Saturday, March 30, 2013

The last pack of this coast

Still barely any sleep. In bed at night, my head is still almost bursting even though my eyes want nothing else but deep, long rest. Friday was full and even though it was yesterday, I hardly remember what happened because Saturday was also full and wonderful.
Friday, I tried to take the morning easy, mail some letters, do some admin. Then I started the big cleanup and tidying and display pieces for my living space because we were expecting a guest: Marci McDade of Surface Design Journal. After many years of email correspondence, it was fantastic to finally meet in person. I haven't had such a solid, grounded, present meeting in a long, long time. Lots of questions, stories, ideas, names, and connections made. She even shared a new way of posing for photos that someone had taught her. It feels foolish for the model but the image comes out fine, very natural looking.
After changing into my street clothes, I got a ride from Emily downtown to meet an old friend. We go back K-12, and sometimes I tell a story about her in my paper classes. She was the one in 11th grade English who showed me how she took a piece of copy paper and handled it so long that it was like tissue. It came from her own inherent creativity and boredom, and I loved it. That's the same magic I use with hanji today. I haven't seen her since she had her now 4-year-old son, so we had lots of catching up. Good thing, because I dragged her on a (slow) bus back to the show, and then back downtown on another (slow) bus. Then we did what frantic and hungry strangers to cities do: roam around, unable to find a place to eat until about 10pm when we were ravenous, complaining the whole time as New Yorkers are wont to do in cities where restaurants close early.
I saw this reaction she had to a piece not in the show (not enough wall space), and remembered that on my long trip back. I can't believe I went from St Johns to downtown Portland and back to St Johns, and back to downtown, and back to St Johns in one night. But I really wanted her to see the show.
Today was not as productive at first (a failed attempt to find new sneakers, which took 3 hours), but I managed to get back to 23 Sandy to look at a few more books. I wanted to roam the Saturday market but it was so mobbed that I skipped lunch. I was lucky that the gallery folks had two tacos for me when I got back, but I wasn't even able to eat them at first because more guests arrived right after me!
I finally met Ian, son of Velma. It was wonderful, and there were other people in the mix as we all walked down to have drinks and later dinner together (though I got Ian and me burgers from a food cart and he got our beverages because we were not interested in waiting to eat like the other ladies). Then we took a walk down to Cathedral Park, which was outrageously beautiful. We were completely bewitched by the fragrance of the blooms on a tree we were unable to name. I sold my last two books, started to pack, and still am hoping (as I have every single day since Tuesday) to make it to the Japanese garden before I fly back to NYC on Sunday night. I will savor this final night laying prone to sleep, because that flight will be a dreaded red-eye.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It always gets thicker at the end

There are so many spaces like this in Portland and I have no idea from the outside what is going on inside. Today was FULL, from running to catch the bus to a meeting at the contemporary craft museum downtown, to being in the gallery when I saw a woman lock her bike outside and walk inside: another artist and wonderfully warm and supportive guest. After logistics and admin and snacks, I napped for ten minutes before jumping up to catch the bus again, this time to visit 23 Sandy, which was all too wonderful. Of course I came away with something, a flexagon by Jessica, paper by Helen. I met Julie Johnson there and then we went away to a wonderful dinner in a house-turned-restaurant. SO MUCH to talk about; I love kindred spirits.
She was so kind as to drive me all the way back and got a peek at the show and a few goodies (like Velma's book), and quietly left a little bag of gifts for me before she left. I thought she was leaving things to teach with when I saw the pussy willow branches, but then opened the MOST WONDERFUL care package. Truly embodied the whole idea behind a care package. Violet leaves infused in vinegar, healing tea, and healing balm. I almost fell down in gratitude and surprise. Two days in a row with visits/meals/gifts from wonderful paper folks! Who have been reading and getting the book in ways that only paper people can.

[The career-y things seem less exciting in comparison but I will mention a review of my book that came out today and also that you can buy my book in New Hampshire!]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring sun

Last night, anxiety returned to erase sleep. I treated myself to a lovely treatment, which went pleasantly longer than I expected, so I skipped yoga and headed downtown for more exploring before coming back to meet with Jack. He had SO many gifts for me, plus books to show me (like the Dard Hunter one on Japanese, Korean, and Chinese papermaking) and a video of his own water-operated stamper and mill in Idaho, built with Jim Croft and friends. He gave me a woven lid, a piece of fig tree bark used to make amate in Mexico, a facsimile of holding a brush correctly, and lots of books he has published on various subjects he thought I would be interested in based on his experience of reading my book and seeing my show. Then we had a late lunch down the street that had a free jukebox. I was thinking about how few people might actually see my work or read my words but that the right people always come out of the woodwork, and the ONE person who gets it might be worth the whole trip. And I mean really gets it (though I have to admit that I am meeting another one tomorrow for dinner...).
It's hard to see the length on this bark thread (about the length of my legs), but they are so satisfying. I started to weave with them last night but then was not happy with how they were turning out so I will have to figure out a new plan. Instead of the nap that my bloodshot eyes so sorely needed, I made it to a gentle yoga class and now remember I need to mention things I keep forgetting while in transit!

