Wrapping up (in) Vermont

It is cold, cold, cold!  The studio is warm, warm, warm (I was actually sweating a bit today in my long vinyl apron), but my room has definitely NOT been, except for Thursday, when I wrote up a request. I got heat that evening and went to bed early, to read and luxuriate in almost 62 degree comfort.  Friday and yesterday I’ve come in late at night to find the house pleasantly heated, but when I open the door to my room, it’s 10 or more degrees colder. There’s no one to fix that on weekends.  It’s bitterly cold out there tonight, and I am dreading the return to the room…it’s likely to be another three-fleece-sweatshirt night, with the covers over my head to keep my scalp from freezing. I’m SO glad I bought that cheap-o fleece blanket (tiger-printed!) my first week here. I also have two VSC quilts, and the sweatshirts, but still: brrr. So I’m staying here in the warm and writing a blog, postponing the inevitable.

Why they needed all the tweaking. Took an entire afternoon & part of an evening.

The ears are now all tweaked and only awaiting dye and sealant, and unfortunately, a bit of new structural help.  This week I had the disappointing news that the one at Ragdale hasn’t weathered well, but I was able to see exactly what happened thanks to a photo sent by the lovely Jaclyn Mednicov, who’s been in residence all this time (and just left; she went to visit the ear before she did, which is wonderful).  I can prevent it occurring again by simply adding a bit to these ten, and I’ll replace the Ragdale one when I get home (and will build subsequent ones a bit differently).

Meh. Didn’t know if it would work (did), and didn’t know if I’d like it (don’t).

So, in the last few days I redesigned the internal structure of future ears, made another experimental ear, which worked, but I’m not crazy about. I built a new book structure, which is currently awaiting its pages, which are drying (along with the pages for another book, if their colors dry to what I think they’ll be).

It has some possibilities like this…maybe.

Today was spent making sheets for the two books with my sugeta, first milkweed and then kozo, using up all the prepared pulp I brought with me except for the stinky abaca and a small bit of now rinsed and non-smelly flax.  The studio was so warm that I went and got a bucket of ice from the kitchen after beating kozo, to keep the vat (with its bit of leftover milkweed and precious formation aid) cold enough for decent sheet formation. The ice melted immediately but worked beautifully. Sheets are drying everywhere. I wanted barely-there milkweed sheets and pushed my luck with the thinness a bit too far, but they will still work very well for the new book, and I won’t have to feel any regret over tearing them.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are for book-building, ear-dyeing (maybe only the one that I’m leaving here), ear-installing and, absolutely: laundry. Wednesday, pack up and load all but the artwork. Wednesday night, final open studios, then pack and load artwork, then it’s up early Thursday, to say farewell to Vermont, and head out on the northern route to visit Velma!  That will be just lovely.

I will miss this river.  I love it. Though I had to buy a fluorescent orange hat I will probably never wear again to walk along it: it’s deer-hunting season.