Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Countdowns abound

The ongoing demands of travel and work have been hard, especially on health and making. Nothing is in dire condition, but I would benefit from more sleep, less stress, and Much More Making. I began this one on a night when my hands really needed to get back to the latter.
All cords had been onion skin dyed, and the blue ones later overdyed with indigo.
I finished on a Saturday afternoon in time for a coat of methylcellulose. I don't bother cleaning the windowsills because I live in a high traffic area and pretend I'm not breathing all the pollution (though I guess that's the benefit of being away from home!).
The dried bird (who does more yoga than me), ready for new adventures. I can't deny that this jiseung practice has been incredibly taxing on my body, so I returned to my physical therapist for advice. The verdict: more rest, more stretching!
I didn't get to unwind completely after Michigan travel because of two engagements at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The demo last week went well, and convinced me that I'd need an assistant for my class on the weekend. Thankfully, my faithful past apprentice was able to help. I'm also fortunate to have a friend with ready tools—Bill loaned me the drill in the background to dismantle the crate for this lovely new Aardvark Press. The crate parts went back to him to rip for use as press boards, though I have a feeling I'll need more.
I was 15 minutes early for setup and unloaded equipment for class at the curb. The remaining equipment did not appear on time, which made me wish I slept in for an extra hour, or taken the time to have a proper breakfast.
About 45 minutes later, I moved my equipment closer to the outdoor class site. Eventually, all the other stuff arrived, most importantly, the hose!
We couldn't have asked for better weather—a mix of sun and clouds, never too hot, and a bit of wind (I ran after a couple sheets that dried and flew away). The fiber I cooked came down nicely and we had six vats after all the beating. It was so nice to move the tents to the lawn for papermaking on the lawn.
One of my students traveled all the way from Puerto Rico, after having decided to write about hanji for her thesis, inspired by a year of living in Korea and visiting my teacher. I was so glad she was able to come because my Michigan class had to turn away everyone on the waitlist.
I couldn't put out my usual spread of hanji artwork outdoors so I did show and tell after we boarded the sheets and were waiting for them to dry. Everyone went home with batches of dry and damp sheets, pretty good work for one day. With Charity's help, my car was loaded (with the 250-lb press!) and ready to go faster than the tents were bagged. And more good fortunate: the elevator at home that had been broken for almost a year had just been fixed days before.
I had started the head of this one right after I finished the blue duck, but paused to teach and recover. Yesterday I cleaned up the rest of my equipment and supplies so I could have a day to make before I move again next week. Today was my first free morning in recent memory, so this one is drying now. Someday I'll live in a place with cleaner windowsills.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The last fortnight home

My Ox-Bow students made lots of paper, almost all of it to be shared (socialist paper à la Frank Brannon!). We had a few good days of sun but the rain also appeared as well as high humidity. We managed, though, even through my sleepless nights worrying about it while laying in damp bedding. I'm not sure how I managed on so little sleep but it was a great group.
JeeYeun, who is doing her MFA at Cranbrook, spent a lot of time at the hanji vat. It was put to good use and everyone was good about beating all the fiber and not complaining.
There was a leftover indigo vat in the meadow so I took my class out to play. JeeYeun already knew more techniques so she had lots of beautiful pieces by the end.
Once she figured out how to make cords, Kim was so speedy with them and with twining. She finished one basket, and then started one with indigo-dyed cords.
Diana is already a piñata artist, and was inspired by my teapot to make her own. I love the indigo stripe detail and the handle wrapped with paper thread, all with paper made in class. She gave some of her paper to a student in the bookbinding class, and this book has covers of that paper.
This student from another class came through to look at our show and tell, enjoying Sarah's excellent amate and bark lace accordions. What else? All my pictures are here.
The print/text class did beautiful work 
The book class churned out SO MANY BOOKS! 
And the painting class was inspired by the well-fed chickens on campus.
Five of us went out in a canoe to get to Lake Michigan for the sunset. I was so grateful to Lyndsi and JeeYeun (both Cranbrook folks) for doing all the steering and paddling!
After 7 straight days of work, I drove an hour east to Kalamazoo to see the book arts center, where I'll teach and exhibit this December.
Then I pushed off to head east again for another hour to hang my new show at Albion College. By then, I was barely standing from lack of sleep and food, so after lunch, I unpacked the show and called Tim and Pati to come help me. Not only was I unloading the show, but leaving my hanji vat and assorted tools for my residency that starts after Labor Day.
Thank goodness!!! They worked so hard with me for four hours and the whole thing was up. Over 70 pieces. It's amazing to be in such good hands and trust people 100% because they are skilled artists and tool people. I got to see their gorgeous home and studios and spend the night peacefully before pushing off for the final haul home. I leave in 20 minutes for a museum papermaking demo, and the rest of the week is full of fun things like car and body maintenance. One more papermaking workshop this weekend, and then I have a week to pack for a semester in Michigan!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Time to go again

