Monday, February 29, 2016

Fly ducks

I was so frustrated by the color issues with my last blue and yellow duck that I did a quick dunk and go to make a couple mini ones.
They're wet here from methylcellulose but dried just fine. I did these on a Saturday that was bright and sunny, instead of going outside for a walk.
This new family will be split up very soon (part to a solo show in Cleveland, the rest to a hanji residency in Michigan).
The second flying duck had to get put aside for the last bitty ducks, but I broke my "no work on Sundays" rule last night so that I could finish up the wings a few minutes before midnight.
Then it got the last dregs of methylcellulose and dried overnight in the kitchen.
Whee!! This one is much trimmer than the last, but I love what I've learned in the process. It has been a great gift to have this intense time to make make make. Now my home studio has been turned upside down to prepare for this week's show install/opening, next week's NYC opening and teaching, and the following week's Michigan extravaganza. Solitary time has passed, and it's time to fly back into the world.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hanji show open in NYC

I forgot to say that yesterday, the hanji show that I am part of opened at Gallery Korea in NYC.
These are most of my 3D pieces.
And a display of the process of making hanji, with some actual materials that the Morgan and I loaned them.
On the left side, you can see a display of how a piece of hanji turns into a basket.
And I finally got her rigged for a better photo! I'm working on a counterpart now, halfway done with the body, then wings. I dyed some more cords blue to attempt a small blue duck after this one, but have a feeling that my teapot will not get very far before I get sucked into my show install and opening next week, lecturing at Oberlin, and packing for NYC. I'll miss these weaving frantically days when I got to stay inside and watch the snow outside.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A new fork

Last week, I went to an interesting ethics lecture on a boat that has been converted into a design firm.
I went with a friend and was so happy to see her again the next day to hike around in a nature preserve that was all muddy. My muck boots were perfect for the task, it was mild and sunny, and we had smoothies afterwards.
Late last week, I started this one. I had a plan for it at first that would make it mimic puppy posture, but realized that a bird doesn't do the same things that dogs do.
So I finally gave in and started wings! My first one. I just finished but it's still drying so I'll wait until I can rig it properly for a good shot. Now, contemplating the next weaving. This week, I started physical therapy at an amazing place with incredibly competent therapists, who have given me reasonable hope for recovery: the first people to assure me that last year's car accident won't keep me down forever. I am beside myself and making changes to help myself—computer ergonomics, weaving habits, and figuring out the tools to make or buy to help me do what I love for as long as I can.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mostly inside

The snow has been pretty, but it hasn't been really cold. I've been holed up at home for the most part trying to stay on the hamster wheel of applications and weaving.
The bundled strips are dyed (more like stained, since I didn't have the energy to mordant the paper) with leftover plant dyes. I've been feverishly making new cords to keep up with the weaving, but even the weaving isn't keeping up with itself given all I have to produce in the next two weeks or less.
This guy is very, very weirdly proportioned and I have to re-do the tail feathers because I foolishly dyed in dahlia, which is more on the orange side than yellow. Contemplating an indigo dunk, yellow watercolor or gouache, or scrounging around for onion dye. Finished another mini one today and am hoping to finish its mate tonight (I wish I could say I was making more shoes; here are the new pictures of the two that Stefan photographed). Back to work!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Colors for the coldest day

I knew I was being foolish when I proposed a 1-day dye class for the Morgan, because it meant that I would be spending more time on prep than actually teaching (though, really, when is that NOT the case?). The day before the class, I had four pots on the front stove, three pots on the back stove (all the way on the other side of the building, which feels like it's a short city block long), and one double boiler on a portable burner in between.
The avocado pits were very satisfying to cut up, surprisingly. They feel and smell buttery. The class was listed as having only four dyes, but I am always so nervous about people pleasing that I more than doubled the output with extra dyes and mordants.
This my favorite part of dye classes. Though it was so cold that they didn't really dry, so we had an iron and hairdryer on call.
These are a student's samples, only one coat (ideally with paper, you do about three rounds of dye).
The final list: avocado skins, avocado seeds, red onion skins, yellow onion skins with alum and iron mordants, pomegranate, marigold, dahlia, hibiscus, persimmon, cochineal with alum and iron mordants, sumi ink, and an exhausted indigo vat. We were exhausted after playing with 14 colors, too, but I think everyone went home happy. It's a blessing and a curse, being the way I am, but I admit that I spent lots of time the following day admiring this sampler sheet.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

One tiny step at a time

Two tiny shoes are done, though they aren't a pair. I feel like I have all this time to work, and work around the clock, yet nothing on my to do list gets crossed off. I am staying relatively calm because of my new attempts at creating better habits (like more regular sleep, doing something nice for myself each day, not spiraling into circular negative thoughts, and walking away from people/places/situations that make me sick/angry/defeatist).
I'm working on the pair for this one, hopefully done tonight. My writing tasks have been going very slowly but they're plodding along. This month is all about steady tortoise work. This weekend I have to teach a dye class, but otherwise things are staying local (AKA, working at home as much as possible!).

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Congrats to Mindy Dubansky!

Yesterday, after shipping art to my Gallery Korea show, I read its description on their website, which only went live recently. They advertise hanji dresses, but none were in my original inventory, so I had to wait until morning to dive into the nearby recycling bin. There was almost nothing but a HUGE box, almost exactly the right size. My hair dryer took away some of the dampness as I built a custom housing. Four hours later, I'm back from UPS.

What I really wanted to say is hooray for Mindy! She is a remarkable scholar, teacher, gardener, and all around great person who has worked for years as a conservator for the museum library at the Met in NYC. She has amassed an amazing collection of blooks (objects that look like books), now on display at the Grolier Club. For the task, she painstakingly photographed her collection, curated it, and wrote a comprehensive catalog of the show. During my visits, she showed me blooks and talked about the laborious process of deciding how to publish, print, and disseminate the information. The NYT reviewed the exhibit and I am so glad I'll get to see it before it closes next month.
Mindy is especially important to me because she came to a museum event of mine two years ago with a gift of a 1980s paper exhibition catalog from the Mingei International Museum. She had noticed a couple of Korean woven paper pieces and knew that this book would be more useful to me than it was to her. Amidst the din of the family program behind me, I was totally entranced by this duck! I made my first two that summer, and started my 29th duck late last night.
These are in a private collection and they look remarkably happy together. Thanks to Mindy for her excellent eye and generous heart! Her show is already a huge hit and I hope that any of you who can, will see it.

Monday, February 01, 2016


I finished this funny little one last night while trying to weave three stages of a basket for the part of the exhibit in NYC where I try to illustrate the journey of a sheet of hanji into a woven piece. Not sure if it will be successful, but at least it's not my job to install it! The show opens at the end of this month, and the majority of the artwork headed to the gallery today. The info about the exhibit and more is finally live!
It took a little while, but I finally found the right hanger for this dress. What would we do without kozo sticks? I spent the weekend doing massive inventory and came to a decision about my future. All signs have been pointing that way, so I'll send my energy in new directions and see what comes of that.