In the Process


Starting small – first few sheets on the porch yesterday.

As you may have guessed from lack o’ Blahg: The PaperMaking Has Begun.  Actually, it only began yesterday; there were excellent events and sad goodbyes and curious welcomes and during all that, prolonged mighty wrestlings with the final form this piece will take, which had to be thoroughly, minutely plotted out before seeing or building anything, a mode of operation that’s necessary for this work, and that I’m (just barely, apparently) capable of, but is not at all my preferred way to go about doing anything.  The two maquettes were very informative, but each only provided a starting point, as well as confirming that yes, I did want to handle this concept in this form.


Then there were forgotten items (I brought the entire drying rack, even remembered the little box of hardware to assemble it with…but..forgot..its… feet! I dug through the musty, buggy scrap lumber pile under one of the Ragdale House porches and cobbled some together.) There were borrowed things ( I am now in love with “conference pads” – big easel-sized sheets with a one-inch grid like blown-up graph paper; I only wanted a few larger sheets to work on, but the graph proved to be extremely useful).  There was running out twice to search for unforeseen needed items to hopefully make things go faster. (Did you know that they still make carbon paper? You can find it in the old Lake Forest stationery store).  After the plotting was finally, finally resolved, there was a great deal of physical prep.  (Oh, and I also moved house twice; first to the tiny Sewing Room, where my knees won’t fit under the desk, and this morning, to the Playroom.  There was a resident scheduled for the Beech room who suddenly couldn’t come; the person who was in here preferred the Beech, and here I am, comfortably blogging and able to stretch without hitting a wall).




Only in Lake Forest…yes, it’s an actual street sign.

So: yesterday was the Moment of Truth: all of this activity up till then was speculation, and if you told any papermakier in the land how I was going to attempt to do this, they would almost certainly assure you of my idiocy.  But: it worked!

It will, alas, work slower than I thought (have I ever written that before?) and I can only dry 30 of the larger sheets at a time, so I don’t know if I’ll leave with a finished piece. This week brings my birthday (09/09/09!) and Paul and two other folks and a third group of folks will be visiting that day, and before and after.  I’m shooting for getting all the paper made and temporarily installed, so I can make a pattern for the substrate. (That will be best made at home anyways, with Paul’s scroll saw). Hopefully, I might also get the dyeing done, and the auction piece finished.  But, regardless: it’s absolutely glorious to be sloshing pulp around on the Meadow Studio porch again.  The entire studio is a dream (and believe me, it is now totally filled with my work).


This is just the regular mist beginning, right before sunset.

On the night of the (huge, bright, rotund) full moon, there was a fantastic thick mist out on the prairie. There is most every night; the land exhales and what looks like a  vast reflective lake forms as soon as the sun goes down, but this was…lush. Seven of us went for a flashlight-less walk, enveloped in swirling silver, the moon so bright it cast dark, distinct shadows onto the mist.  We danced on the swing bridge and, of course, howled a bit. And then I went back to the studio.


Happy Not-Laboring day to Yanks with jobs!