Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Upcoming Papermaking Workshops - San Jose and Half Moon Bay for July!

Japanese Style Papermaking
Kitsune Arts Studio

415 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA
Sunday, July 17, 10 AM - 4 PM
Cost: $80
For more information, or to register for the class, please email me here.

Japanese-Style Papermaking
School of Visual Philosophy

425 Auzerais Ave. San Jose, CA
Saturday, July 23, 10 AM - 4 PM
Cost: $85, plus $15 for materials.
For more information, or to register for this class, please visit here.

In these workshops, students will be introduced to the process of making Japanese paper. Japanese paper, often incorrectly referred to as rice paper, is known for its great strength while appearing delicate and gossamer-thin. Students will learn the basics of preparing their own fiber, hand beating, and forming sheets in the traditional nagashizuki method. Students will take home wet sheets to dry at home with instructions. Please note – this technique involves a lot of water, and students will get wet. Please wear shoes and clothing that can get wet. Participants should also bring a roll of paper towels to carry this wet sheets home on.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Weekend Paper

The title of this post is a nod to Helen Hiebert's Sunday Paper posts, which are of course a nod to printed newspaper traditions. With the closing of my school year and two solo shows and some fall projects coming up (stay tuned!), I've been metaphorically juggling and spinning plates and walking a tightrope all at once, so, as usual, this post is a bit belated.

The first weekend of June was the opening at E.M. Wolfman for Sub Set, a collective of papermakers Rebecca Redman, Hope Amico, Alyssa Casey, and Elizabeth Boyne.

Sub Set has been working collaboratively, getting together as a group and trading materials and unfinished projects, exchanging them between as a collective "what if?" On the night of the opening, I recall asking one of the artists who made one of the pieces, and the answer was that someone made the paper and then another person drew on it and then another person....etc. To be more clear, authorship of the show was a collaborative whole.

Which gave the show an incredible energy. The artists are exploring the concept of workmanship of risk, the only limitations are the materials they had in front of them at the time. As someone who collaborates frequently myself, I can see how these experiments are opening these artists up and building a momentum for future possibilities.

The artists will be running a fundraising campaign later this year to raise money to purchase a Hollander beater - stayed tuned to their website to find out how you can contribute.

The following day was one of the ProArts Open Studios weekends, and I swung by Julia Goodman's to see some of her new large cast paper works in person.

(That's the floor in the bottom right corner of the photo above; these pieces are about five feet tall).

These pieces are rugged and topographical; she allows snippets of the bed sheets and clothing she uses to appear as reminders of her origin material. All her colors are from the clothing she uses, no added pigment or dyes.

Some of them, particularly her smaller pieces like this one, are almost a cross between pulp painting and casting.

I couldn't help thinking how Julia references the origins of her materials. They feel intimately connected to the earth, via the plants that grew her fibers, the soil that nourished the plants. Recently I've been told that the Bay Area has an enormous amount of waste clothing choking our landfills, with the additions of nylon and other petroleum-based fibers into our wearables, they aren't breaking down like they will if they were solely natural materials. Julia's work interrupts this cycle, turning waste fiber into art.

Some of her beet papyrus pieces were also on display:

Reflecting on these two exhibitions, first and foremost, I'm excited by the directions my papermaking community is exploring. Further, I was also struck by how much of what my fellow papermakers do is informed by community and collaboration (Sub Set, Julia's work with Creative Explored), and how coming together with others is such a catalytic force in this medium. The same fibers that make up paper also bring papermakers, new ideas, and new energies together.

Friday, May 20, 2016

More new prints

This series continues. I'm calling the entire series Division, named for Division Street. The series is becoming about the contrast between gentrification and impoverishment.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Some new pieces recently completed. Woodcuts on Sekishu, chine colle'd onto found wallpaper. Click on the images for enlarged view. Inspired in part by my recent pieces for NIAD.

To see some of the making of these prints, check out my Instagram page.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Win Win 4 at NIAD

NIAD Art Center has a benefit to support their programs every year, called Win Win. Since they started four years ago, I've donated every year. Not only is it a great cause to support, the chance to do these little experiments each spring always really opens up some ideas that find ways into my current work in progress. This year was no exception.

Actually, I think I like these more than any other year. The pieces are called Distance I-III, with I above and II and III in descending order below. Click on the images for a larger viewing size.

NIAD has some great exhibitions coming up - including a show curated by Robert in March, and a solo show by yours truly in their Annex Gallery in June!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dipped versus Wrapped

In papermaking, there is a type of paper sculpture that uses "overbeaten" abaca. This term, which some say should really mean that the fiber is beaten "just enough," refers to the fibers spending a long time in the beater, sometimes as long as 6-8 hours. This long beating allows the fibers to absorb a great deal of water, and when draped over an armature made of wire or reeds, the fibers shrink dramatically. I swoon over sculptures like this. Papermakers like Rhiannon, Megan, and Helen are amazing at using this technique their work.

Despite assisting Rhiannon when she has taught this technique, I haven't explored it that much in my own work. I've been more a cast paper person myself. Rhiannon usually has students start by making small armatures to use, before working up to something larger. During one of our workshops, she mentioned when she started exploring this technique that she made a whole series of little forms to see what high-shrinkage abaca could do. I decided to try this myself.

Two techniques for working with armatures and high shrinkage abaca are dipping and wrapping. When dipping, an armature is made, then dipped in the vat and fiber is allowed to collect over the structure. When formation aid is added to the vat, the paper sculptor can dip multiple times to build up more fiber.

Wraping requires a papermaker to pull sheets first, then press them. The pressing gives the handmade paper almost a "wet-noodle" quality, so it's easily handled while draping over an armature. Wire and reeds will give different affects, and there is a whole variety of gauges and reeds to select from that will also vary the end result.

I decided to make pairs of similar forms to try both dipping and wrapping, and see which I liked better. I wasn't too exacting, so there are some differences in the forms, but they were close enough for my purposes. The armatures are made from 24 gauge wire from Dick Blick. I chose that wire because I had it around, and after seeing the results, I think they might have been more interesting with something finer.

I also realized that I failed to photograph these with something for scale. The pieces below are all around the size of the palm of my hand, so not that big. For the four photos below, the wrapping is on the left, and the dipped is on the right. For the fifth, my tired brain confused this order, so the wrapped is on the right. Click on the images to see them larger.

A few I dipped and immediately didn't like the results, so just ended up wrapping them, like these:

While playing with the wire, I ended up coming up with this form, which after the experiments above I chose to wrap. I'm not sure what I think of it right now, or even if it's a finished piece or a study for something larger, not sure.

These forms were inspired in part by Nami Yamamoto and Allison Smith. The cut paper projects linked seem to me about how the act of isolating an object transforms it into a specimen, a representative, or a fetish object. Yet, it's out of context. So much of my work is always about site, location, hereness, considering the opposite direction is raising some interesting questions that I find myself thinking about.