Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Third time's necessary for things leaking out of my head

A few more new birds here! I forgot to share a couple of things, and the first one is time sensitive:
I'm presenting as part of SDA’s online conference Community Ties January 22-29, 2022! Programming includes artist talks, presentations and panels as well as Meet the Maker demos, meetups, and an SDA open house. Visit SDA's website for details and to register. The conference recordings will be available to attendees until the end of March 2022. You can use WINTER21 for a 10% discount to register for the conference. If you're interested in joining SDA, you can use the same code WINTER21 for 10% of your membership. To learn more about SDA, check out their introduction video and member benefits.
My talk is with Steph Rue, about our Fulbright experiences in Korea

Double header: a new pot!

I got fired up a couple weeks ago and started a new pot to try and match a lid I made in Virginia last summer.
You can't see it here (but you can later) that I added folded spokes so that I'd have less trimming on the inside of the base.
Turning up the sides to start the foot.
On the other side
Starting the body
I know, lopsided center but I just kept going
View from the outside

Okay, this is another day (you can see it was nighttime in the other shots under a desk lamp). I had to concentrate more to do the handles properly. Even though I knew that each arm was not the same length, I went ahead with lopsided handles. I mean, why not? Remember Arachne?
Hands on hips!
This goes to show how messy it gets as you decrease and feel simultaneously excited to be getting closer to the end but annoyed by how there's less space for all of the bits.
Was not happy about how flat the top was but was also not interested in going back to rip it out.
The weavers are still on the piece, which you can see like noodles, and this lid clearly...
...is too small for this pot!!
So, even though my hands were on fire and very unhappy (thank goodness that arthritis gel is now available over the counter), I started a new lid. Which I didn't document because I was so unhappy about having to do that the entire time.
Until I finished it! Because this is the right lid for this pot. I don't know what to do with the other lid, because truly the lid follows the pot. But it's such a nice little lid. Someday I'll sort it out.
The best part was when I coated with methylcellulose: I forgot that I could block this sucker and fix the flat top! Glory be! I was elated as I sculpted it wet. Truly, it looked exactly like I was working with clay.
Yeah, still lopsided in there, and the handles are not perfect.
But it all comes together and feels exactly perfect to me now!
I was tempted to dye but will leave it alone for now because it's better to do what a friend suggested: make a new one and dye THAT one. My hands are screaming.

Trying to be in the world

Though I felt safe in Korea running all over the place, I didn't when I returned home. But I've attempted to get out a little more this fall, a lot of that facilitated by people around me being willing to accompany. Here is the show at Praxis where teams of two spent a year making an outfit locally.
I went to see Charity's collaboration and was delighted to see her felted wool balls in another guise (I had seen them pre-pandemic as jewelry and enjoyed that iteration as well).
This was the info on their process. Jessica was kind enough to open up on a closed day because Mattie was visiting from Baltimore via Cincinnati. A friend of another friend, she was so kind to drive hours to meet me on a classically cold, grey, windy day to do grunt work in the studio and then see some art. It's amazing to have that kind of help appear, because then I could set up two big shelving units: one entirely for moulds, sugetas, and bal teul!
Then we swung by the museum. While I was sad that the Chinese rubbings exhibit was already down, seeing this Peng Wei piece made me think about a performance I did in the mid aughts where I was supposed to get 100 Steinway pianos but then about a week or so before the show, the showroom reneged. I got about 88 black music stands instead. The paper here was made from flax.
I don't often go into the Americas gallery but was happy to find this "Female Figurine, 1500–500 BC: Ceramic, pigment, Mesoamerica, Guerrero, Xalitla?, Xochipala style" that felt like a powerful talisman + real lady proportions!
Yuko joined me to see the new Pivot Center and an opening at Future Ink Graphics, a new printshop on the west side. This hallway holds the new show along with info on a dance company that shares the space.
I loved these floors. I know the polished concrete is the industrial look that every single place goes for but this is much warmer.
The Cleveland Museum of Art clearly invested a ton into their giant space here, for their community arts. It's huge and makes me wonder where they stored all these Parade the Circle stuff before they moved.
Every classroom has colorful murals and clearly have not been used because they are all immaculate.

