Installing the Exhibition

18 Feb

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Here is a final look at the installation of the ovals. 

 

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And a close up for you. 

Seeing it finally installed and then later examined and appreciated at the opening was such an incredible experience. After being part of the whole process, I was thankful to see it to completion, to be able to talk with people about the project and have them express their appreciation of the piece. 

Ink and Paper

16 Aug

We started printing on our ovals yesterday. There’s nothing better than being back in the studio and feeling the ink under my fingernails. I learned how to do relief printing, which is fantastic and wonderful, and involved plywood from Holly’s box. We are printing in preparation for Jillian’s upcoming installation piece. The greys of the paper and the blues of the ink are incredible. Jillian said that printing is magical — that it is a collaboration with the process. And it’s true — the knots and intricacies in the wood can’t be replicated. I mean, they can be, but how much more enriching and beautiful is it that we can use recycled materials even at this aspect in our project?

I wish all of you could see and feel the paper, examine the knots, and sigh at the beauty. It’s simply the best. This is only the first printing we are doing — next comes gold ink!

Here are some pictures from our day in the studio.

Rolling out the ink to ink the plywood.

Laying the ovals on the inked plywood. The end result: SO COOL.

Can you even handle it? No. No, you can’t.

Cleaning up the leftover ink.

The sky as I left the studio.

Well. That’s life in the studio at the moment. Soon, the project will be over and that will be a sad day. Until then…

It’s Been Awhile…

13 Aug

Dear Friends,

It’s been awhile. Now I know why serious bloggers do this for a living. At the end of the day, sometimes it’s just too hard, too tiring to think about writing down what happened. Hence, why you haven’t heard any of the exciting things we’ve been doing recently. Well, I am here to try and fix that. Sit back and enjoy the paper-making ride.

In the past few two weeks, we have been taking the paper-making world by storm. By that I mean, we have made a lot of paper. High on the cool factor list – denim paper. The process happened like all the rest. Denim was cut, soaked, and put into the beater. The pulp came out an incredibly radiant and a beautiful blue.

Besides the denim, we finally pulled the cattail paper which made gorgeous, thin paper.

Incredible, right? It feels so light and the transparency is a delight. But the most amazing part is the strength of the paper. It seems so delicate in the drying process, yet, when all the water is finally squeezed out- the strength is astronomical.

Other favorite moments of mine recently:

-dyed cattail paper.

-friends in the studio (shout-out to J. Buckwalter and family!). They definitely brought a fun energy to the studio!

-learning the Eastern method of pulling paper. Let me just say, it revolutionized the way I pull paper. Repeatedly last week, I told Jillian that I wouldn’t go back to the Western method. I stand by that proclamation. In trying to figure out a way to explain the difference between Western and Eastern, I figured that an expert could do it better than I could. Here go.

“Inside the sukibune are two narrow boards or ottori that are used to rest or support the keta (papermaking mould) when opening it to remove or insert the su (flexible screen). The major difference between a Japanese style mould and a Western mould is that the Western mould has a removable deckle and a rigid surface screen attached to the mould. The Japanese mould is hinged together with the deckle and the screen is a flexible removable surface” (http://www.awagami.com/basics.html#process).

Now, a picture to explain what that just meant!

After the sheet is formed, it’s necessary to pull the su off of the pulp…like so:

I wish I could put into words why this method resonates with me so much. A lot of it has to do with the way the su feels and moves- it is fluid and natural. I love it.

So, there’s a bit of what we’ve been doing. Thanks for taking the time to read and as always, come visit us in the studio!

Wet Work

29 Jul

Paper has taken over my life. Maybe those of you who interact with me on a regular basis are nodding your heads. I talk about paper when I am not in the studio. Sometimes I start conversations out with people, “Do you follow our blog?!” It is probably obnoxious but I am just so excited about what we are doing in the studio that I want everyone to know about it. One night last week, I had a dream I was in the studio. As I was doing laundry tonight, I paused as I was loading my tshirts into the washer and wondered to myself what sort of color they would all come out if I put them into the beater. If I were on the show True Life, it would be subtitled, “I’m Obsessed with Paper.”

Besides my fixation, this is what has been going on recently.

Today we had one of the art professors come in for the first time and see our set up. He walked around, asked questions, and appreciatively touched the paper. He even took some with him to experiment on– wishing to draw and paint on it. It is exciting to finally see the next stage of this project. Once we are done with these piles of paper, it will appear on a wall as an installation piece. It will find its way into the drawing studio and painting studio. Student pencils will dance across its surface and the paintbrush will give its greetings.

