Thursday, July 26, 2007

This has been a crazy busy week being a little short staffed so I haven't had time to post the 20 things I have in draft. But I had to get this work out there. Manabu Hangai's work has popped up on a number of blogs lately. Holy moly!--this work is absolutely amazing and eco-friendly too. His work focuses on recycling materials and imagery resulting from human interaction with nature into images of beauty. His primary material is the seaweed that proliferates on oyster bedsand and is discarded as a deterrent to shellfish growth, which he remakes into seaweed paper. The size and scale of this handmade paper artwork absolutely blows me away. See more of this fabulous work at

Modern Art Museum Tatebayashi

Kushiro Art Museum

Modern Art Museum Shiga

Sunday, July 22, 2007

When I got back to Arizona from grad school in the summer of 2004, I kept hearing about a book and paper arts group in Tucson called Paperworks. I was teaching an artists book class the following spring and we went down to see the Bound and Unbound exhibition they had at the Tohono Chul Park in Tucson. I was so shocked and pleased to see book and paper arts thriving in Arizona! Paperworks is the Sonoran collective located in Tucson Arizona, for paper and book artists. They provide educational and creative opportunities for all who work with and on paper. Paperworks promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of the paper and book arts through regular and special events. I joined their organization later that year and am constantly delighted at the quality of the member’s work and the quality of the programs they have.

I think one of the amazing things about this group is that they are totally independent—a very successful grassroots organization that is not affiliated with a university, library or other institution. That in itself is an amazing & daunting task. With running the day-to-day operations of The Paper Studio, it is difficult for me to get down to Tucson for their meetings which is so sad for me because they have really interesting programs and great attendance at their meetings. But I have met many of the members when they have trekked up to The Paper Studio and they really are a super group. Have a look at their website—their member’s gallery is terrific!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

“A Private Eye” Christine Weller, Vandyke, 7x10, 2004

Our friends at the Tilt Gallery are having their closing reception of Photography Re-Imagined a juried alternative & historical process show juried by France Scully Osterman, respected historian and modern master of the wet-plate collodion process on Friday, June 20th from 6 to 10pm.
The show consists of twenty-five photographers all working in alternative & historical methods internationally and nationally. France Scully Osterman selected 3 Winners and 5 Honorable mentions. One of the honorable mentions was our friend & fabulous photographer, Chris Weller! Congrats Chris!

The gals who run Tilt are fabulous--go and see the show or visit their website

“History Dress”, Ginger Owen, cyanotype/mixed, size 8, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Got some plain fabric? Want to make a fabulous fabric journal? Then come and take Babara Burton's fabric journal class this weekend!
Turn plain muslin into this!
Then turn the fabulous fabric into a book!
There are few spots left in this Saturday's July 21st class. Call 480-557-5700 to register. You can see the supply list online at

I finished my paper hat sculpture. What a long and winding road getting time to work on it. The base has various shades of cotton pulp which I sprayed with dye to make it look like moss. The best part of the hat was twisting sheets of wet abaca to make the vines--(I always save wet sheets of abaca in our fridge--beware of what is in a papermaker's refrigerator--could be mistaken for crepes!). After twisting, connecting and letting the abaca dry outside, I spritzed it with walnut dye. It turned into a branch right before my eyes! Now, I suppose it would have been easier to use an actual branch but this was way more fun.

The other part about the hat I like is it's absurd size--I tried to photograph a person wearing it but it kept hitting the ceiling causing the bird to fall out. It' probably over 2 feet tall. Oh yes...that is a real nest that my friend Lisa found in her yard.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Early this morning (like 5:30 am) I found this artist's website by happenstance, her name is Jade Pegler from Australia. I was totally intrigued, mesmerized and somewhat awed by the type of paper art and volume of work this artist produces. It is so compelling because she creates such interesting forms that are organic and mysterious. I was so absorbed that I found myself being late in getting to the studio so I didn't post her site this morning. Her work incorporates an eclectic range of techniques and found materials. Origami & crumpling, bookbinding, sculpture, quilting, drawing, painting, wax and text pages. Amazing.

Visit Jade Pegler's web site: Beware, you may lose track of time like I did! But it's worth the trip.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here are some pics of us working on building the exhibition.

Making ground birds

Making tons of recycled paper

Stringing birds (parents not exempt from helping!)

Building mail box and binoculars

Installing flying birds

Installing maps

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Migration of Junkmail--An Ornithological Study
July 1 to August 22, 2007

Tempe, Arizona

It's interesting how artists know so many other artists. But most of the time we do artwork on our own and maybe ha
ve an exhibition or exchange art with other artists and call it a collaboration. Yet, we don't really work with other artists to create art. At the beginning of the year, I got a call from the Tempe Arts and Culture folks asking if The Paper Studio would do an exhibition at one of their spaces located in the Tempe Post Office in downtown Tempe, right by the University. Now this is sort of a crazy space for exhibitions. Think--4 triangle window displays that are visible from the inside and outside. The show would be in July/August, the hottest time of the year (fade factor is a major issue). They said we could coordinate a group show or arrange to have one of our past shows exhibited.

