I’m still immersed in my studio-universe, but things have been moving along at a productive one-woman clip (with occasional assistance by large man). I’ve done a low-cost redesign of the space, and solved several problems.  Nothing will ever make it bigger, but it’s definitely going to be much better, and there will be room to work with a guest now and again! 

Somehow, my energy adapted and I’ve been able to work on the site in the evenings as well.  The first of the upgraded galleries is online: the Strays page seemed to be a good one to begin with.  Rather than scanning, it required shooting odd objects I decided to include because so many people ask, “do you make other kinds of books?”

The type has gone to two good homes, the pulp fridge is cleaned, empty and moved out of the way until it gets picked up in early March, Paul and a friend have a date set to run a beater-dedicated electrical line in, we’re moving the guillotine on Wednesday…and…I sold my old beater, a Mark Lander Critter.  I’ve had it for nearly seven years, and it’s a good little work horse.  I’ve processed all kinds of plant fiber in it, as well as half-stuff, and have done a whole lot of recycling with it.  It wouldn’t quite do the type of overbeating my work began to require a couple of years after I got it (or maybe the ready access I had to other machines kept me from taking the time to figure it out). In any case, it too went to a good person who will use it well, I know. I had a little pang or three when I packed it into its box.  I’m grateful to Mark for making these and very, very glad I had this one. Until he started the nearly not-for-profit Critter Project (by making a beater and donating it to a cottage industry for homeless women here in Chicago), papermakers had to be affiliated with an institution or someplace with equipment, or else rely on whiz mixers and blenders. Mark’s now made nearly 300 Critters that have gone out from his New Zealand shop all around the world, allowing people to experiment, use recycled materials in their work, and to be independent.  Read about Mark Lander here (and check out the giant Monster Critter on the back of his truck, beating away in the snow!  at the bottom of the critters page).

The Critter in 2003, working away at some abaca.