Improv, Improve

I’ve spent most of the past week building and doing a lot of crawling around on the studio floor, and I now have a lovely wee drybox / stack dryer system for making flat sheets (yes, me) plus, at last, a small counter next to the sink.  All of it was built with recycled lumber, save for a way-too-nice sheet of sanded birch plywood contributed by Paul. It was exactly the right size I needed, cut in half. Oh, and I did go and buy a new fan. The system is built into an old worktable I slapped together many years ago in my Pilsen studio, also made of unfinished scrap. Now it’s all shored up, sanded, waterproofed and beginning its third life. The build was fraught with odd setbacks (it took a day to sawdust-proof the studio; all three people who volunteered to help cancelled, so I built it alone; Paul’s brand-new sander burned out and died exactly 12 minutes out of its box; working with odd-sized scrap lumber is like putting together a puzzle with missing pieces, and so on). But, it’s done and lovely.  There are features you can’t see, such as having the output protected but ventilated, and a filtered intake; the fan is cushioned against vibration and you can work on the table easily while the system is running. I think it’s also quiet, but how can I tell?  It can dry sheets up to 24″ x 28″. I’ll be using it almost immediately. Below: before and after.

During all that, I got my first pair of prescription glasses ever; progressive bifocals.  But they’re going back; the close focus needs major adjustment.  That, along with extensive testing because I hadn’t had my eyes checked since high school, took an entire day, and I hope it doesn’t take another to fix them.  Particularly since it involves going to a mall. But other than the fact that they’re just plain old, my eyes are fine and healthy.

There’s lots more, but no time.  My work was cited in this article, and I am pleased. There’s no author credit, but: somebody gets it.  Thanks, whoever you are.

(Oh wait; I just noticed it’s part of the 40 over 40 series that Chicago Art Mag has been running. There was a call for mature artists. I could have entered myself but didn’t.  So serendipitous to have that arrive along with bifocals, no?)

6 thoughts on “Improv, Improve

  1. YAY!! that looks AMAZING. i wish i could have been there to help. not that i would have been much help. i can’t wait to visit the whole studio someday!

  2. Aimee, you don’t think you would have been able to help after The Great Vat Build of 2010? I have seen photos of you with a chop saw and router, you know. The studio is tiny, but there’s enough room for 2-3 people to make paper, so come visit.

  3. and i will add my WOW! to this. you did a super job. from the occasional message on fb i figured something big was happening, but i had NO idea! wonderful! your studio gets better and better.

  4. Wow Melissa, I’m checking in after not checking for quite awhile, and I’m so inspired! This looks so great, and I am learning form you. I finally have a garage I can call my own, and it would need a complete overhaul to really be a a paper and print studio, but I am taking baby steps.

    On a completely unrelated note, you might be interested to know that my six year old just handed me an enamel pan full of torn strips of pink and orange paper and said “Here’s your soup Mom! There is a spoon for you too (a highlighter marker).” When I asked the flavor he said “Cherry strawberry.” Good paper soup.


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