Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
As I was cleaning and organizing the wet studio on Wednesday for the next three weeks of papermaking, I rediscovered many of the textiles and handmade paper artworks I created and exhibited, then stored while working on my BFA and BS in Art Ed a few years ago. Although my busy schedule teaching and finishing my MSEd has only allowed me a minimum of time to create new art, I did have snippets of time in the studio creating work for two shows at Main Street Art Gallery in Edwardsville. Yet, I didn't have it in me to clear off the shelves or dig through the piles of scraps saved just in case they could be used in the future. What I didn't realize until this week was that each object I had stored still held memory, and with that memory, a power to keep me from moving on. Most of my artwork during the past decade has focused on people who I have lost, found or abandoned during my life. One of the pieces created for my BFA show had the same title.
For the rest of the day, the muck of the wet studio could not suppress my boundless joy! As I worked, I kept hearing Cat Stevens' song, Morning Has Broken. What a gift from our Lord!! Cleaning was pure pleasure.
Pumped with turtle power (one little step at a time, just like my recovery), the studio was cleaned from the floor drain to the top shelves while the Hollander beater hummed along filled with flax. In July, Betsy and I will clean the two second floor rooms and turn my little dry studio into her guest room, while moving the studio supplies into her larger old bedroom. I can hardly wait to open the rest of the boxes and get on with living life!!
Once the fibers were evenly dispersed in the water, I held my breath and prepared to pull.
Quickly, the vat was gently shaken as the water drained and the fibers settled on the pellon felt.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I first wore these linen pants to my daughter, Betsy's, undergrad graduation from Florida Gulf Coast University a few years ago. Now that I am 14 pounds lighter, the pants were either going to Goodwill or the studio.
After cutting up the linen with a roto cutter and putting it in the critter (hollander beater), 1/2 pound of abaca was added to get things moving. Test sheets have been made at 2 and 3 hours. At 3 hours, the pulp still wants to clump up after moving freely for no more than 10 minutes. The bottom layer of pulp moves, but there is a top layer that wants to stop and just float. Looking forward to tomorrow's tests.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Put a load of Type R flax from Carriage House in my critter (hollander beater) at 1:15pm to beat until 7:15. A critter, handbuilt by Mark Lander in Loburn, New Zealand, is a hollander beater used for processing fiber into pulp for papermaking. Half of the flax was beaten in a vintage Lee McDonald beater at SIUE on Friday. We will compare notes on the flax on Monday. It feels so good to have the opportunity to have my hands back in a vat of pulp again. For me, the process of papermaking has always been a cathartic experience that cleanses and pacifies my soul.