Marvelously Meteoric at the Morgan

Lauren Sammon made this great image of (S)Edition in its entirety, from her own fabulous shots of the show. I love it.

The tip of the iceberg: approaching the Morgan on 47th street.

This entire summer is a whirlwind, moving so fast that I’ve only been able to lightly skim its varied surfaces here on the Blahg.  And so it is with my three (not four) days at the Morgan, a place that I’m more and more impressed with each time I visit.  It’s the people: Tom Balbo, its executive director, first of all, and Susan Kelley and Lauren Sammon and everyone else there as well. Like Women’s Studio Workshop, it has incredible, positive energy, and manages to feel like home at the same time.

I love this photo of Aimee sitting in her newly-built traditional-style Korean vat:

I got in late on the 29th (after a grueling thirteen-hour ordeal in Chicago the day before) and wrote the last blog; the next morning I woke and began overbeating fiber in Tom’s studio, just behind the kitchen.  Tom came to fetch me and we began another load in the sturdy red cast-iron powerhouse of a main studio beater at the Morgan. Aimee was there (ray hoo!) and almost immediately my old friend Jo stopped by to see the show and we both got to see and handle Aimee’s hanji in all its manifestations, a revelation after seeing the photos over the last two years; amazing material, incredible variety!  John was making watermarked Morgan sheets in the paper studio, and when I took Jo over to observe, he generously had her make a few sheets, something she’d never done before. I think she’s hooked; she was late to work! During it all,  I took care of my class prep, and then Aimee and I went out to a big Vietnamese dinner and catch-up fest; so lovely.  I drove her back to her hosts in Shaker Heights, and then got back to Tom’s studio around midnight.

Saturday, up early and over to the Morgan an hour before class; two participants (who had driven in from Michigan) were already waiting when I got there.  I put the first pound of kozo on to cook, and then met the diverse group of 12 people in the class: a person who had never made paper or any kind of artwork before, established artists, papermakers, teachers, professors, medical doctors, book conservators, art students…a broad, eclectic but highly enthusiastic mix!  Lots of demos the first day, a papermaking session, and then only a couple of hours for experiments, but a surprising range of them occurred.  While class was going on, Aimee and Morgan folks were working on the hanji studio, Morgan board members and representatives of Cleveland and Cincinnati arts organizations and other folks came through: bustling!  And the class flowed on, intently active amid all the other activity.

Some of the first day’s experiments drying.

Six vats and draining stations for twelve folks: very nice! Makes a lot o’ paper, fast. (Shot Saturday after everyone went home).

I had an errand to run on the west side after class, so I took an hour to be deaf, and drove two routes through town, experiencing the strange layering of time I always do in Cleveland; without really trying, I passed nine places I had lived. When I returned, the amazing Tom had all of Pamela Paulsrud‘s portion of the Listening show down and packed!  So we ate dinner from the Morgan lunch fridge, and I began packing my portion of the show, with Tom helping; then he drove Aimee back to Shaker while I stayed packing, and he came back to help and to get me back to the studio, as there was some problem with the security system.

A great surprise: friend, Guild of Bookworkers officer, conservator and book artist Chris was in the class!  She’s also taught at the Morgan.  It was a blast to see her and catch up, and I liked the kozo mask…it’s to become part of a book project.

Sunday: up and in and some class folks were already there again, making paper!  We looked at the previous day’s experiments, I did the last demos (dyes), then hung around to answer questions and help as folks went to town, using the entire final day to do whatever they wished to with the materials.  Everyone was utterly busy! And that left me with some time to shoot photos. Even though it was Sunday, still there was an amazing amount of other activity going on around us.  About two hours after lunch, the questions had dwindled off, so I told folks to come to the gallery and ask them when they had them, which they did, while I began taking down the rest of the show.  At 3:30 we wrapped up and cleaned up in another whirlwind, the class left and everyone at the Morgan pitched in and zoom!  The show was packed and loaded into the big van, the materials were sorted and mine were packed and loaded into my car, Susan and I figured out how to work a wee sheet-metal brake for the hanji project, and Aimee and I had fun brainstorming a different solution by drawing all over the protective paper on one of the big class tables, just like our old times.

Then in yet another layering of time, Aimee and I went to visit Cindy Barber and then the three of us went out to a fun (if odd, food-wise) dinner with a bottle of Australian Shiraz, then I dropped Aimee off in Shaker where we said goodbye (snif). I drove a different memory-laden route back to Tom’s studio, and packed up the suitcase I had there.  Monday, up and out and I followed Tom and the van across Ohio and Indiana, he followed me through Chicago, we unloaded my work and he followed me up to Pamela’s house in the northern suburbs where we unloaded her work and had home-made, home-grown rhubarb pie and then said goodbye for now; Tom went to pick up some type cases to take back to the Morgan the next day and I went home to a very happy dog and large man.

I took some kozo shots in the thriving Morgan garden: first harvest will be in late fall!  It’s beautiful at every stage, and bugs love it: my ankles are covered in bites.

Regrets: I did not have time to do all I wanted: I did not get to visit Jeff, see the Smiths or DCB, and I so, so wish I could have stayed for Aimee’s hanji class.

Today, little else but unloading the class stuff, a delicious nap and this long but still only sketchy blog. I’m home for a whole week, to get ready for this:

…PLUS this.  And while there was no review of Listening, someone sent me this blog, and there was a blog at Publisher’s Weekly (of all places!), and then Crain’s Cleveland Business picked up on that one (final item) – too late for people to go see the show! The whirlwind continues, and though it is a tad chaotic, I have to say: if this is the New Life, I am liking it even with its uncertainties.

6 thoughts on “Marvelously Meteoric at the Morgan

  1. oh, it’s good to *hear* your voice, melissa! i hope your week is restful. i’m finding a weird lethargy as i re-enter. i’ll see frank and bob this friday for supper and hashing over pbi at chester creek press. i have much to get done, and i keep hearing from people that are taking aimee’s class! margaret has been in touch and she inaugurated her blog last night:
    when i think of you i am on jasper beach. totally.

  2. argh! I’m so incredibly jealous of the classes, Aimee’s fabulous set-up, growing kozo, and the upcoming adventure to Door County.

    Especially in light of happenings (or non) here….

  3. AMAZING that you were able to even get it all out into one post! thanks for being my ever intrepid chauffeur. i really appreciate it, esp knowing HOW MUCH you’ve been driving!! i finally filled the vat today. such a shame that i wasn’t able to get it done earlier when you were around.

    that poster is hanging in the office at the morgan now; it’s great! i’m also amazed at how you’re able to document so well even when so busy. i doubt i’ll do that well for my workshop (i’ll be chained to that vat)–LOVE the vat pics! so glad that we were finally able to see each other. just for that, the morgan is fabulous 🙂

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Aimee, I LIKE driving (except maybe that Cleveland – to – Chicago toll road run) but driving through any part of Cleveland or its burbs is a literal trip down memory lane and cool – plus we did a lot o’ talking and catching up in the car: great!

    Velma, yes yes yes to the jasper beach: it’s ours! Say ‘hi’ to Frank and Bob. I expect I will spend winter time hashing over the whole summer – no time to do it now

    Linda, down time can be good: use it to make more art!

    Smith, wish I hadn’t mist youse this time around nor Jeff…

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