Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New exhibit in Oberlin

I'm so glad that this last chunk of wall is hanging for more people to see, after laying on my living room floor for 8 months. Here is the info on the exhibit that is open now, with a reception and artist talk next Friday.
It was really remarkable to go to Kendal yesterday morning, thinking that I would have all this work to do to hang the show, and then see at least five residents on the hanging team taking care of it all! I was obviously working with pros.
All I really needed to do was hang the bricks (and shore it up with a big nail in the middle. I have no idea if it will hold but I'll find out when I go back next week for the talk). By the time I had packed away my packing materials and gotten my coat on to leave, I had not even been there for an hour.
Once I got home, I found out that we had our first sale, and today there were four more. My pricing scheme (bargain basement) is working, but that's only possible because there is zero commission. This is the best way to start out the year, after turbo teaching!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Last day came too fast

The end came hurtling and I felt guilty as I stopped my students to transport cases downstairs and clean up their stations. They put samples of their lovely and accomplished work on display right as you enter the main library. Here are Jones and Margaret.
 Jana and Shosh
 Sarah Rose's work at forefront, Will's to the left
[by Jana] I was most impressed by the care they put into their thank you cards: I tasked them with homework for the first time, to each make a card for a different department that supported the class (I made one, too, because we had at least nine cards to send). More than half the class made books as cards, with the thank you note spread across pages or tucked away.
[by Shosh] Can you believe the generosity, sharing paper samples and taking the time to cover with boards of pulp-painted handmade paper?
[by Sarah Rose] This one, scented with the lavender blossoms embedded into the fiber.
[by Margaret] Simple and elegant. I talked to a professor in Seoul last fall about the importance of challenging students and seeing how they rise to the challenge. It has been a pleasure to witness that this month. Visit if you can: the show is up until Feb 16 on the main level of Mudd Library. Tomorrow, I install my own show that opens on Feb 6 at Kendal Gallery and delivered the art this afternoon in the middle of a bagpipe performance.

Also, a blog post based on an interview I gave a couple of weekends ago: a glimpse into my home studio!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

An old schedule

They have been working so hard making books for the past week. A LOT OF BOOKS. I keep forgetting that I can't just hoist five billion structures on novices all at once, but I hope someday soon to remember this and take my time. Next Monday is our last class, and we'll install the exhibit at the library—I'll try to shoot their books, because there are some real treasures.
In the meantime, I've been squeezing in a tiny bit of making on the weekends when I'm home for a moment. Instead of just holding onto this precious piece of Paper Nao paper (the base sheet, with indigo washes you can no longer see because I crumpled up the sheet), I used it. Along with other goodies, all recycled.
I have to pack up 54 pieces to deliver to Oberlin on Monday after class and agreed to help hang on Tuesday, mostly because I'm throwing in a chunk of brick wall. It's a complete bear to rig, and it's not nice to make someone else do it. I am also attempting my old writing schedule, except in the making department: two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening. Harder than I thought because of the distractinos, but it feels good to work like this again.

Monday, January 19, 2015

So long, paper studio

Friday was our last wet day. Some students really took to suminagashi, which was exactly the kind of activity we needed at the close of two intense papermaking weeks.
They packed the entire paper mill into the gladiator (the van behind them)! I felt scattered all day trying to let them make paper but also cleaning, drying, and removing everything that wasn't being used. Steph drove the van both ways and luckily Mason was still at the Morgan when we arrived, so unloading wasn't as bad as I feared. I loaded the drybox, Steph hung felts and pellons, and I tried to be a mostly normal human being over the weekend (aside from returning to unload the drybox and store dry felts and pellons, while picking up art for my upcoming show).

This month, I've been unable to find tools, which is very unlike me and therefore infuriating and worrisome. But tonight, I found the first of the bunch and the most important—woodblock carving tools—in a random bin at home. I can't wait until I get some real down time next month to organize my life all over again.

Tomorrow we begin to look at and make books!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Teach and be taught

Long day today in two different locations: the library, where the letterpress studio is set up, and our studio, where we did suminagashi (above) and paste papers AND papermaking.
This is the fun part, where my students (who have been making paper for a week and a half) teach the printing students how to make paper! It's always so nice to sit back and let them run with all that they have learned in such a short amount of time. I literally found a bench in the locker room and laid down for a bit.
Paste papers drying. There were some collaborations, even, and everyone made nicer sheets than my demo.
This was the very busy table.
They marbled in the morning and I felt badly that I had so much unloading work and prep work that I wasn't able to help Ed with this piece of the class. He handled a big group admirably. Tomorrow is the final papermaking day (next week is all books!) and there is a mix of students who begged to stay late and come early tomorrow. The van arrives in the afternoon and the magical studio goes away. It's hard to do this and hopefully someday soon, this space will become a dedicated studio with equipment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Funny littles

The needlepoint over my new bed at Oberlin. I still haven't slept there: tonight, I had to rush back to Cleveland to pick up a few last-minute things for class (they used almost every last bit of pulp so here goes plan B!). For three mornings in a row, I've been getting to class an hour early to unload and reload the drybox—more paper made than fits capacity.
The frantic race to the drybox. Meanwhile, here is a link to the blog of a Korean who includes some of my old paper/performance work. If you scroll down, there are stills from the documentary about hanji where I am featured (including shots from the Morgan that I took over a few years). I find it interesting that these people followed me all over Korea and Japan and called me incessantly, but now that the program aired on TV, nary a peep after my request to view it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


They're making too much paper! At least, too much for the poor little dryboxes.
They also very much enjoy pulp painting and are much better than I was when I first began.
This is one of two tall tables (on risers). I am always surprised by how much beginners like white cotton. I kept trying to sell the unbleached abaca and it was slow going but by the end of today, it was all gone (partly because I had pigmented some of it green).
The last bit of milkweed silk paper. This was also a fast sell!
They're getting good at figuring out when to do eastern and when to do western formation.
Today was the last bit of beating on the last bit of kozo. They may very well get through most of the fiber tomorrow, but I asked them to leave a little for the letterpress class when those students come to visit on Thursday. I imagine they will become enamored of marbling and paste papers and decoration, so even if we have very little fiber left on Friday, they'll have plenty to stay occupied.

