Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Evening of the Arts

A Magical Gala Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of AN EVENING OF THE ARTS

An Evening of the Arts Presented by Island School Council for the Arts, Friday, September 24, 2010 at Historic Honey Horn Plantation 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Tickets $125.00. To reserve call ISCA: (843) 681-5381 Arts Gala Fundraiser with live Art Auction. Proceeds benefit Artists in Education Program. ISCA on facebook.

"Little Women" one of three pieces I created several years ago using discarded book parts, wax and other found objects will be one of many art works auctioned off for this benefit. Mira Scott of the Picture This Gallery on Hilton Head Island is the organizer of the event.

This is a difficult piece to photograph. The two other companion pieces are privately owned and one was pictured in a New York Times art review by Helen Harrison. The three pieces have been successfully shown in several NY galleries and I continue to "borrow" (on loan from:) from the owners for showings. I love these pieces and have recently purchased canvases to create smaller similar pieces. Brown craft paper is glued to the canvas then wax applied along with book parts and other found objects.... this (pictured above) is 30"x36". All in the set use wax dipped, multiple pages from a decayed book - Little Women by Alcott (I have 5 sisters - 6 girls !) so this piece may have subconsciously come from that fact. It's more about women's equality... I think.

a print of a crow with a chicken bone is caged behind wire screening

Blue, Blue, Indigo

Indigo (indigofera tinctoria) was a huge cash crop for South Carolina between 1740 and 1790 actually changing the economics of the whole state. This was replaced with cotton. Remains of the plantings of Indigo can still be found in my area which make finding this plant and working with it an interesting project. It seems that indigo (dye) is present in all parts of the plant - leaves, stem and root. The processing is very unique and difficult but not unlike making paper from plants. I was wondering if anyone had ever tried this ?

my cloth drying on a saw palmetto plant

I attended a workshop at The Coastal Discovery Center in the Honey Horn Plantation Preserve of Hilton Head given by Karen Hall of Clemson University. What fun.... there were at least 25 crafts persons attending, most dressed in some form of indigo! (blue jeans)... We all made a decorated cloth and hung it to dry while taking a walk to Honey Horn's indigo garden. A very unimpressive plant... looks like a big weed! So now I'm on the lookout for this growing wild but bought seeds at the gift shop just in case.

other designs (most tie dyed)

indigo dyeing under live oaks, hanging Spanish moss and palmetto palms

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friends of Dard Hunter Conference

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (founded in 1912)is hosting the Friends of Dard Hunter 2010 Paper Conference this year in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Conference - October 18th-24th

- October 19th-21st workshops
- October 21st-24th meeting

I can't wait. These conferences bring together national and international hand papermakers for a few days for workshops, lectures, art shows, new ideas, tools, theories, master and novice papermakers and bookbinders, scientists, educators - all anxious to share their knowledge. All committed to keeping the tradition of the art of hand papermaking alive.

I will be attending with my long time friend and artist, Madeline Gary of Charlotte, NC. Part of the fun is chatting on the drive to Tennessee while anticipating new found knowledge like making bone folders from bone and antlers (Jim Croft demonstration) or Explorations with Encaustic (Catherine Nash), Miniature Books (Peter Thomas), Clay moulds for paper casting (Jon Hook)- on and on. The ride home equally exciting as we discuss it all and try to remember what we learned and what we will put to use. This conference is the highlight of each year in papermaking.

I will enter a piece for the art show at the conference "Into the Woods" (in progress)

more copper sunset papers

mixing sticks

making my favorite tools for the FDH Trade Fair along with other tools and papermaking "things"... walnut hulls for dye, feathers - as well as stacks of unusual papers. I take a table almost every year as a way of meeting new members or visitors and to let everyone know what new projects I'm working on.... not a money maker by any means...just a fun way to socialize.
Each mixing stick has a whittled handle and tip that is hammered into a drilled hole in the "X" then sanded - no glue or nails... each unique and crafted to feel good in your hand.

I use one for each vat of pulp I'm using, especially when working with children's classes. This prevents little hands from cross contaminating the vats of different colored pulps... and fun for the children as well.

sea grass, banana, copper

still making more - sunset copper

Copper Sunsets and Paste Papers

Last night there was a most beautiful "copper" sunset - it looked as if all of Bluffton was ablaze ! The next morning at 7 am the sunrise was equally as beautiful... everything coppery - hmmmm.
I was about to enter my studio for a day of paper decorating - maybe copper paste papers or copper marbleized papers for books or buttons ?

