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.