I was so happy to pick up art supplies right in town at Ginko Gallery & Studio; owner Liz was so warm and talked about how much she loves making Japanese paper (and carries some, from Paper Connection!). I moved again (from one room to another in this house at Oberlin) and dinner is in the oven. I'm short on sleep for two nights in a row and hoping tonight is when I catch up!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The slightest pause

Overflow chiri sheets were dried on a table in the sauna (well, it's a shower space but it feels like a sauna with a huge overhead radiator on the ceiling).
Seating is limited so we use this bench for various things: cooking fibers, making cord, and so on. They were all really much better at this than I could have imagined!
Bark lace, always fun. I spent the weekend in Cleveland trying desperately to catch up. I am not close to being caught up, but I did enjoy the time back home, attempting to sort through my booty from Japan and Korea. Two pieces are on the wall and a lot of gifts have gone out. So that's a good sign. I got to see good friends and visit homes that I love and watch a beautiful dog inspect my jiseung pieces. I did very little admin but I took out trash and recycling and did a big purge of clothing for the new year. Tomorrow I get up very early to pick up cotton and abaca and other goodies from the Morgan to transport to Oberlin as we begin western papermaking.

Oh, and Lauren did a nice post about hanji for Paper Connection here!

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Today was the class' field trip to Cleveland. The Morgan first, and then Zygote. Here is Liz doing her fabulous tour/demo.
Amazing how much you can do with just two dyes/colors. We also loaded a BIG pile of milkweed silks into the beater and I was pretty astounded by how much we had. It was SO MUCH, mostly because the most amazing Jane Hammond (she's the textile conservator at ICA) already harvested pods and MOSTLY de-seeded what looked like well over 100 pods.
The first batches of paper.
They seem perfectly fine working in this steamy shower room. But there was a valve leak somewhere close and tomorrow the water will be shut off for a while...we'll figure something out, I'm sure.
Inclusions! Always fun. Meanwhile, I am not really hanging in there all that well during this neverending illness. But it was great to see a bunch of printing friends at Zygote and to catch up, feel like maybe I am part of a community.

Here is an article about me and hanji in the Korea Times. Still trying to get my hands on the documentary on hanji that features me, which aired in Korea last week.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New papermakers

Day 1: Scrape one pound of Morgan kozo. Four righty knives and one lefty knife and I have a lefty student! I was so very happy about this.
Jane, the textile conservator / amazing milkweed harvester, shared a bunch of milkweed silks in various stages—clean, mostly clean with some seeds, still in pods, and even a few stalks she grabbed just an hour before I picked up the booty on Sunday. I had harvested pods from the Morgan lot in September and froze them. Here they are now, being opened and de-seeded.
Beating Thai kozo. I always, always forget how quickly this gets processed when you have many hands.
Day 2: Sheet formation! Pressing, drying, and cooking Morgan kozo and chiri on the side. This is one of the tall people tables, on risers made of PVC piping.
The shower area is still so very hot and muggy. But they don't seem to mind. I was able to provide cooler vats by putting the beaten kozo in my trunk last night to slightly freeze. Tomorrow we'll make Morgan kozo paper, chiri paper (both hand beaten and naginata processed), and maybe cook the milkweed silks. There are more in my freezer but I'm too tired to finish the batch; time to lay down and rest the back.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Hanging by a tissue

[I had asked my hanji teacher, as well as a few other people who make hanji, about the rippling on my bal, and they all had similar answers: a damp screen hung with just a tug or light weight, left to dry. Repeat as necessary. This is my hanji teacher's setup, with a bottle of water hanging from the bottom clip for a bit of weight.]

I am down again with a cold, hopefully not as bad as the one I had in Korea last month, and disappointed that I am sick right on the heels of the last illness. Very unlike me, though in the grand scheme of things not surprising. I moved a paper mill yesterday from Cleveland to Oberlin and move to Oberlin tomorrow to teach a month-long intensive course, and open a solo exhibit on the heels of that. I keep dreaming of residencies as artwork goes untouched, so I want to share this new one in Nevada: Montello Foundation. My photographer founded it and it has just opened its doors for new residents. Apply by Feb 15!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Aloft for now

LIFE from elizabeth ross

I haven't seen my dear fellow wandering friend and artist Elizabeth for a while, but can sense her through the video she made and shared. When I was little, my dad bought my sister and me a book all about bubbles, with equipment to make our own, and explanations on how they worked. I always loved the idea of making big ones but never made them.

Here are the latest pictures of my new jiseung work (click on the image to forward through the rest, or scroll to the bottom of this page).

I started out the new year with qigong and yoga and breathing and meditation, plus two delicious shared meals with my sweetheart. It's strange to be back and a bit jolting in the sharp cold and bright winter sun, but there's no time to hesitate. This life is indeed brief and wondrous.