Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Going fast

Less than a week until departure, which provides the push to get things done that have been malingering for over a year. Yesterday was entirely too hot, but today cooled down enough to test a mini foil stamping machine I bought last year accidentally (oh, auctions).
I think I did this last night but it was so hot I can't remember. It's weird but I'm glad it's done. All that's keeping me from urgent admin is one more book. Hoping that comes to me quickly.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Going slow

I managed this one after all of the website nonsense, and it was funny to be shaking my hand afterwards, wondering why it was sore. From sewing! My eyes aren't completely recovered from all the computer staring but I'm hoping to lay low for the next week in preparation for traveling coast to coast (California, NYC, Maine).

Monday, June 20, 2016

The leaf has finally turned

Gigi from my last hanji class was so taken with spinning paper thread on my bobbin winder that she went home and repurposed a hand drill she had at home to continue making thread over the summer. This is one of the best possible outcomes of teaching.

Meanwhile, after a very challenging month and a half of calling tech support almost daily for calls that lasted over an hour each, I have finally erased my old site and replaced it with something slightly less outdated. See? Since I was hacked, I was an easy sucker and paid for the extra bells and whistles to protect the site from future hacks. Fingers crossed that everything will be fine for a while, and that I can get back to making dresses and being a more sane human.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Turns out my website has been hacked, and in the process of trying to upgrade my server, Google has de-indexed it, so that it will never show up in a search if people search for me. AGH. Now I'm trying to hand build a new site, even though I am not a web developer.

So, I only got this funny looking one done this week. My friend said it looks like a bag. Like, it was a paper bag. That's not true, but it did come from an old piece I took apart, and I did try to see if I could do it without cutting the sheet, just sewing it together. That doesn't really work but it was an excellent experiment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I was so busy on day 1 of the hanji workshop that I didn't even take pictures of everyone working at the three vats (one big, two small) that we had up. I've been doing this for years, and even though this was only the second time I had more than one vat going, things went remarkably smoothly. This is the process of parting and drying smaller hanji. The weather was perfect enough that everything dried before the end of day 2! It helped to put the heat dryer close to the non-heated surface behind it to speed that drying.
Betsy and Cris bailed out Julie's vat before we dismantled it, and I enjoyed watching them work. I had to reassure them that it was okay if we didn't get every last bit out before wiping down the pond liner. The group was one of my best yet and it led to a peaceful class. Now, a couple weeks before I start packing for the next few workshops.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Unexpected grief

A local acquaintance who was an amazing artist, businessperson, and community builder passed away almost a week ago and I've been blindsided by sadness. I wasn't very productive in visible ways, but made this wee one.
I also got to meet Adam Field in person after being email friends for years! He was a guest artist at Kent's Blossom Art program, and I was happy to visit campus when it was incredibly quiet. He's a wonderful potter and person who also spent intense time in Korea in apprenticeship. I'm glad we were finally able to connect.
Happily dismantling old art and sorting out papers for more and more and more dresses. I think I have about 25 now. Though 100 would be a great goal, I will only work until it's no longer fun. I wish I could hole away and make more this weekend, but it's my final workshop at the Morgan, so I'll be teaching hanji making instead. Let's see if I can hold it together.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Back to joy

 Old art = new dress
[bananas for scale!]
Old art + new dyed hanji = new dress
Finally feeling like I'm getting back on track in terms of work, both the fun and not fun. These are products of the fun work.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Monster post

Re-entry has been very, very slow. I didn't go near the water often, but Kerri took Frank and me into a canoe on the last evening of the last class and though I was unprepared for hiking over a sand dune to see the sunset on Lake Michigan, I was really grateful that she got me out on the water!
I only managed to make a few miniature books in the first session before I realized that I had to prep for my own class, so I missed the other bindings.
In the mornings of the first session, I inhaled lots of sawdust while making awls and other wood tools (a piercing cradle and travel lying press). Bob Walp was a wonderful and generous teacher.
I liked working with the sticks on the ground because they were so much easier to carve than the hard woods.
Other students got way more carried away, in the best ways.

I think I only sat out at the fire twice but this first time Sarah Rose roasted me a marshmallow.
I gave my students a big lecture about taking care of their bodies while working.
The weather was PERFECT for class. Otherwise, we never would have been able to do the volume of work we did.
I sometimes wonder if I should just leave the entire first day to beating fiber and lacing bark.
Ariel was one of many working outside on a board to lace. And we had a surprise visitor, who has a book coming out next month all about lace bark in the Caribbean! I was excited to hear about these trees and traditions (nearly lost, of course) that he has been researching.
MAKING HISTORY. When have 3 hanji vats ever been set up in this country? It was never until two weeks ago. They all worked great, in styles reminiscent of their makers (Julie, Tom, and me).
Frank taught the first session class and I was SO happy to get to spend so much time with him at PBI. He taught me about socialist papermaking, where no one labels their paper and everyone gets the same number of sheets in the end. It helps remove the element of failure and encourages students to make better paper since it will be shared. Genius! I used a modified version of this system for the hanji.
For the first time, I had a press with a gauge for hanji, so we determined that somewhere between 400 and 500 psi is ideal (though I bet we could have gotten away with 500, we didn't get much beyond 400).
I set up the dye station late in the 4-day class so it was just a mad rush at the start and then no one seemed interested because they were so consumed with doing other things.
The sun dried so many of our sheets so quickly! Thank goodness for Andrea's amazing paper studio at Ox-Bow, equipped with a zillion boards. Thank goodness for Andrea, period. I can't have done it without her. The last time I was at Ox-Bow was as her TA, 10 years ago.
We had a visitor in the studio later at night, hopping around the hanji vats.
We also had a robin trapped in the studio for days. I was so scared that it would poop on my things, and then it did, and again, and again (Velma's book, post-treatment).
Fortunately, Giselle was in this class, and she took out her conservator chops to help rescue what could be rescued. I lost a portion of a hanji rope (which was halved when I had to cut out the fecal matter), but she got one book to the point where you couldn't tell. Velma's book is permanently stained but disinfected.
Grace got really into thread making.
They ended up making almost 400 sheets of hanji! If not for parting errors and desperation where sheets were dried as 4-ply instead of 2-ply, this means that they made 800 sheets. That doesn't even include the smaller ssangbal-style sheets (probably about 200 of those). A few troopers were there late into the night and pulled and pulled. I was really amazed that they were able to produce so much.
I wanted these bananas so badly that Sarah Rose made and put into the auction, and I got them! I was going to add them to my teaching collection but they might just stay home. I wish I could stay home for a good long time, but there's a lot on the books for the summer. Here are the rest of the photos; I'm back to work.