This is just a fraction of past art over the years and I wonder how big their off-site storage was to hold it all before.
I'm sure they look more lively when animated but this is about how I feel during winter.
Meanwhile, this is the space that I have to worry about: the studio! I was outside yesterday in the less cold weather to measure so that I can talk to friends about designing murals, gardens, etc., which then have to go thru the city approval process. Don't even ask about indoor progress as my beater is still unfinished. Even if it puts me in the red, I have to hire someone to help me. I can't do this alone, as much as I'd love to. I want this space to be welcoming and tolerant, but not of things like cruelty, which Herb just wrote incisively about. I was texting a friend last night about how hard it is to be a kind person with manners, and how easy it seems to be to be a person who does not care. Or is it? How can it be easy if it feels so bad to be uncivil, unkind, and cruel? As much as I want to do it by myself, I have to be in conversation with other people to make this new place work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


I was going to say no to this show I'll be in early next year. But then I said yes. I also picked a Chinese zodiac animal that would be a challenge and then put it aside for a while until the due date got closer.
I ripped it out about three or four times as I tried to figure out the best way to get the protruding bits designed. There are so many approaches and then I realized, why not pretend it's functional by using the handle idea, but twisted, for the comb?
By the time the hard part was over, I had run out of the right color cords, so I had to take a break to dye some more with onion skins.
Each side looks different, of course.

The cork padding under the brass stand is drying under weights now. It goes into the mail tomorrow so my photog can shoot it before it goes to PA for the show. I am so glad to be able to focus on what's next, though my inkjet printer decided to torture me today by teasing me with multiple "empty" cartridges after I had gone to the store to get one replacement. Very whac-a-mole with the yellow empty, so I get that only to come home to black saying it's empty, and the magenta claiming the same!

My semester-long teaching turned into a special kind of torture this year, which made me think a lot about why students who get mad at teachers for marking them tardy when they are late grow up to be adults who refuse to believe the news or election results or any number of things that go against This Is How I Want The World To Be. Fortunately, after being dragged to the dean for marking students tardy when they are late (thankful also that my chair has my back), I got a wonderful email from a past Penland student.

Not in her 20s, Hellen was very focused and hardworking during class, a math person, and kept in touch with me over the years with very practical questions because she was actually continuing the work at home. Most recently, she got my milkweed zine and made milkweed paper. She shows her process very clearly, credits me, and admits she used a blender when I said not to for certain parts. But that was part of her learning, and she was only breaking her own blender's metal blades, not mine, not other students' tools. This reminded me that aside from the wonderful students I have had in class this semester, I have also had so many more throughout the years that I remain grateful for having met. So I will try to enter the holiday with that in mind and not just eat my feelings.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A magical mould

I meant to share about my glorious milkweed residency in Michigan but have already been swallowed up by life back home. Before diving back into the workload I want to share this auction again, because it's one of the last times you'll get a chance to buy an impeccably-made papermaking mould and deckle by Tim Moore. He is the most modest toolmaker I've met so we have to toot his horn for him: this mould is still way under retail value.

Tim is hands down the best mouldmaker in the country but retired from making them! He only did it to document in great detail the process of making them. The documentation alone is gift enough to us (along with his appendix in Tim B's book). But if you can get your hands on this, you will not regret it. No one parts with their Moore moulds, it's one of those pry-out-of-my-dead-cold-hands tools. Good luck bidding!

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

A whole lot of everything

I didn't know these two things would happen at once: a new driveway + new tree on the tree lawn. I have never had so many men out here scurrying around. It has been extremely disruptive even though I know it's supposed to make my life better.
In the studio, I have continued to neglect refinishing my beater because I don't have the energy to sand. My right arm/shoulder/pecs are blown out in a way that became alarming a year ago and I don't have any good treatment plans yet because the doctor/PTs are too busy working on other parts of my body. So for now I've tried to avoid the work that would make it hurt more. Like this!
I tried to set up in my temporary fashion to have a guest because I figured if I had a friend come over for a takeout dinner, then I'd be forced to go and work. I steamed and stripped milkweed and convinced her to help at the end. I haven't been back to work but did dust a fraction of the walls (contractor had the floors ground after painting, so the walls are very dusty). Also got a little shelving from the industrial surplus but still need to get tables.
Last week, I took my students on a field trip to the Morgan to make paper and they seemed for the most part to enjoy themselves.
It was probably the first time they ever expressed in the moment that they were enjoying themselves, and the first time they ever thanked me for what we've done in class.
It was also the first group in four years to want to pull sheets to the end. Usually they peter out early and then we go through the pressing, blotting, and loading of the dry box. This time, they pulled and pulled (likely too thin sheets but there's only so much damage control I can do) and then we pressed and did some basic blotting before leaving.

The JEONG Portfolio (I am part of the deluxe edition) is now available for sale. I got my version recently and took my time this past weekend to savor it. It's rich and varied, moving and poetic, and makes me glad to be part of this effort. If you are a newsletter subscriber, they sent out discount codes that expire this Thurs. Let me know if you are interested and I can share more info.

This Thurs, a gorgeous mould and deckle by Tim Moore will go on sale as part of a fundraiser for the University of Iowa Center for the Book. More info here. I don't know anything about cars but this is the Rolls Royce of paper tools. Or Cadillac? What I mean, it's an incredible tool by the best American mouldmaker around. I'll be excited to finally visit him and Pati this Friday to resume my annual Milkweed Residency! Just in time for Michigan/midwest cold.