7 am sunrise from my front door in the lush SC low country

I was still thinking of my conversation with my daughter the night before and about how very special old handmade books have the privilege of touching and feeling work from so many centuries before..... inspiring.
My daughter received a gift of an 18th century Italian prayer book dated 1750 with gorges marbleized end papers. Not sure if she was reading the roman numerals correctly, I got out my French book, handmade and water marked papers, gilded, dated 1782 also with beautiful marbleized papers. Our serendipitous conversation was held between the copper sunset and copper sunrise.

title page (French book) 1782

gilt pages and marbleized endpapers
(glue on leather seeping through the end papers around the edges)

paste papers drying

I started working with my recycled photo and sea grass fiber papers and played with metallic copper acrylic and wheat paste. By the end of the day I had a line full paste papers drying and I loved the results. My very own sunset in my studio.

paste paper buttons

These are some of the cards I'm making for the keepsake program for a paper conference in Gatlinburg, TN. Friends of Dard Hunter I used the dried copper papers for some buttons,(my favorite so far) the yellow paper is dyed with turmeric the rest are banana, corn husk and cotton with commercial dyes. I need to make lots more copper or rather "Sunrise" papers...ideas welcome !

Monday, August 16, 2010

Its Official

Classes at Moon Tide Paper Studio

While there have been many visitors, an unofficial class to christen the studio, demonstrations and collaborations, this past week I had my first official student- 7 year old R.J. who brought along his mom and grandmother. A 90 minute class netted many wonderful papers. R.J. double dipped, used shaped deckles and added leaves and insect wings collected for the class.

R.J. demonstrating his favorite tool......the mixing stick !

He was content to "hog the slurry" by hand but not sure he wanted to put his hands in the vat after the addition of banana skin and sea grass pulp.

R.J. proudly looking over his creations.

After discussing various ways to dry his paper and viewing samples, R.J. decided to air dry all. He returned to show me the finished work - and I think I may have found a new studio assistant. He will use his best sheet to write "What I did this summer" for his first day back at school on August 16th.

The next class !

A day later I had 8 students (all home schooled) visit Moon Tide Paper Studio for a one hour class. Most had the same reaction to the vat of pulp that R.J. had - yuck !- once the cotton pulp was darkened by banana skin and sea grass pulp... but after a few twirls with the mixing stick fear subsided. It was at least 100 degrees and about 115 heat index !!! We piled into the studio (air conditioned) for a long talk and all participated in a detailed demo -BUT- then we HAD to go out to the deck to form the sheets on felts. We then pressed the posts in my favorite press- always a show stopper. We ran back to the studio (WHEW ) to transfer the paper for the trip home, picture taking and cooling off. They were a wonderful group, worked so well together...all helped each other and all very creative. What fun. Anxious to hear how their papers turned out.

Wonderful smiling faces, next class : hand beating plant fibers !

Paper pressed into plaster button molds !

Still experimenting. (maybe a woodblock print? pulp painting ?) Trying to find the right combination of paper, button image, and medium to use for 200 small pieces of work for the keepsake event at the Friends of Dard Hunter Paper Conference in Gatlinburg TN at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. ( October 18-24, 2010
Can"t wait..........

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's About Time

400 year old live oak, "The Secession Tree", Bluffton, SC

I've been out of touch for most of the summer due to an illness and death in our family and other situations requiring my presence in both Florida and New York.

I neglected this blog and stopped creating art and making paper. Time just seemed to fly by and at the same time stand still.

Finally, back home in Bluffton and in a better frame of mind, I attended a "celebration" under this tree (on private property not usually available for view). On July 29th, 1844, 500 residents met to discuss secession from the Union. They were not successful until the 1860's and then of course the Civil War was declared- most of the houses surrounding this tree were burned down. Such a beautiful peaceful place... that had borne witness to such anger,violence and tragedy and how quickly everything passes and changes. I thought about how little time we are actually here and wondering about my contribution to society. This tree was already 150 or so years old during the American Revolution ---and here I stand admiring its beauty thinking about "time" Also thinking about the beautiful trees we've destroyed for paper and progress and recommitted myself to making/using only tree free paper whenever and wherever possible and recycling often.

Its about time I start moving forward again and get back to work.

"Button Nightmare"

I may have been out of touch for awhile but have managed to show some work. Fittingly this small piece is about recycling .

"A.R.T. Art Recycled from Trash" was a juried exhibition held in May at the Picture This Gallery on Hilton Head Island SC . ( It exhibited work made with at least 75% of recycled manufactured products that would be going to the dump. In my piece the paper is recycled coffee filters, embedded bottle caps and paper buttons in a re- purposed frame covered in book pages with ink running into the crevices. I intend to make a much larger piece, unframed, hung on nails .... like a shed skin. On my to do list eventually.

