Thursday, October 27, 2016

Erosion, Sedimentation: Work in progress

This year, I have done a few collaborative projects but all along, have tried to spend to spend time now and again on this project and I refer to as Erosion, Sedimentation. It explores these two processes in the book form, so that as the reader pages through the book, they are physically causing erosion and sedimentation. The questions I have been asking myself through this project are many- how can one visually represent deep time? How can one physically cause processes of erosion and sedimentation? How does water shape land, and how does land shape water? Which is older? How can a book encapsulate all of this?

I started with a lot of natural dyeing. The main issue was, that I didn't really know who to naturally dye paper. So I started with learning how to dye. I loved the way the colour interacted with different fibers, and looked different on each type of paper. Luckily, Islamic-world papermaking practices taught me a lot about this. This is clove dye, layered with Indigo.

I think tried different variations on that theme- using the same handmade gampi consistently through the tests. I dyed when the clove was wet, when the clove was dry, and over-dipped with dyes, and left spaces to see what would happen. I am still in the process of figuring out what look I like the best, and what effectively communicates my idea- the slow processes that take place when water and soil meet.

Next, I wanted to layer physical erosion on to the pages. I decided to do this by cutting into each sheet, and layering them. I wasn't settled on the shapes, I just wanted to know how the paper would cut.

As the person would go through the book, they would be sedimenting on the verso, and eroding on the right. 

I think decided to take an another related idea I had been working on about boundaries, and what our planet would look like if human beings hadn't literally taken a ruler and pencil and divided up continents like Africa. What would physical boundaries look like then? These are the shapes of the highest points on the planet, which will repeat themselves through the pages, slowly shifting, eroding, and building, depending on which way you read the book. It is still a work in slow progress...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sitka Center for Art & Ecology

My next tour stop will be at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology from September 3-5. Sign up for the class here.

Women's Studio Workshop: Tour Stop 7

On the way there, we stopped at Bixler Press & Letterfoundry. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend stopping by to see this rare place. Contact Michael Bixler beforehand so that he can make time for you.

I was really excited to go back to WSW this summer to teach The Missing Link: Islamic Papermaking. I hadn't ever seen the space when it wasn't completely covered in snow, so it was almost like being there for the first time. The staff and interns were an enormous pleasure to work with, the environment and food was amazing, and the students were hard-working and deeply interested in the process, history and application of everything we learned in this 5-day intensive workshop.

He had so much lovely equipment, space, and of course, type! These are the cases of matrices to cast letters

Here is a matrix for 18 pt Garamond I believe. What a treat!

Women's Studio Workshop is a little haven in the middle of the woods and hills. Pictured here is their Art Farm where they grow fibers for papermaking life kenaf, and rye, and dye plants like indigo. That awesome person in the corner is their studio coordinator, Chris Petrone- one of the big reasons for the excitement of being back

I started the first day of class with a slide presentation about the history of papermaking, the tradition of papermaking in India, the process used in the 13th century and today, and how the politics of the nation changed the face of papermaking in India. 

The rest of the first and all of the second day were spent making paper. Each vat had a different fiber so that people could experiment. People definitely had favorites! We had a cotton/abaca blend, flax, fermented hemp, and raw hemp that we cooked and beat as part of class on the first day.

At the end of each day, we pressed paper the way it was pressed in the 13th century! It was quite a social exercise as you can imagine

For the second day we dyed some raw hemp and cotton/abaca in indigo and set up a vat

It made for a deep blue paper. I love how Lauren's shirt matched the vat that day

The third and fourth day were my favourite: dye and size days! As a class, we cooked avocado and yellow onion dye. I with a lot of help from the interns, had prepped black tea dye, logwood dye, cutch, osage orange, lac madder, madder, wheat size and egg white size for everyone to try out. We also had the indigo vat going for overdyeing the next day.

The papers always look so pleasing hanging up on the line to dry. We mordanted using a weak alum and homemade iron solution

Part of the fourth day, and most of the fifth day was spent burnishing the sheets to a high shine

Everyone's stack of paper, and the hands that made it!

We got a lovely range of shades, and everyone left with a hefty stack of beautifully finished papers

On our way back to Cleveland, we stopped at the Delaware Water Gap- a natural formation that is 500 million years old

Soap Box, PA: Tour Stop 6

Paper Think Tank is in the basement of a large building that is shared by other artists and performers

Its taken me way too long to post about this amazing tour stop, at Soap Box, in Philadelphia, PA. They did a little write-up on the class before hand. You can read about here.
This worked was hosted by Soap Box but took place in Nicole Donnelley's studio Paper Think Tank. Nicole is the president of IAPMA, an international organization of, for and by enthusiasts, professionals and students in the hand papermaking and paper arts field. If you aren't yet a member, I seriously encourage you to sign up!

We had almost one vat per person this time, which meant more paper!
It was a 1-day workshop so everyone made as much as they could.

People got the hang of it pretty quickly!

Philly is a wonderful city. I walked around on my last day there, and came across this lovely graffitti, or should I say, art.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Library Cafe

Thomas Hill, at The Library Cafe at Vassar, conducted a short interview with me after my lecture there. The podcast is posted on their website here.

What is Library Cafe? According to their website:

The Library Café is a weekly program of table talk with scholars, artists, publishers and librarians about books, scholarship, and the formation and circulation of knowledge. It is hosted by Thomas Hill, and can be heard on WVKR FM 91.3 Wednesday afternoons between 12:00 Noon and 1:00 p.m. ET (17.00-18.00 GMT) during the academic year.

Thank you for listening!