Mid Ragdale Ramble, with pulp.


Photo: Regin Igloria

We’ve now had two nights of very fine readings/ open studios/ performances, with one more to go. This is a great, fun group of folks.  Alas, one of the residents left tonight, and tomorrow is the last full day for everyone but Nora and myself. This means that our residencies are half over, and I have yet to make any paper!

Granted, I just returned with the pulp on Saturday, and the largest of my deckle boxes, plus pellons, felts and press boards to go with it, and the drying rack.  There was no getting around that; I need it all to make what I want to make. I couldn’t get much done during the rains; nothing would dry. Not even straight PVA, which is an exceptionally  fast-drying adhesive. So, late Friday afternoon, I gave up, re-packed all but a few of my summer-ish clothes (leaving only the dirty laundry) and went home. Of course, as soon as I got there, the three-day rain ended. Paul took me to dinner and I stayed the night, finished up an application, packed up a few warmer layers of clothing, and loaded up again in the morning.


It was good to go home; it was a needed break for other reasons than equipment. I’d gotten sucked into distant events and the grey wet days added to an oppressive mood. Paul let me talk it all out of my system and lent me some perspective, which helped me to lose the awful sensation of rubbernecking at a disaster: appalled, repulsed, yet unable to look away.


After the rain, Chicago (and Lake Forest) apparently decided to skip September altogether and go straight from late August weather to late October. Last night’s studio was all fumble-y cold hands, and I was wearing four shirts, including a flannel shirt and a sweatshirt. Forecasts thankfully say we will soon morph back into early fall, at least, and I WILL be able to make that paper!

However, I did decide to take advantage of the gorgeously-lit long blank wall in the studio, and brought back the piece (or rather, the fifteen pieces that comprise one piece) that I made at both Women’s Studio Workshop and I-Park, installed it in the chilly space yesterday, and got my very first look at the entire thing. It needs a bit of tweaking here and there, but just a bit, and I like it. It successfully manages to be beautiful, funny, slightly creepy, absurd and somewhat obnoxious all at once, and that’s, well, just ideal.


I documented it, added it to the application at the last minute, and watched it interact with its first viewers at my open studio; I went first this evening, before dinner, so it could be seen in the fine studio daylight. We then went on till nearly ten.

Afterwards, I decided to take care of the still-dirty laundry instead of returning to the still-chilly-tonight studio. During a break in the readings, I’d noticed a slight sour smell in my room, like over-ripe socks, or maybe the first stages of hey-you’d-better-use-that abaca.  I’d forgotten a big, nice black leather bag in the kitchen at I-Park when I left ; they mailed it to me awhile ago and it arrived today.  I got the laundry started, then  opened the box.  On August 11th, I had thrown my vitamins and some snacks for the road in there…including part of a bag of baby carrots. I had told I-Park I didn’t need the contents, just the bag, but:  you guessed it.  Squishy, orange, over-ripe-sock-smelling pulp everywhere.  Fortunately, I Am A Papermaker. Pulp, even smelly pulp, is just pulp (and Ragdale has a nice stock of that Febreeze stuff).  Apparently, if I’m slow to get to my own pulp, the universe will send me some.