"In The Trenches"

"In The Trenches"

In the Trenches - my book collaboration with Pat Sahertian ( has been traveling...

It was shown at the ABECEDARIAN GALLERY in Denver, CO, in July, in a show "Interior Markings" ( This gallery focuses on book arts.

"TRENCHES" could also be seen at the WILLO NORTH GALLERY in Phoenix AZ in July as well since we have an edition of 3. It was shown with UAC ...Urban Artists Collective... a very exciting group of artists. (

Looking for more book shows...... we've had excellent reviews of this book and hope to someday find a home for at least one of the editions.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to a Large Format

Banana skins, oak leaves, black walnut hulls, bubbling pure abaca

"Field in Four Seasons" "Woodland in Four Seasons"

Nature's scraps, seeds, leaves , sticks and twigs

These large wall hangings were created with the pulp made from the found material at each site (oak leaves in the woodland, grasses from the field) each site contained a large variety of material so I had many colors and textures of pulp to "paint" with. Each represents the life cycle of the environment, winter, summer spring and fall.

These and the "Untitled" above are large... approx. 3'x4' wall hangings created in a large deckle box. All are left unframed so that the paper reacts to its environment and cockles and twists accordingly -interesting to watch the changes. The different pulps contract, shrink and relax according to their own properties within each piece as well. ...a mini environment. These have been shown in several galleries hanging without protection with great success.... paper tougher than you'd think.

With the studio finally set up, kinks worked out I'm looking forward to making many more large pieces and back to a regular routine. Finally comfortable in my new home ... (I still might like to play with paper buttons occasionally)

"Oracle Bones", artist book, paper, wax, found objects

"The Promise", artist book, paper and seeds, mulberry twigs

"Corporate Verses", shredded currency embedded in mulberry paper, traditionally bound.

The above artists books ... the top two are pageless and rather large compared to the "Button Tale" series. I'm just passionate about making books - well, as a conceptual artist this seems to be the best way to express myself. The "Oracle Bones" is my favorite "child", the "Promise" is in a private collection in Connecticut, and "Corporate Verses" is in the Crane Paper Gallery collection in Mass. I have plans for many more...I actually have a book of books to be sculptures.....


"Treasure's Gate"

These large pieces are cast paper...always a fun way to use left over pulp treated with a heavy sizing. Just one damp left over sheet of out I'll cast anything not moving.

"Procession "- was cast on a large wood block and colored with oil pastels, "Treasure's Gate" was cast over a 19th century fireplace grate in my possession. I found many objects hidden behind the paint encrusted cast iron grate - gold rings, bracelets, medals, watch fob, chloroform (?), dominoes, pins. Pat Sahertian ( has done an amazing extensive art project based on these finds, check Pat's blog and look for TREASURES. I will also, one of these days, base a book on this find.

I love casting paper over or in anything (plaster molds etc) the dimensional feel of the paper brings it into a whole new art form...sculpture. Its no wonder paper is my choice of medium. There isn't anything you cant do with it....even eat it (John Cage's Edible Papers) !
sooooo lots of work ahead.....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BUT FIRST, Finishing up

A Book About Death.

Before I get started on my larger pieces, I haveto finish up started projects. A Book About Death ( is a traveling juried postcard show originating in NYC, the idea of Matthew Rose, which then went on to MOMA Wales, UK, where the above was included. The current show "ABAD-OMAHA" is in Omaha NE (August) another will be at CW Post College Campus LI NY and another at Willo North Gallery in Phoenix AZ. ( Each location asks for artists to submit a work about death. It has been hugely successful and generated enough entries to fill whole galleries. Very interesting to see the different responses.

New thoughts about death.

After our lose this summer, I thought more about the spiritual rather than the physical side of death. I'm experimenting with plaster molds of religious icons and talismans, objects of comfort, for casting paper for the next ABAD show in NY. I love making plaster molds - even made some of buttons - not sure why yet ! hmmmm

Photographs recycled, mangled images, grey slurry.

I had the good fortune to meet a conscientious photographer and artist, Mark Tierney (, who gave me several large imperfect works on very fine paper to recycle, enough for 3, 2lb beater loads- tree free rag paper. Mark uses large format photography with a unique printing method to photograph woodland settings that will take your breath away. I hated to rip up these beautiful images but used the pulp to experiment with sizings. I usually use cornstarch but used potato starch (Staylok) this time and found it much better for my purpose. I will be making small sketchbooks and journals for the Friends of Dard Hunter Paper Conference in Gatlingborough TN in October and also using the papers to finish my series of "Button Tales" accordion books. Almost done !

