Saturday, December 31, 2011

Candy says goodbye to 2011

I had a wonderful shoot yesterday with Stefan, the best photographer ever. After ending this year with grueling months dealing with horrific service from the service sector, I was grateful to spend a morning with someone who knows his stuff, is highly skilled, and is a good human being who knows how to communicate professionally. It was so satisfying to watch him sit at the table, twisting each of the lids on these funny baskets (that he called candy), making sure everything was just so.

Though I haven't been able to stop complaining about this year, the graceful gesture would be to pause and recall the good in all the muck. I lived on two coasts, tried on academic teaching, taught nine workshops (one across the border in Canada!), presented live in two museums, visited Cleveland twice (oh, how I love those trips), placed artists' books in new collections, was honored by my alma mater, drafted my book, studied a new technique, and made art without a studio. I survived living with a naughty rescue dog in one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., surgery, car rentals, and the arc of a relationship that went from a war deployment to long distance to cohabitation to dissolution. I made delicious pizza, cupcakes, arugula salads, and chocolate pancakes. I managed to book myself well into late 2012 with more adventures. Most importantly, I made and strengthened friendships with people I love dearly, who have been the key to keeping me afloat this year. And probably all years.

I suppose if this is the worst year I've had a long time, in some ways I am blessed. Thanks for journeying along!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hanging in there

I've been having an awful time lately battling demons but am going through work to choose pieces to bring to my photographer tomorrow to shoot. None of these prints will go, since at this point, I consider them all proofs. I never editioned this piece. I only figured out on the last day of class that I could eliminate the background entirely and make my life easier. I printed these on dry paper, hanji I made from Thai kozo in Cleveland.

This is on low-grade washi, easy to print on. I had tried to shade on top in the background w/a brush that was for green paint, only to find that someone had used red paint and not rinsed it off.

Here, I shaded the bottom of the background but the darker green paint was clumping so it's mottled.

This is on hanji by a Korean master. Nice results but very hard to print onto b/c it flops over when damp and registration goes crazy. By this week in the process, I was very sad when a piece of the background block chipped off and left a blank spot right between the legs at the crotch.

The same passes, only on washi. If you want a proof (they're all different and quite imperfect), let me know and I will give you an address to mail an SASE.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Still blank

I want to carve and carve but haven't figured out what this one will be yet. But I have made a few more pieces this week and even got messy and stinky with kaki today. Anytime I get to wear a work apron is a good day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

For later

I hope that someday, I learn to appreciate the 'holiday season' at the ends of years. I still find it to be full of unwanted distractions and work/flow delays. This season was better in some regards and dreadful in others, but I did learn something while exercising to a talk radio show on Christmas (unwittingly--someone else had turned on the radio. I don't turn on radios this time of year): people go through all the trouble of cooking and decorating and traveling to people's homes to try and stave off the cold and depression of the dark days. THAT made sense to me. The rest of it is where less savory forces got us off track.

I also realized that though writing made me crazy, it provided some serious stability and good practice in wrestling with my mind. Now that I'm in between edits, I feel even crazier than before. Funny how I miss the medicine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I've been very moody lately, and bored in that "I have tons of work to do but don't want to do it and have a good excuse not to since it's that time of year" way. So I ran out today to nail down some elusive gifts for family. I ended up splurging at Habu, which can't be helped. Especially the big hank of paper yarn I had used years ago, but this time dyed a deep indigo. I figured that I would be nowhere near an indigo vat for a while, so that justified the purchase. Thanks to Velma for reminding me about their annual sale!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Party in my brain

My first draft is out of my hands now, off to two trusted readers. I am SO happy to have that ball out of my court for the time being. Now I feel like there is so much other stuff to do OR a lot of free time for my brain. This, being the essential struggle between discipline and laziness. To avoid one large administrative hurdle today, I baked corn muffins. But I'll still get everything else done I need today. I'll just be full of several muffins more than if I had not procrastinated.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wrapping up

