Monday, August 07, 2023

Second annual summer hanji retreat

In the last week of July, we did it again! A wonderful week-long hanji retreat. This time, for the biggest group I would want to accommodate in the space, which is four. Here's Jaz making sheets.
The great thing about this group is that they all have varying degrees of expertise in papermaking, and all have the experience of doing research abroad or have plans in motion to be in the field in Asia. Jim has the most, an expert in Himalayan manuscripts (who did important early work on Tibetan paper and books before I was even a papermaker) when not in Indiana as a Lilly Library conservator. His most recent trip was in Vietnam, which is also Veronica's area of heritage and research. And Jaz will be off to Thailand soon while Esther spent time in Korea and will return end of year. This is the kind of group I can share moldy screens with because they are interested in tools and old things because of how we can read them for information.
You can see me asking Veronica if she needs more of a lift to beat. The table is already risen but for the shorter ones of us, we can stand on various constructions of scrap wood and carpet squares to get just the right height.
We started cord making on Day 2 so that they would have enough time to get them done but I should have started twining earlier. Timing was tricky with a larger group that got along so well because I hated to break up conversations.
I showed them both modified cord making (here),
and working on the floor. That seemed to work better for some.
I had asked Jim ahead of time to bring lokta papers from Nepal because I knew the stash would be good. Another distraction, shopping!
He also brought roots of the papermaking plants, and this amazing manuscript that he had commissioned by an expert in the family that over the generations has served the Dalai Lama.
We didn't get as many days for sheetforming as I had planned but everyone had time to work at the vat supervised and then left alone to sort it out (the best way to learn).

I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted because, well, I was teaching, but I was so grateful to host this particular group, and that I had Michelle available to assist all week because she did an incredible job (like this burdock pile that she sorted for me by hand, a partial harvest after two years of growing. There's more on the tree lawn but I think this should be enough for now). This is a very underwhelming recap but suffice it to say, I felt blessed to have such a great group and to be reminded why I work so hard to create spaces like this. Next full-week retreat is July 2024, but I will offer shorter retreats in fall and spring (for sure to coincide with April 8's full solar eclipse in Cleveland next year!).

My pictures from the week

Jim Canary

Jaz Graf

Veronica Pham

Esther Cho