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…