Bit of a whirlwind here, with no end in sight (have I ever written that before?). Last week I spent a few days on varied writing projects and plans for an upcoming installation; Saturday, built a few kozo book covers in the studio while a friend came to beat flax.
I will tell you that any occupation that takes one to northern Wisconsin during the last week of September is a Very Good Thing. Sunday morning, a quick bit of packing and a few stops in town, then on the road for a beautiful drive to Bailey’s Harbor, a lovely dinner and evening of conversation once again with Gloria, then up early Monday and over to the Guenzel gallery to de-install and pack (and carefully count and label the crates of) 62 bookshrooms, and coffee and a nice chat with Kay, the gallery director. I was done by 10:30 and the weather was utterly glorious, so I took the rest of the day for myself. I wandered the just-turning-color woods and the sunny shore of the Green Bay side of the peninsula, and then I sort of slowly meandered down Door County all afternoon, stopping here and there to walk other trails and beaches, and also to hit a couple of recommended orchards and farm stands to (truly) load up on apples (just-picked Honeycrisps and Spartans), pears, a few jars of home-grown, home-made jams, and one eee-normous pumpkin (for all of $3). A not-crowded evening drive down eastern Wisconsin, a dinner stop in Sheboygan for the worst sandwich I’ve ever partially consumed in my life, and a non-Illinois-toll route home.
Tuesday, more writing, cleaned and hand-beat a half-pound of the Iowa kozo, quickly made a small sugeta to fit Saturday’s book covers, and had a fine few hours making sheets till the pulp was gone. I’ve been using bark a lot again lately, but it’s been awhile since I’ve made kozo sheets, and I’d almost forgotten how immensely satisfying it is. I laid them all out to air-dry, then headed out for a regular intermittent gathering of old friends, with our favourite barkeep on the planet; safely home in the wee hours.
This morning, some good interview questions were in my inbox; I thought about them while I textured and shaped some of the sheets and built and photographed one book, then packed it up and overnighted it to the Morgan for this weekend’s benefit, just under the wire. I truly wish I could be there. An interesting, exciting invitation came in for the spring, and then I was out again for the evening. Tomorrow (which is now today) and Friday and, hey, the next several weeks: equally busy. Good full times = bad skim-reportage blogs, but I am loving fall 2010 so far.
I’m crazy about the subtly toned greenish color of this Japanese / Iowa kozo. I cleaned as much of the dark bark off as I could, without disturbing the green layer; it looks way more yellowish and tan here, even against the kozo amate background. No dyes in these books!
PS: I’m not sure if the first link will work if you are not on Facebook, but the ‘upcoming installation’ referred to above is a part of House, Dreaming…more than 30 artists have been invited to transform the beautiful old Ragdale House, which is closed, dreaming, while it awaits its restoration.