Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swing back to center or thereabouts

I didn't realize until well into my second day at the Morgan that they had indeed printed a banner for the hanji studio.

Margaret and Cameron with bricks and monofilament. This job is SO much easier when other ready hands do it for you!

Thick old Thai kozo. Very helpful for class, even though it took at least five hours to cook to this state.

A wee wall. Things are calming down after they came to a head on Friday. I'm trying to make the space workable. Yesterday was an outing to Syracuse, though I find it sad that getting away from nicotine interiors means spending time inside of cars and malls and other artificial environments. I'm taking apart my old kozo halter from 2006. It took a long time to finally throw in the towel. It will provide lots of paper yarn for the next project. I have assigned myself two books, packed for NYC next weekend to some extent, and am determined to get back to working health rather than panic / depression / despair mode. The hand work will help.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Added pressure

This was from one of the final projects. I love that she reused a word that I had assigned her early on in the semester; it's like she brought everything full circle. I can't believe how tired and verge of sick that I feel--all semester I felt I was somehow skirting fate by staying relatively healthy but wow! It's a profound fatigue. Today was my final trip to campus, and a tricky commute: a walk to the bus stop with 1. comforter loaned by my boss, 2. heavy box of books on my back to ship, 3. heavy box of books on my shoulder to ship, and 4. heavy banker's box of final projects to return to students. I rode two stops to walk to the post office, ship, redistribute weight, walk to another bus stop, and ride to school. There was a heinous sound destroying any semblance of calm b/c massive tree surgery was underway, which was disturbing. I hate seeing men in chainsaws with enormous pieces of trunks. But I managed to make labels for two books, pack up the rest of my things, deposit student work into individual drawers, bid farewell to the studio manager with a gift and last-minute binding lesson, and return all of my keys. Then I visited Moya for a final chat in the library.

The heat has not been fun, but I lazed out, read in bed, and felt generally too tired to do anything until it was time to meet Patsy and her brother and nephew. She was in my Seattle workshop a few weeks back and happened to be flying into Oakland this afternoon, so we had a great time over sushi, pizza, and ice cream. Really! All three. And I was full after the first stop! We talked a lot about Korean culture, marketing, goals, weaknesses, and then my role as hanji ambassador. It reminded me of so many things that I had learned and encountered in Korea, and made me so thankful for all of "the elders" and generations before me. At our last stop, Patsy's brother put his hand on my shoulder and pressed down, to make real the weight that I was carrying, which had only gotten heavier over the night. A real burden of responsibility. But better me, since I hate when people don't take responsibility, right? So I'm taking the first step of taking care of my body: to sleep!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Final class!

I felt like it was forever in coming but then suddenly pounced on me. Even on my way to school today I didn't know if it was real that today would be the last day I'd teach this group of women and see them together and talk with my TA and so on. The final projects are in a box lined with newsprint, in a laundry hamper, in the living room, awaiting grading. There is a LOT to get through, and I am so pleased with the growth that I've seen over the semester. They've gotten quite skilled in critique, too, which is so gratifying, b/c that was a top top goal for me from the moment I was hired: learning how to participate in engaged and positive feedback. I hardly needed to talk b/c they are picking up on seeing things they never would have noticed a few months back, and articulating questions, opinions, and suggestions with ease.

We did half of the session, and then had a break. I noticed that no one wanted to come back into the classroom from the courtyard, so I moved the rest of the crit to the lawn and we were able to have a final circle together. I was only sorry to have been so scattered and taking care of random things to have missed farewells and hugs, but got some good ones. Of the students who will return next year, at least half will go on to take more book art classes! Yay. And this picture? I didn't take it, nor did I so carefully arrange all of the final projects for me to pack up and take home. I have some great students!

My roommate was kind enough to pick me up from school since I cleaned out my office in preparation for complicated shipping detail. There are three groups: one that flies with me, one that ships to downstate NY, and one that ships to upstate NY (all groups will scatter further upon arrival). This will take much longer than I expected, but I won't deal with it (or grades) until tomorrow. Especially after a lovely final roommate dinner on the Berkeley Marina just in time to see the sun set.