Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Paper & Glass Exhibit

I'm happy to be in a show of paper and glass artists that opens today in Oberlin at FAVA Gallery. The opening is Sunday afternoon and I'll be there.

Other than that, hunkering down on writing deadlines and trying not to melt in the heat!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another brief heat wave

 The kozo at Oberlin is doing so well! Even during this dry season.
The cast duck that Cassandra made for her Haystack glass casting class (and that I took home after the silent auction) had a bit of blue in the tip. The duck next to it is related.
Believe it or not, it has taken me at least three entire days to piece only a small portion of this coat together. There are still sleeves, flaps, epaulettes, and other pieces I've never had to deal with before to piece, but I will have to do some more persimmon fun to make sure I have enough paper to finish. In the meantime, I'm laying on the floor and wishing the cool weather would return.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


After impressive logistical engineering, I finally got my paper dresses photographed and online!

Today I went Oberlin to drop off artwork for an upcoming group show of paper and glass artists, and for pleasant meetings. If I make a big push, I'll get caught up on enough admin tomorrow to start making art again very soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Vacation is over!

I ran into one of my Oberlin students in New York recently, and she told me about the video they had been working on in January about my course. I had forgotten to check in and see the final product, but she reminded me and found it online for me.

I'm done with my long distance driving for a bit, and almost done unpacking. WORK begins with a vengeance!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

After Maine

New York was on the schedule after Haystack, and it has been very full as well. I have been able to see more friends than usual because I extended my trip, but was sure to make a visit to Pace Paper in Gowanus.
The interns were pulling sheets and by the time Akemi had shown me a bunch of artwork, they were ready to load their ginormous Lee McDonald press. This thing is insanely powerful. Afterwards, we had dinner with Amy and Tatiana after they finished up their work day at Dieu Donné. It's so rare to be able to get so many paper ladies together, so it was a great treat.
I was able to meet with people who hadn't yet gone on their summer vacations at museums and parks, and saw out of towners whose visits coincided with mine. Of course I visited NY Central for the last time before it disappears, and saw my old boss and mentor for an extended afternoon after scoping out a new classroom space in Brooklyn where I may site a pop-up workshop.
A big highlight was seeing my dear friend Elizabeth who was here from Mexico, and she introduced me to Laura, whose work I have always admired (and we share a photographer!). These are older pieces she made out of handmade paper. She was an old friend of Dieu Donné from the very early days and it turned out that she had seen a bunch of my work at our photographer's studio just that week.
I won't even bother trying to show you the magnificent work in her studio because someone has already done a gorgeous photo shoot. But this is tapa cloth from Papua New Guinea, and underneath is lace bark from Chiapas.
Elizabeth is working and Laura is documenting. This has been a strange work/family/catch up trip with very little down time, and I'm finally ready to do the drive all over again next week and be in one place for a month before the next trip.

In the meantime, Velma has an excellent request for help, on shifu and healing, that I want people to participate in if possible!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Haystack Part Everything Else

This is Pi Benio's work, using the stripped dogbane stalks that we donated to the untraditional basketry class after we removed the bast fiber for papermaking.
She made all the cuts to the stalk pieces and wired them all. She also has a background in papermaking, and teaches at Adrian College in Michigan.
I don't remember which student in that class did this piece, but I included it because you can see we also donated the dogbane seed pods (after emptying them of papermaking fiber)! They're the ones sticking up.
This was coiled by Kindle Loomis, a young work-study student from Maine who has had a wonderful history of being nurtured by Haystack. She was doing studies off of a single form, but I don't have images of that to share.
This one was by Ashley Chen, who was one of only two people I saw one night in the basket class, working. It looks particularly stunning against the light when the sun is coming in full force.
These are also by Ashley, who became obviously a coiling fanatic.
She worked across from Anne-Claude Cotty, who makes absolutely gorgeous work. She was the first ever TA in papermaking at Haystack back in the 80s and told me about how they got by with a blender and single pigment color.
This is the work of Bai Ming, the ceramics studio teacher. He came all the way from Tsinghua University in Beijing with his wife and daughter (the latter translated for him the entire time; what an incredibly poised young woman! She herself is studying lacquer arts).
Again, I'm sad to say that I don't know which student made these but I found the work to be incredible. The traditional work is wholly inspired by Ming, but the figures really captured me.
Becca in the metals studio had a lovely setup about her reasons for coming to Haystack, what she learned, samples of her own work, etc. We had joked at lunch one day about why her studio required closed-toe shoes when it was just as easy to burn your arm or some other body part that was not protected. That very afternoon, she burned her fingers! I was mortified. Thankfully, my TA had some amazing Chinese medicine balm that took care of the healing really quickly.
Here is the TA, Noga Harel, at the tail end of 30 hours of work on a gorgeous piece that she donated to the auction. She didn't sleep. I don't know how people work without sleeping.
These gut pieces were by Wong Yuk Ling, who was so busy at the sewing machine (she does a lot of silk sculpture) and wore wonderful garments and jewelry during the session.
Here is Margarét from the Fab Lab (who came to help us all the way from Iceland!) looking at the work in the fibers studio during the final walk through. The paper studio is just beyond, and I put all of those pictures here.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Haystack Part Glass