1. For Korean readers, a story about my lecture in Berkeley earlier this month.
2. For Michigan folks, my princesses & peas print will be on view at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center very soon.
3. For those who like to buy art in auctions to support the book arts, Resilience is one of many fine pieces available to benefit the Center for Book Arts in NYC.
4. For Portlanders, my final event this trip will be a paper jewelry workshop this Saturday.

There's more, but that's all my head can handle before I put it down for the night. One last blessing from the sky today: sun instead of rain!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Plans: 75% success

I forgot to charge my phone so I wasn't able to leave as early as I wanted this morning, which was good because I was able to sort my bark threads by length, but which unexpectedly threw off my whole morning schedule. After a 2.5-hour detour, I made it to a salon to fix my trim for $11 (for those on the inside: the hairdresser was NOT Korean, but Vietnamese^^). I laughed because she was very upfront about why certain styles don't work on me "because of your cowlick." SO TRUE. I'll know tomorrow when I wash it out how successful my second Pacific NW haircut was.
I did a lot of meandering afterwards downtown, which included retail shops, food trucks, contemporary art places (I was mortified by a sheet of paper hung on the wall: it looked exactly like the kind of decorative paper you buy in a basic art supply store for $3/sheet, NOT made by the artist. I didn't read anything about the show so I'm not sure if there was some irony that was lost on me, and maybe it was part of the object laying on the floor near the wall), and then riding one bus back and forth three times as I realized I wouldn't get to the Japanese garden on time.
I DID get a lot of exercise, though I was grateful to find a map in a cafe where I saw a public library branch. I sat for about an hour and read zines (zines at the public library! So exciting), deeply satisfied by the luxury of sitting quietly and reading a whole range of stories. It has been a long time.
Then I had the treat of sharing dinner with Melissa of Cloth & Goods, who had so generously hosted me last week for my book signing. It was super comfortable to chill and learn more about her work and life and family. After an easy bus ride home, I'm back in the tangles of work, and amazed that in less than a week, I'll be back in New York!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The uncaged bird

I really dislike the whole feeling of taking pictures with my phone and can't wait to get my regular camera back in my hands. There is no way to be discreet. Anyhow, I made it out into the world today! I don't understand why the bus that goes downtown doesn't come back up but it was a breeze in the morning. I went to Powells, of course. And Oblation and a few other places in the general vicinity.
I walked by all these doors and stopped because though it is not beautifully rendered, I thought instantly of India. It was so nice to just wander, smell the donuts and see the lines for the donuts, and enjoy the quiet of Monday morning when businesses are barely waking up.
One major problem with phone cameras is that you can't see the screen in certain light (unlike traditional viewfinders). So I didn't realize I cut off the top word of this, which was Lee's. Lee's bees!
At the beautiful oasis known as the Chinese garden, daphne.
The nickname is too perfect: Drama Girl
She IS dramatic.
Lots of stone, different ways of seeing.
Banana. Not just good for papermaking but good in lieu of paper (those who could not afford or access paper but still wanted to study would write onto banana leaves. I loved the painting of exactly that in the Oberlin special collections). I enjoyed the correlations between fish and abundance, and between banana trees and self education.
Part of the Edgeworthia family! I wanted to make paper with this. Tetrapanax was there but I couldn't find it. The fragrances in this garden were heavenly, unreal.
One of many perfect views (framed to block out the ugly high rise that was behind).
They say the black stones are 10 degrees warmer than the white ones. Hardy folks on the tour went barefoot. I was not one of them but loved how the patterns changed in different parts of the garden.
Bamboo and a cut-out treat.
I delighted in this b/c I was born in this cycle: year of the snake.
Back near home, after plenty of wandering, sun, and good Thai food. I was very pleased with the easy walking, easy bus stop and schedule finding, easy pace. I got back in time to nap and take a super chill yoga class. It would have been perfect if I hadn't come back to see that the gorgeous flowers from the opening had become massive ant habitats. I already have a terrible aversion to ant colonies ever since I lived with them in Korea. But after a bunch of cringing, covering my hands with gloves and rushing the arrangements outside, running to the store for more ant traps, I showered, cooked, and calmed down. So I am happy again, especially since I have a new batch of bark thread I made last night, and Rachel did a sweet post for my book.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Whisked and back

