Monday, January 28, 2019

Small hands

I am embarrassed that I cooked this almost a week ago but haven't started to beat! I won't offer excuses but obviously really need to get downstairs to beat this week. New paper came in the mail from Paper Connection so I can do some dye tests (when will I get around to this? Don't ask). Half of the artwork in my show downtown has sold, so that's also a great way to start the week. I've been blazing through books, which is good (because reading is great) but questionable behavior (because I'm not sleeping much and not getting anything else done).
The most exciting the start of introducing jiseung to someone who is a quarter of my age! We started really easy, not even cutting down paper, just seeing if she could cord. She took to it as well as she swims (she is like a fish in water). I woke up paranoid today that she is going to fall into bad habits, but remember that I did the same when I started to learn.

Helen did a nice interview with me for her Paper Talk podcast. Take a listen!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


I have a bad plow service so I had to shovel yesterday before going out for a swim. These scraps have been on the floor for about a week now (maybe less) and I have no idea what's going on with them.
Last week I used my hanji vat dregs up to make small sheets and tests. I was surprised by how quickly everything dries in my cold and not extremely dry basement—morning sheets were almost all ready by early evening..
I keep scraps in a small dishpan but have to empty it each time I make small sheets (because I want the tiniest vat possible to make best use of the dregs). I finally organized these scraps into usable versus must be repulped in the future.
I tore down an old piece to make this pocket blizzard. It's such a simple variation of the blizzard and I can't get over how quickly you can have your very own accordion files!
I finally bit the bullet and bought a new camera. You'd never know from my inability thus far to use it here. I have about a month to learn how to use the thing before I start traveling. This is the front of my scrap-happy dress.
And the back of it—you can see the white line where I had to double dip the same sheet into two different suminagashi rounds.
Always, always, always lots of offcuts and ripped out seams.
I wasn't expecting to buy one, but saw an "EASY" pattern last week that I couldn't resist taking home.
And this book has already given me headaches since last year. What does it want to be? I would like to know, too.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Gentle on awry plans

It's so hard to break out of my old habit of beating up myself when things don't go as planned, so I am trying to remember that things usually never go as planned. Jan was supposed to be my month of only making. HAHAHA! Almost no studio work except making paper. Why I don't consider that studio work is a whole other issue. You can see here that I ran out of drying boards so my fridge is working hard.
I have never used a dishwasher in my own home so this appliance is now finally being useful to me!
Downstairs, the washer is doing the same.
My bal is drying on top of the bal teul that Bob Walp did a small fix for me on a few years ago and it's all working great. I realized working with it that I so prefer the Korean-made ones to the ones we try to replicate here. Even with metal support bars!
Another piece of equipment I got and never dealt with for likely over a year: my drying system. It's hard to see, but the boards on the floor have hanji brushed onto them (they are also my press boards). I still need to get blotters (you see the cardboards on the bottom, then the butter boards above). But it was a feat to get them out of storage, transported to the basement, and then unwrapped.
I tested Amy Richard's Florida kozo and it is SO lovely to work with. I definitely could have beat longer but didn't want to (I even used it one night when I was angry/upset: I came home from dinner and whacked away for about an hour to help me digest everything). It may look not as well stirred because I added internal sizing, and that always messes with the fiber (but makes it much nicer for dyeing later).
I also figured out a way to do suminagashi in my kitchen, right on top of my sink. You can see the edge of a piece of hanji that was coated a few times with kakishibu and then marbled. I had to run so I threw it on the edge and left for a bit before coming back to take care of it.
A dried sheet! A pound was a nice amount to work with at once, both for beating and pulling. It cooks so much more easily than the Thai kozo and is pretty clean. I should have picked before beating (I'm lazy so often pick while beating; makes for lots of excuses to stop beating but is very inefficient).
I tested these bad sheets (always the first few of the post) to see how the ink would stay on—I always forget if they prefer sized or unsized paper but it seems to work fine on both. I had to do half a sheet at the time because my tray is small, which is why you see that blank white bit in the middle of the right sheet. Now, let's see if I get any good dry studio work done this week!

Friday, January 04, 2019

New new new

Hello, 2019! As much as I really do not enjoy end-of-year mania around "holidays," I really do enjoy the chance to start over, even if it's just like everything else that is made up. Yesterday, I mailed a lovely selection of books to my dealer. This is one where Velma did almost all of the papermaking. A good resolution should be: giving up control of some things.
This is another that I made at Penland but finished afterwards. I was a little embarrassed that these were the only two books I had for Stefan to shoot last month, but that was the reality of my fall. I forget how teaching can quickly take over my ability to be productive because my attention gets chopped up and I get overwrought about how to present and transfer knowledge.
My last research trip of 2018 was to Boston, where I got to see Lee McDonald in his shop and brand-new home! I have to go back because this visit confirmed the fact that I really cannot continue without a real camera (I reverted to my cell phone camera after my last camera died and was too lazy/poor to get a new one. That was foolish). So many ideas, stories, stuff to sort through, and that would be the bigger reason to return for a follow-up interview.
My favorite shot was this: Lee told me that with his very first paycheck from being a Twinrocker apprentice, after they got funding to pay the apprentices, he bought a knife and pot, still in use in the kitchen! In the recent move and settling into their new house, Lee and Anne Marie couldn't find the lids of their tupperware (which is really annoying, right?). But when he jumped into the kitchen to show me the knife and wondered where the pot was, he rooted around and not only found the pot, but all the lids INSIDE of it. Hooray! I've been a grateful guest at many homes but always worry I am a huge burden, so it felt good to be part of a solution.
I also got a gander at the papermaking studio at Wellesley College, which is shared with a screenprinting shop (it's behind me in the photo, and there's a shower curtain-type system that separates some of the major machinery.
This is their beater closet, with a nice Reina. Their Reina drying system is in a closet down the hall.
When I finally got home on New Year's Eve, I opened a package from the Korean consulate in Chicago to find beautiful generosity. I love the puffed rice ones the most, so this was a great surprise. Yes, I've probably eaten through the one layer already—under this is another set of sweets, all different. I'm still getting settled back at home, so things feel a bit all over the place, but I am optimistic and excited for the year to come.