Grey, Tan, Thick, Thin, Smooth, Tooth

Some of the photograph pulp papers. I prefer the air dried papers but the forced air dried has a wonderful finished "tooth" for pencil work....very happy with this. I added some of my beloved sea grass to the pulp for texture and color, the grey was just too much like cardboard. I hope I don't loose my notes... I rarely make the same paper twice from memory...organize, organize,organize.


Does a bear you know what in the woods ?

Early this spring, ever mindful of locating vegetation for all stages of paper/book making, I went for a hike in upstate Downsville NY where my son just bought 11 acres of mountaintop land in the Catskills with a log cabin. I found a large stand of blackberry bushes intending to gather the canes to use for dye or possible fiber source for paper but thought better to leave this task to my next visit when we came upon this (pictured). The bears were out of hibernation with young and looking for food. We brusquely walked back to the cabin.

Little visitors, little hands, little pieces of banana skin paper.

Still trying to set up some children's classes for papermaking and have a list of neighbors who are waiting for cooler weather to bring the kids over.....the heat index has been as high as 121 with very high humidity ..impossible to stay outside where most of the beating and drying happens and almost impossible to dry anything. Again, why did I think i could make paper in the steamy South ????

Deck finished, water, sink, air conditioning installed !

Managing my space better...set up my favorite tool on the portable press. This was made by an intern I had several years ago (Eileen Sackman- a wonderful artist) from scrap wood and plans I received at a Friends of Dard Hunter Conference generously handed out by Jana Pullman ( who makes the most beautiful tools and books. This has become the most exciting feature of my class as each student gets a chance to operate the press...very exciting to watch the water flow using a 2 ton car jack !

"Emily and Me" Poems by Emily Dickinson and Faces by Ellen Beinhorn I met Ellen at the inauguration meeting of the Emily Dickinson International Society meeting here in South Carolina and have been a dedicated fan of both Emily and Ellen ever since. I was able to attend the exhibit "Emily Dickinson's Garden, The Poetry of Flowers" at the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx in June. Some of Emily's favorite flowers pictured above. I was inspired by Emily's herbarium (popular pastime in the mid 1800's) on exhibit at the Garden's library and thought how valuable a herbarium of plants currently used for papermaking would be !

So many ideas so little time .....................

I will also be working with Ellen to create and bind small little single signature books of handmade paper to resemble the 40 "Fascicles"...little gatherings bound with string... that Dickinson created for hundreds of her poems, hidden and found after her death by her sister. These will be used by Ellen's poetry students at her classes at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Branch in the fall.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Accordions in Kalamazoo and Trenches return

My button book is finally done and hopefully it's only one of many to come "Button Tales, Myths, Superstitions Vol. I MMX". This accordion book has been entered into a show at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center in Michigan. "The Illustrated Accordion" April 2nd - 30th. What fun to work on it- thoroughly enjoyed making this and envision several more in the button series. The superstition illustrated claims that you must hold on to you buttons when passing a hearse or cemetery to keep the deceased from taking you with them ! (I love that 2010 is written MMX in Roman numerals)

The book is wrapped with a paper band with a Velcro closure...and sewn paper button. The cover is flax dyed with walnut hull handmade by "Cave Papers". All the buttons are made from my handmade papers.

Each foldout page is a different shaped headstone with buttons attached in random patterns. To see more books in the show go to the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center's flickr page, many amazing creations.

"In The Trenches", an illustrated hand made book about NY's Hart Island, finally returned home from the Atlanta Mixed Media/Collage Show at the Gallery at Paper Mill Road in Sandy Springs GA...... and with an award of Merit. We are very pleased with the way this adventure turned out. Pat Sahertian and I put our hearts and souls into the making of this book. Looking for the next show to display it.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Buttons and Trenches

GREAT NEWS....."In The Trenches" the book collaboration with myself and Pat Sahertian is finally completed... all 3 volumes and one will be shown at:
The Gallery at Paper Mill Village
"Atlanta Mixed Media/Collage Exhibit"
March 5th- March 26th 2010

We spent an enormous amount of time in preparing this dedication to all those buried in a potters field - everywhere- those that go unnamed and unremembered. We traveled from Phoenix to Bluffton SC and Bluffton to Phoenix - experimented with many different pulps to get the paper for the pages and covers right - spent hours and many back and forth emails, video's and mailings to get our images right and then join all together. Two artists (originally from NY ) now in the South and the West with different ideas and techniques came surprisingly close to one uniform piece of work in this unique handmade book. (can be viewed on YouTube)

"In The Trenches" is specifically about Hart Island New York and the conditions that have existed for more then 100 years. The subject of this book is our reaction to a web site we came upon a year ago... "The Hart Island Project" with Melinda Hunt ... please refer to her web site for detailed information. However, the sentiments apply to all potter's fields. It's a tough subject.