Where I got to go, after the opening hubbub. The view from the place I stayed; coming down from it to see the water was even more spectacular. Plus passing the salmon spawning areas. And so on. No real way to take good images or reason to because it's the kind of thing that needs to just be drunk in, in the moment.
The wall with the most shelves in the show. It's like the whimsy wall, I think. I had a surprise visitor on Saturday, a conservator interested in my work and book, someone who also knew Asao!
To get a break and be alone for a bit, my hosts were so wise as to send me to a place for an affordable hour to soak in mineral water and get wrapped (and shower and sauna afterwards). Oh, the simple luxury of a bath. So necessary yet overlooked as an option while traveling! Though my Tacoma host did have a wonderful pink tub that I took two hot baths in, joyfully.
Lunch today was at a brewery. I wanted to keep eating and eating and eating. Have I mentioned how much I have been eating? I am not one to photograph my food, because I am so hungry by the time it arrives that all I want to do is get it in my belly. Dinner the night prior was at a huge spa/lodge place. We got to go outside to see the campfire and the stars while waiting to be seated.
I saw this from the car on the way up but we stopped on the way back so I could see it in person.
Before that, after lunch, I got a bit of exercise helping the wee one fly his fighter jet kite. Here's his dad attempting flight, though the wind was not so favorable.
Here's the rest of that waterfall and of course I didn't pay attention to the name. [update: Lisa reminded me: Multnomah Falls!], and we were too tired (pregnant host, dog just happy to be out of the car, 3 yo waiting in the car with father) to climb up to the bridge or to the top, but it's all pretty enough from the foot of the falls. Now I'm back to work and hoping I get to actually see Portland this week! It's bound to happen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Now that most of my show responsibilities have passed, it's time to get out of town: to the Columbia River Gorge!

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Portland week, hooray

Flowers (the arrangements were so lovely and now I get to live with them), dogs, children. All ready for an opening!
One little corner of the main gallery space. I had panicked last night in bed, wondering if all the work should have been hung off of the wall like the one in the corner. And then I was woken up early (before 7am) by a yoga class next door.
The vinyl always makes it look official. Of course I forgot to take pictures of it once it was all stuck up there!
Delicious spread; my first that included kumquats! I was all over those pre- and post-opening.
This refrigerator setup works well for most residencies, though I may come home 10 pounds heavier than when I left for the book tour. NOT joking.
New vinyl for the windows, too! And Jenn did a great job with the chalkboard/white board for the sidewalk. I only have one more event, the workshop in a week, before checking them all off of the West Coast list! Hoping for some calmer sleep tonight after at least ten events in six cities in three weeks. I know that's light for a book tour, but it's heavy for this sleepy one!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy timing

I'm learning to go with the flow; the speed of things in Portland is completely opposite my natural speed and what I usually expect. But with all these gaps in time, I get to process the recent adventures here, shop for yummy food, and even go to yoga (yay!) in the morning. I had this idea that I would lose weight on book tour but it isn't happening because my hosts have all been amazingly generous and constantly feed me. I'm not complaining!

Tomorrow night, show opening!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Slow install, big gratitude

I still haven't quite gotten enough rest, and might not until May, but have been slowly putting the show together, with lots of help from the good people and friends of c3:initiative.

Tonight was Cloth & Goods, wonderful.

All that above is about how well I am able to articulate myself these days. Outrageously tired. My hosts, so warm and generous, including tonight: Melissa created such a beautiful space and community and provided the perfect treats to eat and drink, and like so many of those who have been supporting what I do, did it with open arms, open heart. If you are in Portland, visit and enjoy. If I had my wits about me, I would have taken pictures, but I see why I should have brought my proper camera on this trip (the cell phone camera, eh). I got to meet a couple of papermakers, a photographer, a ceramic artist, a textiles artist, a collage artist, a carpenter, a museum administrator, and the list goes on. OF COURSE we all salivated over the Rowland Ricketts runner. I hope for indigo dreams.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quiet morning,

new friend! Hot tea, starting slowly.

The final West Coast city: Portland!

All hands on deck in Tacoma at APCC! This was a great classroom: lots of table space, lots of counter space, two sinks, and lots of windows. We covered a LOT in just a day an a half and the students were wonderful.
One of my youngest students, and one of the most diligent. She did a LOT of weaving. I was impressed with everyone, because they all finished their homework (cutting down and making 16 cords).
Patsy and the start of her basket. I had randomly chosen to wear green, but she did it consciously for the holiday.
We had tons of scraps left over from the Wing Luke event. Total abundance, if you know what you're doing (it's hanji! There are sooo many possibilities). After the workshop ended, I was able to visit quickly with Jessica and Chandler, which was all sorts of delightful even in my post-teaching stupor. I was amazed at how difficult it was for me to form sounds with my mouth and process everything. I'm glad they were still nice to me, even though I was blabbering.
I was sad to leave Patsy's cozy home and wondrous Korean mom/grandmom caretaking, but enjoyed the scenery on the train ride down to Portland. Shir Ly picked me up at the station, we dropped by Cloth & Goods to pick up extra books, and then headed to the wonder that is c3. This is one of the beautiful things that greeted me upon arrival.
I walked a bit to get something to eat and was sad to see this on the local bookstore windows. Though I was very happy with my food (and drink. I finally let myself indulge after many days of workworkwork).
Last night, I designed this new necklace. Patsy has the original; this is my copy. Very happy about having a new piece for the paper jewelry workshop next weekend!
The space is fantastic. I am so very delighted to be here and to start hanging my show. We rushed off to OCAC so I could set up and give my talk. It was another healthy crowd and I was glad to move a few more books and meet a student who had just given a presentation about me to a class, not realizing that I was coming to talk tonight. Tomorrow, I hope to sleep in. Or at least loll about in bed for a while before starting to work again.