Tuesday, November 26, 2019

One last push

This is the time of year where it's easy to panic: the end is in sight and yet I am unprepared! If I could only do what I liked, I'd play with paper honeycombs all day. But instead I need to prepare for one last performance this year, making paper for a radio show.
Last week, I went to the airport to see my pieces (the black and then the maroon after it, apparently leading to Concourse A at Cleveland Hopkins. I never fly out of this concourse so I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't been told to go here) during a reception.
The two sheet cakes actually each had the image of the show card on them: one for the solo artist Walter Grossman, and one for our group exhibit.
I was pleasantly surprised by how efficient and thoughtful the event was. The show also included city employees, and it was gratifying to see cops, water and utility workers, and so on be recognized. It's likely the most inclusive show I've ever been a part of, and that felt good.
An 8-yo made that mallard drawing! There is an entire youth gallery section in a very public area of the airport. I learned a lot about the art programming and was glad that I made the drive to attend—usually I think it's odd to go to the airport if you're not traveling or driving a traveler, but this reminded me that many, many people work at the airport, so our experiences are very different.

On Wed, Dec 11, I'll be part of a local radio show's community tour at the Beachland Ballroom, presenting my papermaking alongside musicians, dancers/choreographer, a poet, and a storyteller. We'll each perform for five minutes before being interviewed, and the edited version will broadcast the following week on WCPN at 9am on Dec 18. The live event is free to the public! Here is the FB page, and here is the invite info.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Jean is a constant source of inspiration and it seems like she was doing one thing with mushrooms outdoors while I was inside busy on my second set of them (the first is in Oberlin for my show).
I saw shiny red pomegranates at the market last week or so and had to save skins for future dyeing. Now that I suspect that former brittleness of paper that I dyed with these skins years ago is probably due to the industrial soy milk that I used, I want to test them again with only alum.
After wanting to make honeycomb paper with my paper for YEARS, I finally sat down last night to do it. Part of the delay was not remembering where I had stored my glue bottle for several weeks. I still do this a lot, today being the search for my hammer. The other week I had left the gas on my stove for a while after heating up soup. Even while cleaning it and standing right over it, I didn't see the tiny flames because the sun was streaming in at just the right force and angle to disguise it. I can't tell the future, but I'm fairly certain that this is how I'll die.
This morning I experimented with the glassine scrap honeycombs. Then I got distracted searching for my hammer to drive pins and needles into wood to put my mushrooms somewhere else to hang out.
This week has been full of spreadsheets and online orders and talking with different vendors and comparing prices and imagining the future. It's always wonderful and terrible when equipping a new paper studio. This is a space I've worked in for years, but with rented equipment. Soon, another college will have a sweet papermaking outfit in an old gym shower. When I get tired of crunching numbers, I get back to paper in my hands.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Leaves to snow and ice

This was my Halloween activity, trying to sort through old jewelry marketing halftone blocks, test printing some. It was good to be back on a letterpress after so long.
The next day my students had a field trip to make paper.
 They were so cold even though the heat was on, as per usual.
But everyone survived and made a lot of paper since it was a smaller class and they could almost have a vat per student.
Back home, I bound together a book made of gift papers from Velma, always so satisfying!
This was an old print done on flat twined hanji years ago, which I found and then took apart and twined into something else.
And then tests for a new/old book for an application. This was the version with inkjet printed text.
This one is with pencil as text, which got too smudgy and dingy grey because the lead was so soft.
But it's always good to confirm suspicions about how a thing will turn out by actually doing it.
Now I have a bunch of info from testing the width of the strips, using pen or pencil or printer, and using different types of hanji. Meanwhile, I've been raking for the past two weeks and then the snow dumped. I unfortunately got scammed by a snowplow company (according to another plowing neighbor down the street), so I was also out shoveling the pile they left right on the sidewalk. Now I have to sort out if I eat the money from the first half of the contract, fight to get it back, or see how it goes for the next few months before switching to another service. Joys of home ownership strike year-round as there is also a mysterious spot growing on the ceiling upstairs, so I have to find someone willing to go into the attic to diagnose it as I am too scared to do it myself.

I also had a friend visit from sunny California and got buried by applications. I feel like I'm still trying desperately to catch up to a place I thought I'd be, but it may be time to give up the idea of that schedule where I'm somehow done with everything.