Gary and I contacted three artists who we've known for a long time and told them about the exhibition and that each one could have their own window space and Gary & I would take the 4th space. We had 7 months to get organized. Three months went by and a few emails were exchanged--everyone was really busy and we decided we better meet for Chinese food to get the show squared away.
Somewhere between the orange chicken and schezuan green beans, the conversation shifted from exhibiting our own work to creating a site-specific installation created by the 5 of us specifically for the Post Office site. We decided to use junkmail because it is so common and once it is faded, we can just re-pulp the show! Sparks were flying during dinner and I don't think it was the moo shu pork! It is amazing that once we had a concept how the ideas kept rolling. We left the dinner all inspired and excited about the show.

We started working every Sunday as a group. Thank goodness for our papermaking studio to contain all the mess! Once we figured out how to tell a story and tie all the windows together, we got rolling--first a field trip to the site, gathering junk mail--lots of junk mail is thrown away in the post office garbages (not that we would know!) and making paper mache birds. Each of us had to take on separate tasks in order to accomplish the show on time (in addition to working every Sunday).

Chandon became the papermaker and die cutter for over 200 recycled junkmail sheets of paper (Donna was a great assistance in getting the pulp ready and helping make the paper). Gary became the builder and worked with Lisa fashioning a wire nest then making the mailbox. Lisa became the nest builder and clothes & hair stylist for our birdwatchers. Chris became our junkmail bird maker, paper mache-r and photographer. Cindy became the ground bird finisher, bookbinder and birdwatchers mache-r.
We ran right down to the week of the show to get all the work done. Chandon and Gary engineered pre-hanging all the birds so installation could be easier. Gary & Cindy with the assistance of Donna, spent a few hours installing the show.
The arts coordinator told us that they never had a group collaborate for a show or a site specific installation at the space. He said that in the past, they encouraged artists to work together but most prefer to show their own work. I totally understand that but I think artists are missing out on a great experience working in collaboration with other artists.
The work got stronger and more interesting because of all the perspectives and the different strengths in the group. Spreading out the responsibility for conception, creation and execution, is actually a big relief. Plus, it was genuinely fun to hang out with all these artists for several Sundays in a row (who can forget the yummy fake Whinchell's donuts?). We can't wait to find a venue next year for a 2nd round of collaboration.

You can see online pictures of the show by clicking on any of the photos.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hesperaloe parviflora=Red yucca=Birthday Hat
Donna who makes paper for us brought in her birthday hat for our exhibition and it is so fabulous--it is made out of hesperaloe or red yucca. It is kind of a joke between Donna and me because we have a 150lb bale of hesperaloe sitting in the studio courtyard. We'll be making hesper paper till the cows come home!

Notice this hat has the pods still attached. At our house, the round-tail ground squirrels shinny up the plant and steal the pods to eat the seeds inside. Below are a couple of photos of the little guys caught in the act of stealing the pods. It is pretty humorous because they are always engineering some scheme to reach the pods on the end of the plant, The key is to hang on for dear life and still maintain their balance. The Birthday Hats Exhibition will be online soon!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Speaking of type...

I had this idea for The Paper Studio's 2nd year (yay! we're turning 2!) where we would have assorted 2's floating in the background of the invite. Now, this is easy to do if you compose it digitally and get a plate made. But our letterpress guru, Mike O'connor decided to try something a little more unconventional.

First, he set varying shapes and sizes of the number 2 in a chase.

Then he poured plaster of paris around the type filling the chase. He set it outside to dry. Being that it was 110 degrees that day, it dried in about 15 minutes.

Once it was hardened and dry, he locked the plaster chase on the press bed for printing.

It printed like a dream--the pink print run first, then the brown print run second on our yummy teal paper by our talented papermaker, Donna.

To get the type out, Mike broke the plaster with a hammer. The type came out beautifully and no worse for the wear.

Mike has a way cool online newsletter call Galley Gab. It's about all things letterpress (I'm sure Mike will have a detailed overview of this process ;) Galley gab is a great source of info and photos. See

Veer's Type City is a creative way to explore "typographical landscape". Lovely. Take a tour.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

We have been teaching collage quite a bit lately. It's one of my favorite mediums to work in. The great thing about teaching, is that it gives you a chance to go back and look at fabulous work from the past.

Gary and I along with our collaborative artist friends took a moment off to go to the Phoenix Art Museum and see the film "How to Draw A Bunny". It's a film about Ray Johnson who has been called New York's most famous unknown artist of the Pop Art era. The fim documents his life as the founder of mail art and a collagist through interviews with other artists including Christo, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein and others.

I was really blown away with his work and how eccentric & indifferent he was. He was a fixture on the New York scene and heralded as an innovator by the heroes-to-be of Pop and Fluxus. His address book read like a pop/fluxus art who's who--Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem DeKooning, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminister Fuller, etc. But in the end, it seemed like no one really knew him. I'm sure you might recognize his work.

You can read more about him at The Estate of Ray Johnson.