Busy; a lot is going on, all good, but not much to write about (yet), with (of course) upcoming holiday-related things thrown in. We’ll have an extra celebration for a few days in early January. Otherwise, the snow came and stayed, our lights are up, and I’ve knocked out a good bit of 2014 prep. A nice end-of-semester interview paper came in (and also became a book). Paul brought the press platens home: heavy, sturdy and beautiful. They need just a tiny bit of tweaking; we’ll do that and install them together soon.
I did finish the mulberry and was rewarded with a bit over 3 pounds of lovely fiber. It was intense work, but good to have that quiet studio time. I sharpened up my knife just a wee bit more, and did the scraping properly. I saved some but not all of the chiri to make sheets with, mostly just because I have it and I can. (While working, I remembered seeing chiri paper for the first time, oh, over 35 years ago. I found a few sheets in a surplus paper store I used to religiously frequent in Cleveland. At that time, I really knew nothing of paper other than as a surface to draw on. I thought it was just beautiful. Then I moved to Chicago, found Aiko’s, and learned that chiri paper was considered to be very low-quality, and was mostly used to wrap fish. That humbleness didn’t exactly alter my opinion, but all the other wondrous papers Aiko’s stocked did quickly eclipse it.)
I actually enjoyed the labor; got into a certain rhythm and a contemplative space. For the final scraping session, I had put aside about 25 wide tough-barked pieces from older branches. Back when I used to buy my kozo from a place that ordered it by the bale, I’d dive in to search for ‘fat kozo’ – those same wide tough pieces no one else wanted. They’re more difficult to hand-beat and can be stringy, their fibers the ones most likely to be picked out of a vat. But they are perfect for building with. Most of these pieces will eventually become book covers. It was quite satisfying to shape them, to decide how each would be finished, how the pattern would be exposed, what anomaly to feature, and to realize that, later, when they are used one by one, it will be a very different experience than working around someone else’s efforts.
Tomorrow begins another wee adventure: I pick up a brand-new Mac PowerBook. Then there will be all the fun of data migration, and then (slowly, I’m sure) a year’s worth of web site updates, interspersed with studio, and all this new fiber. Sounds like a fine plan to me!