I've been sick for a while, but in a weird kind of way where I wasn't quite sure what I was. Not sick, but not well. Hopefully, once the latest infection dies down (on my eye! My eye!), I will get back to a regular routine on Monday. I managed to drag myself to my final printmaking class on Thursday, which was sad, b/c I really enjoyed taking the class. I highly recommend Takuji as a teacher, and it's not just because he didn't yell at us (one of my classmates mentioned this, and I thought it was funny, since I rarely take classes with teachers who yell). He knows his craft in and out, has been an active artist for years (he got a NYFA fellowship this year, which is a big deal!), and is great at explaining and demonstrating things to both groups and individuals. He's quite perceptive and skilled at making the rounds when we work and catching us before we make enormous mistakes. Or, watching us make a big mistake and then asking us why we did what we did (usually, because we weren't listening to him).

I'll pick up the last of my prints next week and then curate them. Hopefully there will be one or two decent ones. And hopefully I will now have the energy to push through and finish my last batch of edits before holiday mania swallows my desire to work.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's not getting any faster

Edits are one thing that I cannot speed up, no matter how hard I try. After lots of out-and-about distractions necessitated by holiday season, I'm on page 164. 60 pages to go!

Monday, December 05, 2011

A myriad of full

[Another piece made last year sacrificed to yarn to knit. Feels good to recycle.] Today was big, the kind of day I used to have more often, maybe, but now more rare. I forget how much I have pulled away from the world over the years. I decided a few weeks ago to take my friend Caron (we met last year at a residency) to a Hand Papermaking party at Dieu Donne. We spent a few hours at her beautiful new home in Brooklyn first, catching up and looking at exciting things like proofs for her new book. Then we went to the party, and I was so happy to bring her to a real paper mill. They even had a vat and pulp paint ready to play with, so she did that while I caught up with old friends and acquaintances and met people I've only known by name, including famous paper people, and ate red velvet cupcakes. There were even cans of Moxie for people to take home! I don't drink soda and my bag was too heavy already so I did not partake but the idea was brilliant.

It was wonderful. All communities have their quirks, but I like paper people. They're good with hugs. After the party, I brought Caron to the printshop so I could pick up my prints and woodblocks, and showed her my print in the show that is up there for the month of December. I thought I'd go home after that, but ended up meeting my sister and her husband and his Swedish friends for a late Korean dinner. I haven't done a lick of edits today but am plenty energized to tackle them tomorrow.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


I thought I could edit all these pages by tomorrow, which I told Velma yesterday. If I stuck to it for hours and hours, maybe, but instead, I started carving late at night.

I get sidetracked so easily. It's just too fun, making things.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Not attracted to the treadmill

Or my manuscript. Both editing and exercising were left out of today's equation. Not intentionally from the start, but as I started doing other things, that's what happened.

The banana was for scale; the closest thing around was a fruit bowl. I'm putting it away before I'm tempted to knit away a day like I did yesterday.

Terttu said she wanted one of my paper necklaces but I only had half of one and half of another. Then I figured out I could combine.

I was half-heartedly practicing shading and forgot I was supposed to be testing my new homemade baren until I cleaned up. I fooled around on textured hanji and on scrap calligraphy paper. Last night after class, I forgot to bring my blocks home because I wanted to carve more this weekend. This was because I was brain dead and tired from all the printing.

And then I made a full panel comic on the rest of the textured hanji using the prints. That was fun, and well worth everything I didn't do today. Maybe my body is sensing that I want to have more artwork with the "2011" label and that's why it's all pumping out now. I'm not complaining; it just means I have to schedule a photo shoot soon.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Pattern changes

I feel the slowing down coming in my body, the move towards warmth and no sudden movements. I'm eating ripe persimmons with a spoon, using the fruit itself as a bowl (with very thin walls). Because I refuse to even attempt to edit 230 pages on the computer and haven't been able to make it to a copy shop, I'm doing other things. Like hanging four pieces, having white hot chocolate with Terttu, and feeling very proud of my little sister, who is editing a documentary (about corporations that don't pay taxes) that made it into competition at Sundance! This January will be her third trip there, second consecutive. While dreaming of snow powder, I'm also thinking about performance installation options for a California collaboration for next year. Which, I think, is going to be a very full year.