Season o’ Workshops, part 1

Friday: Packed and left two hours later than I planned, though well before rush hour (even a summer weekend rush hour), yet still: three hours to get out of Chicago. Approaching Cleveland and approaching 11pm eastern time and 10 hours of driving, with a planned stop to say hi to whichever Smiths are awake, I think: “I’m going to ask if I can stay.” Exactly one second later, a text: “U can stay tonite if u want”. There are no friends like old friends. Or: great minds…make me smile.

Saturday: Breakfast with both Smiths, and – zip – onto a series of inter-states.  Drive drive drive drive drive. Overcast, a lot o’ construction, a little drizzly till early evening, when the sun came out to highlight the Catskills (and more construction) while I wonder yet again why I live in Chicago.  Off the highway to Route 52 to 209 to Stone Ridge and a quick grocery stop, reach Women’s Studio Workshop at about 8:30 pm, and move into the separate apartment in the Atwood house (with a lovely bathroom and a big worktable: perfect). I’ve now stayed in each of the WSW guest artist places. Move all the PBI stuff into the apartment, unpack clothes, discover that there is only intermittent wireless, and then: crash (there is no other word).

Paper (Kelly).

Sunday: unload WSW workshop stuff, happy hellos to everyone, beat fiber (6 hours), soak kozo, gather materials, make dye samples, get handouts and demos ready, realize I did not think to bring a swimsuit or even shorts, grab a second shower, off to a long loud  meet & greet dinner, start to drive back, turn around and fetch myself a late-night frozen yogurt cone, raspberry fudge swirl.  Oh yeah.

Monday: Up early, more prep, slide talk, everyone shares their previous work, a series of demos, lunch, more demos, marathon papermaking session while kozo cooks, discuss armature ideas, soak more abaca, one last demo, then out to the Egg’s Nest for a nice reunion dinner with Abby, who is teaching a letterpress/ book class.

Tuesday afternoon team Kozo: Kelly, Meg, Arielle

Today: Up very early (class begins at 9), drain and rinse kozo, everyone helps load the beater, a couple more armature and abaca demos, kozo and dye demos, quick delicious lunch, try to fix a not-so-old, but inexplicably odd powerpoint (which goes from recent work to earlier; I can’t remember why), give up, and then: enthusiastic, intense, productive experimentation by everyone all afternoon.  I am impressed; what a great group!  Get more kozo soaking to cook tomorrow; we used nearly all of it today, and finished off all but a bit of the first load of abaca, too. Cobbled together a drying rack thing from a rolling wire step-stool, various clamps, pellons and unscrewed broom handles. Things are looking great in here.  Inventive, intriguing shapes hanging to dry and it’s only the second of five days. I’m writing while eating a cold quick dinner, then am off to de-pulp myself in a second shower, and then a public slide lecture, with the unrepaired backwards powerpoint.

Tuesday afternoon Team Abaca: Ingrid, Arielle, Pamela (actually, everyone is on both teams.  This is just one of the few times I remembered my camera).

And this is the diary of a mad summer workshop instructor; to be continued for several more weeks.

Also Paper (Arielle). And badly focused because I didn’t turn off the fan (me).