A little breathless here as the October events draw closer: here are next week’s first two in Kalamazoo. I’m looking forward to it all; I have never been to KBAC before but have heard so many good things: exciting!


The new ‘replacement installation’ for the third event is completely resolved and well underway, on a tight schedule that’s so far been working efficiently (fingers crossed) in spite of the total stuff-explosion chaos that is our home environment right now, what with me working like mad and Paul returned to his wood shop daily. Earlier this week, I was stumped a bit by the color strategy until happily, I dug out some ancient powdered retention aid and tiny jars of equally old but still-viable pigments and discovered that I actually had just the right combination to almost exactly duplicate my little color-inspiration lichen sample.  It’s all going well, just a wee bit too intense for much internet / writing.

…and sometimes the pianos disappear


An early example…(from a book done in the 1980s about my life in the 1970s)

Everything I had been working on has dramatically shifted, which was my (tough) decision.  I’ve been given a terrific location for an installation, a planned, geometrically-planted urban grove of trees, a site that appeals to me very much.  But, they’ve turned out to be trees in delicate condition and of course, I do not want to harm them in any way. So, there has been a long series of e-mail conversations regarding installation methods; after each, I modified the shape of the individual works to adapt to suggested installation strategies, until yesterday’s semi-final agreement (just after I posted the last blog), when I realized that they had now become so far altered that the concept behind the work was completely lost.

I froze for a bit, took a long walk and decided that I just did not want to squeeze the content to fit into a less than appropriate form. This work deserves better. Instead, I came home and made a sketch for an entirely new piece which will be quite effective in the space. Everyone seems happy with it, and so am I.


Another; a detail of an early work derived from my thesis redesign, after the first literally collapsed.

I’m taking today off, to make the needed changes in the studio setup, and to let myself experience some small pangs, because this new work will be something of a reprisal for me, and I am always so much more excited when working on something that reaches into personally uncharted territory.

Of course, I do realize that the original work is simply on hold; I doubt that it will go begging for a location for long. These things happen; there are always multiple adjustments, though they’re not always as spectacularly total. I’ve been thinking about Aimee back in grad school, when she had planned a performance in a huge space that was supposed to contain 100 pianos. The piano showroom backed out at the last minute and decided not to provide them.  While I can’t specifically recall the advice / pep talk I gave her then, I probably talked about some of the times similar things had happened to me. Whatever it was, it must have been a coping strategy I had already internalized: this is really just a blip, though one worth sharing here.


Kimchi pancakes help anything.

One major fact hasn’t changed at all: after today’s wee respite, I will still be in the full-tilt production zone until I leave, and after I return.


Waiting for me, at the close of this public cycle…

In the Zone


Very tight but functional dual-fiber sheet making station; flax and daylily stem.

Not much to report: I’m still in production mode till I leave for Kalamazoo. Work will continue after I return from the north, when the components for this single installation will be finished simultaneously.  The first shape is cast, has fully dried (it took two days, so I’ve commandeered two more fans for the rest) and has taught me what I need, and has also made me very happy: my compulsive planning and the drawings were well worth the time they took. The second one is well underway. There’s a two-fiber sheet-making session preceding each casting (on a single, reconfigurable armature), so the studio has multiple compact stations set up for each ongoing process. While the drying takes place I’m working on two other projects, harvesting seeds for next year’s garden (and for eating!), somewhat patiently cutting through red tape, and much more. There’s been some good e-mail talk in the background daily, gearing up, and a Really Nice Guy who did the grocery shopping for us yesterday, and a Really Good Dog who coaxes me out of the studio to walk with her each day.  And that’s all there is: an exciting zone for me, boring for you to read about. So instead, read this sweet piece about the wonderful Alicia Bailey!


 Casting and drying areas; there’s really just a not-too-wide pathway down the center of the studio.


It seems a bit silly to be using the wee press in front of Big Red, who works as a shelf right now.


Hello from the garden.  I love cleome; they’ll bloom till the frost comes.

Checking in from underground




I took a day to do whatever I felt like when I woke up, and shopping for, resurfacing and caulking the decrepit counter next to the studio sink was what happened. 

