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.