finally get a chance to rest after working like a dog and realize how tired you actually are. My mind is so scattered, and I feel I haven't said a thing I've intended to on this blog for the last how many months. Because I get onto the computer and all I can say is that it takes a lot of energy to make this bed. And if I'm really smart, I'll lay down on it and take a nap.

Stateside, relieved

This is the label that my TA made for our class project. I woke up at 6am, so excited to see what everyone would hand in. My students ended up being so fast when I taught today's workshop that I had an hour left, so I taught them how to cut down paper by hand with a paper knife, a few pop-ups, and then let them work on their upcoming project.

I was antsy all day since I knew Ben was flying home. They routed him through a different European country, so I was relieved that he wasn't laying over in Germany, and got the call an hour ago: he's home! The deployment is OVER.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Hitting the reset button

[A new/old book: I made it a couple weeks ago but it's the cousin of one I made last fall.] I think I slept 9 hours last night and never got up once. I don't think I've done that since I moved to California, so it was a blessing. I'm still jetlagged, which I find so strange b/c I wasn't back east for very long, but that's that. I've finally restocked food at home so I can feed myself, and cleaned, and am trying to reorganize my surroundings and my head so I can ride through the next two weeks before I fly back to NYC again. AGAIN! I can't believe it myself, but one of my hanji videos will be in a film festival, so it would only be polite to show my face, and I'll have to be east anyhow to see Ben (still enroute, but after today's Frankfurt shooting, I won't believe he's safe until he's here).

The good news is that I flew back, got a ride and lovely dinner with a new friend, and then had another marathon letterpressing class where my students surprised me with how quickly they're picking up techniques. I love seeing them stretch and push themselves and am excited to see their individual projects as well as tomorrow's set of finalized class projects.