BalanceTo be an artist, you really need to have 2 careers.  Many artists make the bulk of their income through a related or an unrelated additional career.

Paired with that is the constant pressure to perform at a level in the paid career that cannot easily be accomplished in a 40-hour work week. 

Many of us have our non-art-making career in an area that we are also passionate about and that we want to be successful at.

For me, I work for a conservation non-profit doing high-tech work.  I am passionate about both the conservation and the technology and data that I work with.  Keeping up with the technology takes time and energy.

So here is my question, how do we, as artists and as career professionals, balance these 2 careers in a way that keeps our supervisors happy, our work fulfilling and that does not burn us out?

My spun paperYesterday & today were days 3 and 4 of the 4 day workshop.  We learned about twining, persimmon dye, shifu... made more paper, learned some more book structures, etc.  I can't believe just how much stuff they packed into the 4 days and just how much stuff I learned and how many materials that I started.  I have a very nice stack of handmade papers, 3 skeins of paper yarn that I spun, a twined basket started, some kozo bark lace, some hanji that I started to 'felt' - sort-of a beginning step to joomchi.  So much stuff!

I'm pretty hooked on spinning paper into yarn on my drop spindle.  I dyed 2 of the skeins in persimmon dye today in class.  Tonight I finished spinning the 3rd skein that I intend to dye in my indigo vat later this week.  I also have enough of the same paper to spin 2 more skeins of yarn... so then I can decide how I want to weave it (aka - make shifu).

Adding cottonwood seed to the beaterDay 2 started with rinsing the wild blue/yellow flag iris stems fiber and cottonwood seed fiber that we had cooked the day before.  Then, we went into the beater room at the Morgan to beat both batches of fiber to get them ready for sheet formation.  This was my first time seeing these parts of the process and while the beating process it really loud, it is also pretty cool.

Next up was more papermaking/sheet pulling.  We still had vats of abaca, flax and gampi available for pulling sheets.  They mixed the new fibers with abaca or flax (need to find out which) to make them better for sheet pulling.  I think I pulled around 15 new sheets today including some where I double-couched 2 different fibers together. 

After lunch we put the sheets into the sheet dryers - so tomorrow morning, we should have more dry, flat sheet of paper :)

We also spent time in the afternoon making bark lace from the kozo that we had cooked and rinsed.

One of the last activities of the day was cutting lotka paper into a continuous strip to use to spin into yarn that we will then weave with.  This spun, woven paper is called Shifu.

Tomorrow we will have a little more time for making paper and will hopefully actually learn to spin the paper and prepare a way to weave it.

I'm sure they have more up their sleeves for us too - including walnut ink, persimmon dye, and who knows what else? :)

Plenty more photos from today here.

Morgan GardenToday was the first of 4 days of the Fiber Paper Textile Book Spirit class at the Morgan being co-taught by Aimee Lee and Velma Bolyard.  Today we processed some local seed and leaf fiber to make paper.  Pulled sheets of paper from already prepared pulp (Gampi, Flax, and Abaca), learned some simple folded book structures, learned how to turn hanji into cord as a preliminary step to making baskets with it, chatted, learned from each other, got a peek at the expanding Morgan garden, and had an all around lovely day!  I am very much looking forward to the next 3 days of class.  Tomorrow we are going to beat the fibers we cooked today (blue/yellow flag iris leaves/stems and cottonwood seeds) and learn how to turn our hanji cords into baskets... and more stuff I'm sure too.

More photos from today here including photos documenting the steps to cut down a sheet of hanji in preparation of cord-making

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