Monday, December 23, 2013


There will be no updates this week due to the holidays and familial visitors.  Instead, enjoy the gingerbread village my wife and daughter made.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wishing in one hand...

Looks like I went over my self-imposed weekly posting rule again.  I didn't even realize it.  I've been going full steam on one piece trying to meet a deadline at the end of this week, and it's still not finished.  Two days of seasonal baking didn't help my workload, but it was nice to have treats to share.  Spent some time on Saturday hearing tales of Dean's Nepalese adventures.  And Aimee graciously braved the snow storm to join us for a round of Oellers' punch.

I realized today that there is such an enormous backlog of partially finished work in my studio that I'm going to have to make a punch-list and timeline to get this stuff wrapped up before the Spring semester begins.  Until next time, enjoy the overly-tweeked photo of the current work in progress.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Drill, baby, drill!

When I woke up I said, "I think I'll make today a lazy day...because it'll probably be the last one I have for about 7 months."  So far, this morning has yielded nothing but one technological innovation after another.  Take a look above.  I know...the image is a little dark.  Just think of it as one of those satellite spy photos.  Any idea what's occurring there?  Go on...take a guess.  Still no clue?  Sorry, but I'm not going to tell you.  You'll just have to take my joomchi workshop at CMA in June, where all tricks and discoveries will be revealed.  For now it remains the studio equivalent of a "state secret".  I wonder what else 2014 will bring?  Maybe something awesome (wink).

And here's a juicy little detail from a piece currently in the works.  Should be done within the week.  Should.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Odds & Ends

Went a little long between updates....not that there's much to update this time.  As usual, I have a dozen pieces going simultaneously.  The deadline for a show I was planning to enter has been extended, meaning I will definitely get that piece done in time.  There is a course proposal due soon, so that needs to be wrapped up.  Otherwise, there's nothing new this here are some odds and ends from documentation day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Documentation is a contact sport.

Yesterday was photo day.  I finally have whole images of all the joomchi work from the past eleven months...even some photos of the stuff that I just considered tests.  Below, is the full suite of A Mended History in Six Parts, in order.

But I think my favorite images from yesterday are these....

More photos tomorrow...but for now I have to get back to packaging things up for a mass-mailing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When you make a pot of tea, people have to drink it.

My hanji arrived from Paper Connection last week.  They were so nice to work with...extremely helpful, and I had my paper in two days.  Thanks, Paper Woman!

Above, the last of the joomchi cutwork.  Friday I awoke with a sore throat that promptly turned into a general malaise.  Unfortunately, that meant re-prioritizing my I didn't make the Kozo harvest at the Morgan.  Hopefully next season.

Regardless of illness, I still had to make stuff.  Above is a tray with custom-made cordage.  Below is a stack of momogami joomchi...enough for 18 pouches.

Below are a pair of thread boxes in another tray.  There are more things in various states of assembly...all in preparation for the photo shoot on Wednesday.

While reading this morning I came across a statement from Rikrit Tiravanija (it's today's title) that explains my relationship to these things I've been making this week...and it was a bit of a revelation to me.  I don't make useful things as a part of my studio practice.  I do make useful things as teaching examples (which is what all this recent effort is directed towards).  On the surface, I've thought of these endeavors in usefulness as a distraction from the pressing work of the other words, a drain on my reserves.  However, I've also noticed that I am not satisfied with these functional items unless they meet my personal aesthetic requirements.  I had made no correlation between the two until I read Rikrit's statement today...then it was as if the clouds had suddenly parted.  When I acquire things that are to be a part of my daily environment and routine, I choose things that meet my aesthetic standards...And when I am obligated to make useful things I am still applying those standards, although (until now) subconsciously.  I must make things that I would want to live with...even if they are only intended to play the role of exemplar.  Knowing this has refreshed me.

In other news:  Dean will be back from Nepal next week!  We will drink much good scotch as he regales us with tales of his Quartermain-like adventures in weirdness, made all the more weirder by the unusual situations that only Dean Birchfield can get himself into.  He still has four more days in which he could be jailed or contract hepatitis from a monkey, so we'll see how this story ends.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cut it out

Image updates for the cut-work joomchi sheets.  They're a bit dark, but I blame the rainy Fall morning.

Below, the last (for now) of the cut-work sheets in progress.  Many more hours of cutting ahead of me, but the results will be worth it.  I have to get these sheets done and converted into functional items, and wrap up five "in-progress" studio pieces within the next couple of weeks...all in time for a pre-Thanksgiving photo shoot.

Had a great meeting with Janice Lessman-Moss at Kent State yesterday.  It was nice to catch-up, and to check out the Textile Department's new home.  Looks like I'll be teaching a repeat pattern class for her in the Spring.  2014 is really starting to fill up.

Don't forget...the kozo harvest is happening this weekend at the Morgan.  Maybe I'll see you there.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been a full week since the last post.  I kept trying to finish "one more thing" before I posted, and the next thing I know it's Halloween.  Next time I'll just have to run with what I've got instead of holding out for juicy images.  Above is a few small pieces of joomchi that I whipped out this morning.  Most of the past week has been spent preparing sheets to make other things with.  All of the plain large sheets are done...the rest are cut-work (see the first one below, prior to processing) and a bunch of plain smalls for good measure.

I put together another momigami joomchi pouch...this time with embroidery floss rather than spun paper.  It's a lot easier to sew with, but definitely changes the character of the object.

And I turned the plaited piece and a plaid one into "wallets", with closures made from scraps of Therese's paper yarn.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm so tired.

Yesterday I woke up at three, and couldn't go back to sleep.  But I did manage to make a very nice piece of plaited joomchi (above, during assembly...below, drying) and a few formed bowls (not pictured, 'cause they need some finishing work).  Somehow I forgot to take a photo of the plaited piece after it was dry...but anyway, everything stayed where it was supposed to be courtesy of secret joomchi trick #37.

Today, I was a ripped from my slumber around 5 by the purple and green light show of a transformer exploding.  Needless to say we were without power until two o'clock.  There are many trees and shrubs decimated by the many inches of snow in our yard (There goes my weekend...).

So.....I took a shot at replicating a paper rain hat.  Overall, the pleating is correct, but the cowl-like form is not historically accurate.  Also, I'm unclear on how the two edges of the paper should meet.  I can only find two images of a reproduction, and neither show how it is seamed.  But, one source refers to it folding up like a fan when not in use, so I doubt that the connection is permanent.  The helper monkey modeled it.

Then I put together a few drawstring pouches (above) made of joomchi momigami and the spun paper I got from Therese.  They work fine, although I have doubts as to their day-to-day durability.  These three are essentially meant to serve as historical replicas.  I have a couple of other formats to knock out with needle and thread that should prove far more versatile.