Working away quietly as September speeds on. Mostly I’m in the studios, where I’m getting increasingly jazzed, solving problems, doing the extensive prep for a new project. There were wee bits of basement studio improvement that occupied the early part of the week, while everything was still cleared up from the press arrival. Project concentration, drawing and odd armature building took place in the second floor studio.  Now, everything’s moved back downstairs and the pulps are ready.  As always, there has been computer related work interspersed with the rest, for upcoming events happening in quick succession. I am waiting for some final info on the new project before going full-steam ahead, hopefully tomorrow.  While in the digital realm, I’ve been far too often captive to the Spinning Color Wheel.  Thanks to the summer’s work and sales, I’m ready for a much-needed MacBook replacement, but want to hold off till I settle in for the winter, to make the transition in a free-time frame.  (It will be only my third laptop ever).  The weather has turned cool and appropriately September-like, bringing with it my turn for pesky seasonal allergies, which in turns brings the need for extra sleep.  But daily, I am wholly in the studio body and mind, and that’s what counts.


A snazzy new stove for fall harvests.  The old hotplate I’d had for years died in the middle of the last cook, and I had to finish in the kitchen. There was an Amazon gift card left from last Christmas… 




Opposite of DePressed

I didn’t do much of what I had planned for the last few days, but that bothers me not one whit: with huge thanks to the marvelous Tom Balbo, I’ve been blessed with press.


Thursday, I removed cabinets and wall hooks and cleared space.


Friday, Tom arrived with the press; he and Paul wrestled it into the basement, with much inspired tilting and twisting around corners and under ductwork, at one point balancing the whole thing on a single wheel.  I scurried around moving lever boards and getting things out of their way. 


I won’t get to use it till I return home for the winter, probably.  Paul had built these lovely platens awhile ago for something that didn’t work out.  With just a little width added and a wee bit of beefing up, they’ll work nicely.  We’ll add a water collection device leading to the sink or floor drain. When Paul’s shop re-opens in a couple of weeks, he’ll do the build; when I get home at the end of November, we’ll install it. This, in combination with some experiments begun at Haystack, promises an exciting, intriguing winter in residence. I’m looking forward to that!


Tom will take the guillotine at some point in the future; I cleared it so we could strategize after he’d seen the space.  It unbolts from the stand but we might need to further disassemble it.  (Four very hefty mover guys carried it in, all straining mightily). I returned it to its role as guillotine / storage unit (which it does well).


Meanwhile: big congrats (and thanks for the mention) to Aimee Lee for this long-overdue recognition!

Yesterday, after reconfiguring the studio, I headed to ZIA for the evening, and a had a fine time, meeting, enjoying work by and talking with Fumiko (who knows Aimee) and Tim, and of course Anne and all the ZIA folks. And I met a nice person who’d just purchased some of my work: sweet evening.

Tomorrow: a birthday of workplay in the refreshed studio (also sweet).


New homes for the fridge, the additive / chemical / adhesive / pigment cabinet and the little press. I’m amazed that it all actually fit as well (and as easily) as it did.

Laboring and Not


“Home for a month” isn’t that in its peaceful entirety this time around: there is much to do in September.  It’s more of a nice flying studio visit. I found myself in a curious internal struggle through the holiday weekend that initially wouldn’t let me let go and relax, which was all my body seemed to want to do.  So, though I made myself work, I did make sure it was pleasant work that involved moving and stretching. The weather was perfect, adding a bit of calming balm, till finally the work itself became relaxing. I cleared the gardens, staking up overgrown plants (those I plan to harvest, restricting ones I want to reseed to the area I want that to happen in, or simply keeping pathways open for a partner with wonky eyesight) and of course weeding. I beat some fiber, unpacked and moved back in, taking time to set up the studios with new things I want to think about for Ragdale and beyond. That’s essential to the life / work process I’m continually rediscovering and honing: visually capturing my own attention. That’s breathing in (home).

alight A gift from the wonderful Susan Kelly at the Morgan, this beautiful indigo-dyed scarf of translucent, ethereal Big Ass paper catches the light and wafts gently in the soft, open-window September air, below an early harvest of seasonal book beginnings.


I did also get some web work done, getting the (I believe, sane) fall schedule up, here and in the sidebar. And more towards a self-commitment. Each September I’m more grateful to be my own taskmaster now; that’s breathing out. I salute everyone who is beginning a school year in whatever capacity you inhabit (and I breathe this soft September air in again, deeply).


Fresh considerations from Haystack, Seastone Papers, Penland and the Morgan mix with things always worth remembering.


A beautiful thought from Margaret Mahan and Drew Mattot that arrived just as the summer began.