Saturday, January 30, 2016

First chapter closed

Our class wrapped up on Wednesday, getting the cases downstairs from the 4th to 1st floor and arranging the goodies to display.
There was one less case than usual, so we had to squeeze three, three, and two.
I forget that students don't know what it takes to put up a show, so I should build this into the syllabus more mindfully. The cases at this point are locked, but smudges need to be removed. Tags are marked but need to be printed for the final.

Ingrid stayed way past the end of class to finish up her solar system: samples of all the paper she had made/decorated over the course!
It's hard to see here, but each planet sits off the page by about half an inch.

This year, we also get to exhibit with the letterpress class! I like that we have walls this time; it confronts visitors more and hopefully they spend more time with the work.
After class each night, I was weaving like a maniac. My eyes and hands and the rest of my body bore the brunt. This is the last tiny one I started the day after I returned home.
Like the ducks, it helps to try miniature versions to get a better feel for how to shape things.
The big loafer was finished the Wed night, the tiny one the following night.
After a full Friday of errands, meetings, catching up, and excellent time with friends, I dunked the mini into the indigo vat today. It got an extra coat of kakishibu and is drying now. Everything has to ship next week for my show in NYC, eeks! Tomorrow will be a long day of inventory and packing, but it will be good to get my art off to its next adventure.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reaching another end

[One is missing because I sent her to return materials to the library and the van left before she returned.] After packing up the paper studio into the Gladiator again to drive back to the Morgan on Tuesday, my students began the book adventure.
They sprawled out almost immediately in the Special Collections classroom in the library and set off to complete 15 or more structures. I did build in a couple more days this year so that the pace was not as hectic as past years.
They also viewed books and objects in Special Collections (in the foreground are blocks for the late Paul Arnold's prints called Ethnic Cleansing, which we think were printed during the war in Bosnia). The prints are in the box, and there is even an accompanying video where he talked about making the two prints. The next day, they visited the art library to see a big selection of artists' books, which is always fun. Kind of like visiting with old friends!
This student had to leave early for her semester abroad, but left behind a sampling of books and papers to display in the two exhibits scheduled for next week and in the spring.
Her namesake and friend sitting directly across from her left her station nicely organized. I like that she used her pulp painted milkweed paper for covers (the circles on yellow in the top left section). I am still so attached to milkweed fluff paper that I would have hoarded it for a while longer.
I've been slow in getting this shoe off the ground but it's further along than this sole that I finished a few nights ago. I only about an hour ago realized how close I am to show deadlines, so I need to scurry off and finish this in time to ship to NYC for photography, and then to the gallery for the show. February really snuck up on me this time.

p.s. - Ed Vermue, the Oberlin special collections librarian, told me about this water filter made of paper!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Snowy holiday

The first three ducks of the year. Now they are all coated in methylcellulose and ready to be out in the world. But they're staying in for now; too cold and snowy!
The shoe has begun. I have lots of ideas for how to do this one differently from the last. Let's hope at least the sole comes out better. It's tricky when I space them years apart—easy to forget the mistakes and re-live them!
Today was a flurry of activity, trying to plan two shows and catch up on other old work. I didn't get the big app done (yet) but at least sketched out the idea of how to show the process of weaving something for my NYC show. A new interview about my work is online here—an Australian site!

Tomorrow, my students begin the adventure into making books. My car is loaded with samples and supplies and I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to gather more things before making the trip back to campus.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Closing up shop for now