Cassandra was the glass teacher, leading only the second ever glass casting workshop at Haystack. She has SO much energy and took her students on trips to other studios to do guerilla alginate castings for quick studies. On this trip, she came alone with a bucket of alginate powder (the same kind of stuff dentists use to make molds of teeth) and wanted to take a few more casts.
She's casting a hanji hat here, and the duck is next (more on that later).
This pops right out of the bowl and then she cut out the bottom to remove the hat from the mold.
Like this. The alginate caused the dye in the brim to change colors, and was hard to get off.
Not quite enough fill in the brim but this is the final glass version (blue) next to the mold of the original. I can't explain the whole thing to you but it may involve plaster, investment molds, wax, or all of the above.
This is the sample of glass cast off of bark lace that they got a mold of during their class trip to our papermaking deck.
Now, the story of the duck...this is actually the second version. The one I originally made had a longer beak and didn't have the stripe (from drying wet on a surface where the brazilwood dye migrated). It was similar, though, and the alginate never properly released from it, leaving a lot of blue in the crevices. After a bunch of scrubbing with a toothbrush both wet and dry, I gave up and did this:
Sumi ink to the rescue! That covered most of the imperfections on both.
Then I ran over to the metals studio and had Damon Thompson, the jewelry teacher, help me put it on a brass stand for the auction.
Here's Cassandra! She showed me where her glass class jumped off of a big rock into the ocean. This was the session to do that, given how hot the days got. I had one student who swam every day. I wish I could have done that but it wasn't in the cards for me this time.
On our walk back to see slide presentations, Cassandra saw a tiny frog. Very jumpy, so I didn't manage a clear image.
This is the view walking out of my cabin every day. I hope to be back soon!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Haystack Part Three

There is entirely too much to show but I'm going to try to share a fraction of what my students were up to. Michele got really into cyanotype on her handmade paper, as well as dyeing already developed prints. That cutout is from the Fab Lab's laser cutter.
Michele trained early on as a seamstress and I loved that she pulled out a sewing machine and had no fears sewing paper (hanji here).
She also flattened tons of bottle caps and trapped them between sheets that she heavily worked, whether through wax, dye, or other surface design.
Katie has a grad certificate from the Iowa Center for the Book, and I was worried at first that she would correct all of my mistakes, but instead she turned out to be so helpful and funny, with so many insights about a million different topics. We bonded early when she stayed late at night with my Lisa (my TA) and me while we cooked a bunch of kozo. She was determined to learn to cord and twine, and I was really pleased that she did.
Katie also had a lot of fun with the dyes we made and used, with lovely subtle effects (like avocado on the big base sheet of hanji, with the coffee mug 'stains' made by painting persimmon juice on the bottom of the actual mug).
I came in one morning late in the session and Katie had clearly been very busy using suminagashi techniques on her lovely kozo circles.
Lauren came with a plaster mold from which she tested lots of different paper fibers to make these wonderful birds.
Her tablemate Shelly was wonderfully methodical about practicing each technique, with lots of dye samples and thread and bark lace. I especially liked that she didn't think she'd be into the latter, but then really took to it.
Lauren reminded everyone else how fun suminagashi can be, and spent many nights in the studio doing things like punching tiny holes out of hanji and using joomchi to fuse them to other sheets (this would have made me totally insane but I was impressed by her dedication to soldier on).
Another mix of Shelly's (background, including the cast bark lace dyed with hand ground sumi ink) and Lauren's (foreground) work
Peggy was also great at trying each technique, and got very far with the basketry. I showed her how to start the finish but for the show and tell she liked keeping the ends visible, which she had dyed with red onion skins (the greenish color) and brazilwood (magenta color). She experimented endlessly with new materials as well as what she brought with her and was generous sharing things like wasp nest pieces.
Susan was also busy making lots of sheets, and made some lovely weavings with paper thread that she made and dyed. She was one of the few who attempted to bridle a book together and I enjoyed using one of her hardware store tools to do small scale papermaking at home.
Jona and Mary Ellen shared a table so this is a mashup!
I'm too tired to reorient these images, but they're supposed to be portrait style. Mary Ellen knew immediately that she wanted to work with maps, and went early on to the Fab Lab to come up with this shopbot-cut foam in the shape of Deer Isle's topography.
She first tried to cast it with kozo paper she had made on the deck, but we hadn't had a particularly aggressive or long beat, so there were too many long fibers that distracted from the map.
Then she switched to using hanji that was much finer, made by a great Korean papermaker. She added watercolor to test.
Finally, she got a nice balance of color and relief. I so admired her commitment to seeing each test through, and taking the risks (because it meant tearing up all of her paper).
Jona also used the Fab Lab to laser cut the fun foam that I provided for everyone to make a stencil in the shape of Iceland (again, this is NOT the orientation it should be!). She used dogbane fiber to make the island shape.
Jona also GOT the cording and paper yarn/thread making immediately, and then made a bunch of knitted, crocheted, and woven samples.
Here is Jona's wasp nest (courtesy of Peggy) paper, using pigmented abaca.
Lisa was very busy making sure that everything ran smoothly in the studio (which, for those of you who know about the labor and heavy lifting of keeping a paper studio clean, is significant), but managed to make and dye lots of paper.
Here's her brazilwood-dyed crab!
Here is the dry studio (the wet studio past that, and the deck after that) cleaned up for studio walk throughs on our final night. The best compliment was when a woman said she had walked through all of the studios and said that the energy in ours felt very good, warm, and positive.