My previous post about drying under restraint can now be applied to our cotton paper as well. Even the cotton paper has a tendency to curl, but when dried under restraint, it forms perfect and flat sheets. So, out came the flock of litho stones this week. Litho stones everywhere.

We put the lake grass in the beater. We added flax to some of it and cotton linters to portions of it. Some of the lake grass we kept pure and the results will make your heart stop. The straight lake grass is stunning. Every three or four sheets we pulled, either Jillian or I would comment on how nice the paper was. Decide for yourself.

Straight lake grass paper. While by no means the best sheet of paper I have ever pulled (hello air bubble!), it does give you a sense of the color and consistency of the paper.

In addition to the fun new paper we have at our fingertips, we introduced a new press into the studio. It can handle a larger post which is super helpful. The new press is orange and quite the sight, but we’re all about it. Its only downside is that the excess water goes everywhere – mainly the floor- which causes some issues when walking around the studio. Jillian recently commented that papermaking is known as “wet work.” After working in the studio with water day after day, I nod my head. Papermaking is wet work.

Other events happening in the studio:

The iris going into the beater!

A new assistant, TR, in the studio. He came in on Friday and helped clean and cut more fibers. Look at how great he made Holly look.

Our faithful crockpots are looking a little worse for wear. They are champions at cooking fibers. Hopefully, they continue to do their job.

Finally, we tried drying our paper outside one day. Jillian said it was what they did in Thailand. Sounds cool, enough, right? In my head, it would only take an hour or two tops. In reality, after about four, the paper was still wet. Jillian reminded me that we weren’t actually in Thailand and our climates were a bit different. Such a disappointment!

These have been the most recent happenings in the studio. Enjoy!

All in Due Time

27 Jul

A longer, better post will be coming soon, I promise!

But until then, here are some images of what we’ve been doing recently. Comment and let us know what you think each picture is or represents!

What are your thoughts? What interesting materials and techniques have we been experimenting with in the studio recently?

I Heart Grey

24 Jul

Hello Friends!

Half of the fun of this project is never quite knowing what the pulp will come out to be. We start with something like this:

And when the paper is finally pulled, it comes out like this:

Notice the warm grey on the right of the picture. The light/cool grey on the left and the dark blue on the bottom were from the cotton we pulled at the beginning of the project. Over the weekend, we prepared the pulp that you see in the first picture and then today pulled the grey ovals.

Our collection of paper is slowly amassing! We have more plant paper than I was anticipating. When we were collecting the fibers, it seemed outlandish to me that we could ever make very much paper with what we had. But, I am quite pleased to say that the daylily and hosta were good to us and made beautiful, strong paper…and lots of it! We finished cooking the lake grass today and I anticipate that we will put it into the beater tomorrow.

We haven’t yet talked about how the daylily and hosta paper has to be dried under restraint. Without doing this, the paper curls and even calendering can’t quite fix it. We place absorbent sheets between each piece of daylily or hosta paper and then place a litho stone on top. On goes the fan and then we wait. It’s quite the process.

My favorite moment of learning about the restraint drying technique was when we were moving the stones and Jillian said, “Don’t hurt your back and don’t break my stones.” Litho stones are expensive…really expensive. To date, I have heeded her warning on both accounts.

As I was trying to think of how I wanted to end this post, I decided to include other facets of our days in the studio that don’t necessarily relate to paper-making but are still intrinsic to what we do. Here goes:

Self-explanatory, I think!

Fresh blueberries made an appearance today in the studio. They taste like summer. I wonder if they would dye the paper? Hmmm….

Rocco. Jillian’s dog who is super loving and always super excited to meet new people. He is our mascot in some ways.

There you have it! Our day in the studio and the little things that make this job so wonderful. Thanks for reading!

This Week At A Glimpse

21 Jul

The past few days in the studio have included:

-visitors!

     

-cooking lake grass.

      

-pulling circles and ovals.

-finding a bug in our daylily paper! This was actually super cool. Don’t be grossed out by it.

-writing on our paper. A few of you have been asking if the paper we are making can be written on. Of course! This is what it looks like.

So, that’s what we’ve been doing. We wish you a wonderful weekend. See you back here on Monday!

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