We are very excited to have the opportunity to show this book ! Yea!

So exciting !!!!... I've found a way to make buttons from books.... and usable buttons at that ! To be used for closures, decorations, jewelry...... sweaters, vests - anything!!!! I'm just going to call them BOOK BUTTONS ... divided into... poetry, mystery, prayer, historical... math equations, music - different languages - just about anything printed in a book. This a very new project and seems like this will consume about every waking moment for awhile. I'm still making buttons from my hand made plant fiber papers - banana skins being the best so far.

I guess I can always find shark teeth along the beach in the fall !!!

What do you think ? Cute? Interesting... email me !

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Buttons and more Buttons

Paper Buttons!! How wonderful! I've been planning to construct a Button Book for some years now but never quite satisfied with what I had sketched out. Of course I love buttons, doesn't everyone? But how best to make an artist's book on the subject?

I found a small punch for paper buttons then a larger one and couldn't stop making them. I brought the first few (smaller ones) to the Dard Hunter Paper Conference in Atlanta last October along with sea grass paper from my new Moon Tide Paper Studio and found the attendees were almost more interested in the buttons. I'm going to make bags of them for the next conference. I tested all my paper and found that the banana skin and corn husk papers were best especially if dipped in wax. So my button book will be of paper and wax. I finally feel I have the right idea for this little passion of mine.

So cute I could just about eat them.

I've always been drawn to buttons and never quite realized how much - until I packed up the house last year for my big move from New York to South Carolina. I had jars of buttons, bags and boxes of buttons and a bowl of white shell, bone and glass buttons.

I found buttons all over the place... could never pass a notions department or button shop. I spent many years on Long Island digging in old dumps for bottles and found the most fantastic things along with bottles dating back to the 1850's. One of those small little extras were bone and glass and shell buttons, many in this bowl pictured above. I found metal buttons, a little rusty but fun. I have horn buttons, coconut shell buttons and bakelite buttons, cloth buttons, fur and leather buttons, rhinestone buttons and knotted buttons and clay buttons but until now NEVER a paper button... Are there other closet button people out there? Truly did not know I was collecting them until I had to gather them in one place. Wow... but fun.

I have to finish my copy of "In The Trenches" about Hart Island one of an edition of three in collaboration with Pat Sahertian. Pat's copy is finished, our joint edition done and on YouTube but mine still needs more work. Our primary goal for the next few months is to promote the book and find some book art shows to exhibit them. Then I can have fun with the buttons !

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Banana Skins and Coffee Filters

Holiday cards are done and mailed, this year's wrapping gathered and stored, new projects and thoughts for a new book beginning to form .... saving coffee filters and banana skins for making a beautiful rich dark textured paper - several ideas for this as well... just need enough bananas for a vat full of pulp !! etc etc etc. My mind is racing and I'm looking forward to a very productive new year.

The word is out among my neighbors that a papermaker lives in the area and requests for visits and classes are trickling in. We commissioned our neighbor, Rob, to build my studio along with other neighbors in the construction field last year. I invited Rob and his family here to help make the first official sheets of paper in my "Moon Tide Paper Studio" (actually I should call it a cottage... it's so perfect) word spread from there. I guess I will have to be ready to "go public" in my new community of Bluffton. There are still some kinks in the studio layout – we're adding a deck and work table alongside the building for cooking and hand beating fiber out doors since I use the studio for bookbinding as well.... less mess inside and our beautiful weather pulls at me to work outside. I checked with town officials and there is no restriction on collecting sea grass (spartina) from the beaches here. So full speed ahead on MOON TIDE PAPER for the new year.

TIP: for those looking to teach classes - home schooled groups of children are always looking for something different - papermaking and studio visit is perfect for this setting.

My year long project with friend Pat Sahertian - "In The Trenches" a book about Hart Island Potter's Field is ready for its debut ... looking for artist's book shows to exhibit this amazing book. Pat has details of this book on her Studio PS blog. I will eventually have detail photos of the pages as well.