Opening…

Some quick Friday updates & links:

I’ve published images of new work in a new gallery on the site!

You can also see some of that work, specifically these pieces, in Paper III at Gallery Shoal Creek, if you happen to be in Austin, Texas. Paper III is opening tonight and showing until September 22nd.

I’ve been honored by artist Laurie LeBreton, who named me as an inspiration for her lovely installation River Song, featured in Inspired By: Celebrating Illinois Women Artists, opening tonight and running through September 27 at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.

River Song by Laurie LeBreton

Last but not least, congratulations to Velma Bolyard: here is her great tutorial on making kitchen daylily paper in Hand / Eye magazine!

The water’s fine.

Joomchi test, double-sided.

It was good to be me this week.  I had a sweet wee residency at home.  Not only did I spend almost every day in the studios, I somehow was able to finally put aside all Issues Pertaining To Home and The Outside World, and: think.  And live in the work, as if I were in the Meadow Studio.  Two new bookworks were enhanced and expanded with joomchi, not just the one I originally intended; one of those and a third evolved into something completely different, much better than planned. The best day was when it all came together beautifully as I finished the paper studio work and moved upstairs to the bindery, while Paul cooked a stellar dinner from newfound recipes.

Something like this could happen soon.

Now, three new bookworks are documented, packed, and on their way to Austin. I’m still not quite back in the world of words, so here is a bit of my week as it evolved.  It was grand. I thought you might like it too.

A narrative.

Another begins.

Ink.

The rhythm.

Recto.

Wet, transparent verso.

Processed and reprocessed, still strong enough to stand on its own. Hanji love.

Beautiful, tough anomaly; takes my breath away. More hanji love.

Fore edge. Dyes. Old and new at once.

Something else, late at night.

Up to the bindery: soft rainy light.

The energy is different here…

but it fluctuates.

Tools everywhere.

Window abaca wave, waiting.

Relax...

breathe.

A Most Happy Student

I had a fabulous time learning to make hanji – or to be truthful, in my case, a vaguely hanji-like material.  What I gained technically was experiential knowledge of what is needed, if not (yet) the ability to execute, which I call a considerable success for a weekend workshop. It is, as Aimee warned us, much more difficult than it looks.

But: I am totally enamored of even the crude sheets that I made, especially those that were textured while wet via the joomchi process: SO incredibly strong and tactile!  I am now determined to work out a way to make what I will probably only be able to call ‘hanjish’ at home. (Seriously, after the drive home, I spent large chunks of yesterday evening just fondling those paper strips).

I did relish joomchi (I knew I would) and I am jumping right into that; the second bit of in-class messing about with it (above) solved a current problem for me, beautifully.

This was one of my favorite pieces of Aimee’s luscious woven samples, done entirely with bark thread.

Jiseung, the results of which I admire immensely, appealed less. (I knew that would happen). I have so many weaving, spinning, knitting and crocheting friends, whose works can astound me, but the actions of making them are just Not My Thing.

This lovely (and charmingly goofy, because it’s silver) little piece was an unexpected and treasured gift; and my students will now be able to see and handle some jiseung. Thanks, Aimee! I did do a tiny beginning sample of the weaving with cords and thread, to tape into my sketchbook just in case. That’s the mark of a great class (or lecture) for me, when I want to immediately preserve all the information, whether or not I see myself using it.

My hat is off to Aimee as a fantastic, thorough teacher. I knew that would be true too, but it was grand – and, for me, poignant – to experience being her student first-hand.

I’ll follow up with more on the super weekend soon, but right now I need to go do some joomchi!

Dawning

It was an odd week, but it’s done, and I am now in Cleveland at dear friend Cindy’s comfortable Compound, anticipating Aimee’s class in a few hours! I got in last night after a dreary rainy drive for humans, but a good one for the thirsty land between Illinois and Ohio. It was so easy to pack up to be a student; so strange to have almost nothing in the car. During the drive, and again this morning, watching the dawn come up over Lake Erie, I tried to remember when the last time was that I did something like this, took a trip just for myself, to do something that I wanted to do just because I wanted to do it, and the last I can remember was 2008, taking a few days on the way back from Jentel to spend a day in the Bighorns and another in the Badlands (even Scotland that year, as beautiful as it was, was a grant-funded research trip).

That’s…sad. So I am making some resolutions. And later today, I will be attempting to make some hanji, something I have wanted to try since Aimee shared this. Good for me!

Books & books & paper: but first

I’m currently very quiet, but:

  • I’ve happily agreed to book one more bookish (group) show this year; it will be excellent.
  • Guaranteed to be the oddest sort-of-autobiography you have ever read: Smith’s new book is out and you can get one. Heed the blog headline!
  • Friday night I had a lovely time at ZIA’s summer group show opening; Rita came down from her Ragdale residency for it, and we had a blast reconnecting. I can’t wait for her new book.
  • This is a blog I wish I had written, or rather, I wish I had written about my own visit, and had taken photos. I seem to always have this conflict between Being There and writing about it (or even thinking about writing about it), particularly when I’m on the road.

Above are some of the things I am working on. Each has a story to tell. The telling of stories is always a bit more difficult at home. I wish that weren’t so but there is always the weight of So Much Else That Needs To Be Done when I am here. Though, I have knocked out other work besides home things this week: the finishing of one interview, the beginning of another, more prep for upcoming shows: that work is easier at home, it can overcome distracting interruptions and be easily returned to.

There are also the practicalities of still re-learning the independent teaching life. For instance, I make paper with fluctuating methods. The past two years, I’ve done a lot more with my sugetas and standard Western moulds & deckles, and have hardly touched my deckle boxes. But I brought smaller ones along on my teaching trips, intending just to use them for demos. Instead, for various reasons, I made them available for extensive class use.

Now I need them again for my own work. It was easy to see that I needed to replace the velcro, but when I began to do that, I realized that they were basically trashed: loose and wobbly, with torn seals, the finish completely worn away in parts, and several new scrapes and gouges which would let water into the wood.

That’s not a surprise; people learning are concentrating on their work and not on tools, so studio and equipment maintenance is an absolutely necessary part of the tuition that anyone pays anywhere. In terms of my own learning, I’ve found that this type of deckle box is not standard equipment at most studios; so if I want to make these available, I will need to provide them, which means I will also need to build maintenance into my class materials fees, as well as making sure the correct type of pellon is available for student purchase. Living is learning.

It’s taken good chunks of 3 days, but they’re all squared and solid again with some new screws, gouges filled in and sanded, three new coats of sealant, new velcro and new weather-strip and I am good to go. Well, as soon as I cut new pellons. Tomorrow I am out and about all day and late into the evening and then Tuesday it’s paper and books, books, books until I leave again. Freshly overbeaten fiber is waiting…