Another year, another final papermaking day! I had forgotten about my stray pigments and remembered as my students pulled their faces at the prospect of more white cotton. I don't like this green out of the bottle but they were delighted.
Third and last day of marbling, so much more than the other years!
And as a final hurrah, I had the cattail seed heads that accidentally got cooked with the leaves taken apart by two intrepid students. The paper was a bit chunky and I mixed kozo into it, but you still got a nice sense of the tiny seeds with their hairs intact.
Finally messy activity for the wet studio: waxing.
Naomi had given me the last of her soy wax at Haystack last year, and I decided to try it in a makeshift double boiler. Some students were very taken. Others did one and were done. After they left, I set up for one last demo for a group of the latest Shansi Fellows, exceptional Oberlin students who will teach English in various parts of Asia after they graduate. Next week, we'll pack the studio into the van and start making books!
In the meantime, a tiny green duck was born two nights ago as my "break" after the big one. And my TV segment is now online! It's the first story after the intro, and I'm grateful to Dennis Knowles, who produced it so well. He and two cameramen took the time to come multiple times to visit me and get the whole story behind the hanji ducks. It's always a joy and privilege to work with excellent professionals. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Approaching an empty vat

Every day, new piles of paper emerge.
Yesterday, Ed came to introduce marbling. BIG HIT. Yesterday's papers were all decorated ones.
They enjoyed the suminagashi, too.
In the meantime, the first duck of the new year has been born! Unloading the drybox here.
Watching Anna marble
and Frank couch paper. Tomorrow is their last day making paper, already!
And even help clean snow off the car in the morning! Learn more about my hanji duck motivation on TV this week—Applause is featuring my work on Thurs at 7:30pm, Fri at 11pm, and Sat at 4pm for Ohio PBS viewers. Later, it will be available online to everyone outside the region. Also, details about my talk in Detroit on March 17 are online at Signal-Return's website. I know I need to prep for all of my upcoming events, but it's so tempting to sit and weave into the night.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Take three: Week two

Western papermaking and pulp painting, go!
They used a LOT of pulp paint today.
Today's pulps (starting top left, counter clockwise): 2-hour unbleached abaca, blue pigmented cotton, white cotton, leftover light blue kozo, cattail, and milkweed fluff.
My concern is always: do we have enough pellons? Or too many? Since too many means too much paper for the drybox. Though bringing blotters today helped a TON in easing the burden off of the drybox.
The huge bin of stencils and random assorted things like a thong sewn to a piece of netting is full of all kinds of surprises. This one is always popular, the piece of fabric that gives this pattern. Today was fruitful, tomorrow will repeat today but with a lunchtime lecture for another group. Which means ... time to prep another slideshow!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Swept away

I was completely run over by class prep, teaching, field trips for my students, and trying to stay on top of the rest of my workload. My newest duck is coming VERY slowly but I need to speed up the pace, based on the newest set of frighteningly close deadlines for art delivery. Here is the show they will be in, in NYC.
Even though I knew it would be not good enough for 100% cattail sheets, I had my students take a go at it with hand beating.
And that's the chiri leftover from the white bark they scraped on the first day. The pulp is already exhausted.
Cattail mixed with kozo.
This year for the first time, my students are very taken by transfers and are drawing a lot with water soluble crayons. I've had this tin of crayons for ten years, but may have to replace it after this class!
These are the random flowers I found in the freezer that I cooked up for my students for their Cleveland field trip.
It amazes me how much fun you can have with just three dyes.
Sumi, flowers, kaki.
As their final it's Friday and everyone's tired activity, they did some joomchi.
After driving back to Cleveland for the second time (I really need to schedule this better for myself, a little too much back and forth in winter!), I wrangled their milkweed fluff in three beaterloads and cattail in another three. Strained it down into under 10 handfuls, balled tight. Charity beat the abaca and cotton for this week's western papermaking unit, and we got a tray of pulp paints ready to go. All the pulp is now in my car, which means it will be frozen tomorrow morning because temps went from springlike yesterday to a blizzard today. I was horrified to drive past a big wreck just a few miles from campus on my way in.
I've had sadly very little time to myself but did manage to re-read a great Jeff Peachey article on Vietnamese papermaking. His endnotes are fantastic. I had forgotten some of these tidbits. Hoping to stay afloat this week as we return to polar vortex weather—lots of gratitude for an overheated paper studio in the winter!