Penland, first week…

a view

Ahhh…Penland Saturday. I’m sitting in a rocking chair up on the Northlight building porch, enjoying a gentle, soft, water-scented breeze, watching the interplay of rain-loaded grey and empty white clouds slowly drifting over the mountains, with an occasional brief  appearance of wan sunlight.  I’m thinking lazily about a walk later if it doesn’t rain, or maybe a nap, or, ideally, both.


The demo-heavy, fast-paced first week, with its evening slideshows, gatherings and other events, is over. I have been blessed with (another!) enthusiastically creative group of ten women, who now have the luxury of a little over 12 days to devote to developing work (with three demos by request thrown in next week: making a plaster press mold, some sewings useful for both book and sculpture, and Ideas For Using The Penland Bamboo Patch), and lots of individual consultations. Oh, and we’ll make corn husk paper, too.PPie

We finished up the week with a carpooled field trip into Spruce Pine yesterday afternoon to visit some of the local thrift stores, which ended up being hilariously funny, and included some wonderfully awful wardrobe and apartment enhancement for some folks, and a lot of trying on of (and spontaneous performing in) some, um, very unique what-were-they-thinking styled garments, not to mention the acquisition of our own studio deity (below).


There are a lot of Very Good Things happening in the studio: we are all learning and having a great deal of fun while we do it.  This is, indeed, the epitome of the only type of education I want to be involved in, forever. The hands in equal fusion with the mind, laced with laughter and free exchange.

One night, a young woman in the class wept from sheer joy; she’s found the way to make what she’s envisioned for years.  Can teaching get any better than that? I was moved, entirely.

a garden

April showers


Ample April rains are here; several consecutive grey days of them. The first dry day will be garden time. Good things are evolving as a result of the last two blogs, but nothing to write about quite yet. I vacillated and then decided to go for an improbable possibility; if it happens, it will fill much of my only free month from May to December.  Paul said he’s really liked having me home for a long stretch, as opposed to constantly zipping in-and-out. I’ve liked it, too, and think it’s a pattern I’ll try to perpetuate: six months moving about, six months home, and I’ll try not to over-schedule at any time (really). Right now, I’m working quietly and privately, vacillating again about taking a second long shot, and realizing that my truncated six months at home has suddenly evolved into a bit less than six weeks.

Congratulations to the Morgan on their new web site: class registration is now open online! SO many excellent classes – and I’ve expanded mine: three days of three D.



Hopping, happily


Busy! Things are hopping here, but I have two bits of news:

I love being on islands and in the mountains, and summer 2013 will bring both.  In fact, I’ll be island-hopping, sort-of: in June, I’ll be traveling directly from the residency at Haystack on Deer Isle down to Martha’s Vineyard, where the wonderful Sandy Bernat of Seastone Papers has invited me to debut a brand new class I’ve been thinking of for awhile. I’m excited!


It’s lovely to have a nice wee studio, even better when shared with friends who smile like Anita Garza.

Also, I’m honored to be the latest entry in Susan Mills’ excellent Bookbinding Now podcast series; Meredith R. Winer, the founder and director of the innovative Transit residency program visited to interview me a wee while ago; we had a fine time, which I hope resulted in something interesting. I can’t hear podcasts, but I’ve been told only good things about the series.  And of course I’m pleased to be joining Velma, Aimee, Peter and so many others.


Some of Anita’s 90-minute abaca for her project, after 18 hours in the stack dryer.

And finally, I’m back in the studio, while Chicago struggles to bring forth spring.


Deadlines for you and me

I took an extra day in the studio to deliberately use up all prepared pulp, in order to force myself to focus on the writing I’m doing now, and had to clear the studio to transform it into a painting station for the next house projects.  I felt sad and a little anxious, and had to keep reminding myself that I was only clearing up for a week or so, not a semester.


Here’s what emptying the paper studio did for the bindery.

But today’s quick blog is to let you know about two important dates: February 11th is the deadline for the Penland summer class lottery, and February 15th is the deadline for Penland summer scholarships. I am so looking forward to being there this summer: just to be in the wonderful Penland environment again and in the mountains, but also because 2 1/2 weeks is just the optimum amount of time for this class. Ample time to try techniques, experiment, develop projects and collaborations!

So apply, apply, apply, please!  I’ll go do pretty much the same thing.