Found out today that I'll have to leave a day early to teach, so I pushed aside all the work I needed to do today and spent the whole day finishing sewing an apron dress of sorts to wear. I'm very good at avoiding my work. Last night, I stayed up late and finished this wee one—my idea was to swap techniques for my dresses and ducks.
Not sure if I'll do the methylcellulose coating on this one yet. Now I have to face the music: oil change, pack, drive, unpack, teach, pack, drive, unpack, install, drive, unpack and repack, and repeat in all kinds of variations.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

This rock I live under

I stayed up a couple nights ago to finish this very funky duck that I started in June, hoping that I'd get it done in Australia. That absolutely did not happen, so I tried to work on it on the Perth—Sydney and Sydney—San Francisco flights. From the very beginning, it was not quite right. On each flight, it got more and more lopsided. I tried to save it when I was in California, and then let it languish for a bit until I rushed to the end this week. This is exactly what happens when I am tired and unfocused, yet it somehow has hilarity and charm.
I've been sewing fabric, making a dress apron or something (it started as something else completely and keeps changing). Mostly it's a way to sew together things that I haven't been wearing or using but don't want to throw away, and it has turned into great solace because after the challenges of sewing paper, sewing fabric is like eating ice cream all the time with no ill effects. So fun and easy! I have also been looking at things at home that I love, like Velma's printed paper above (and the scrap of fabric I dyed with her six years ago).
When I was unpacking, my pieces were coming out and going everywhere. I put this duck into this twined shoe and now can't see it anywhere but there. How happy it is when you find the perfect place to rest.
I woke up with some major elbow pain, which I think is a way of working out wrist pain that originates in my neck. I like that you can see the evidence of the blue hanji string that I used to bind the cords when dyeing.
Ever since Australia, I've been reaffirming this love for textiles, and I like looking at this wonderful stitching by Philomena Hali. This week I was sluggish in getting through admin, but did big pushes to get over the hump, only to find that the video we shot in June was finally live. I was very conscious of the phases I went through, which are exactly the phases that everyone goes through in our new lives that are tied to living online. I felt physically isolated from the people I wanted most to be close to, but in the end pushed myself to do more productive things away from screens, like clean the house.

It's amazing how helpful it is to physically clear away the dust that has accumulated. Of course the best remedy is to get outside, walk around, and hug a friend.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Daily pleasures

Yuko's show is up at the Verne Gallery and I highly recommend it!
Her artwork has always been a joy and inspiration, so it's wonderful to see a lot at once.
This is one of my favorites, based off of her late grandmother's dress patterns (she was trained professionally and her book of draft patterns is in the show as well, which is amazing to browse, complete with fabric swatches).
Her grandmother made these tiny dolls out of scraps of paper, and the slightly bowed ruler is made of bamboo.
One of her wonderful wormhole pieces, an enormous amount of work! They also have a fantastic video of her life and process in the show that illuminates so many aspects of what she does.
Down the road I got a berry smoothie for the first time (because I'm still off of bananas, which is okay in summer when there are so many other delicious fruit to eat).
Further down the road, I splurged on a quilt hand sewn from old cotton saris. The night prior, I had been tossing and turning in bed, wondering when I was going to get a summer blanket (I was still wrangling with my huge winter comforter). Some questions are answered quickly.
Spending time with a limited edition catalog of Sandra Brownlee's work. We met in Western Australia and I HAD to have this little book. There is so much to learn from the time and thought and care she put into this.
Therese had recommended this book, which is perfect. So are summer peaches, in my new ceramic bowl from Australia. I have been bulldozed by my workload but am trying to appreciate the little things. I know it may not last, but trying to recall daily some of the peace I felt in the southern hemisphere.