Monday, May 26, 2014

The "I" in PBI.

Bits, and my Ox-Bow Anchovy Tin.
When I turned on my car earlier today, the Simon and Garfunkel song 'America' was on, and the exact lyric that found me was "Michigan seems like a dream to me now...."

Yeah, so, it has been a minute or two since I last posted anything on my blog. My Kickstarter project was successfully funded (thank you all again!) and I brought my honeybees home at the end of April, and they are happy and busy in my garden.

And then I went to Michigan.

It was two weeks that held a year's worth of learning, bonding, and adventures. Words and pictures are inadequate (or at least really, really difficult!) to capture the experience. So I have to limit this to a few highlights of the very, very full experience.

The Paper and Book Intensive (held at Ox-Bow, on the edge of water in Michigan) is a great event: in scale, in organization, and in the generosity of the participants. There were about 70 of us there, and all manner of bookish artists like me, conservationists, historians, librarians..... It was a workshop experience, but also felt like a conference, because of the specificity and some common interests among the participants. And it was international, with participants from Brazil, Japan, Holland, Germany, and Canada. (I think I got 'em all!)

102+ sheets of handmade paper.

My dad tells me I have paper-maker ancesters on the Moode side of my family. Go fig.

I made paper for the first time ever, and was in the papermaking studio both sessions with Ann Marie Kennedy and Kerri Cushman, two women who I am delighted to know. We worked with many fibers and techniques; honestly, my brain still feels like it might explode when I think of all the things I could (can? will?) do with papermaking. In the extremely full last day in Kerri Cushman's second session class, we did make books out of the paper we had made. Yes, it is thrilling.

Books happened very fast, and I let content crawl into them very quickly and without over-thinking it. I actually have yet to revisit my books since I've been home. I will also be going through my paper more thoroughly soon, and taking photos of individual sheets.

Speaking of content and thinking-on-paper, the first session I was also in Ken Leslie's class exploring toroidal (donut-shaped) book structures. I can't promise I'm going to use this structure in the future, but it was an excellent class for me to think about how format relates to content, and you know....I thought about circles and loops and cycles a lot, which is what I'm usually thinking about anyway. We also had the challenge of drawing on a page of a toroidal book each day we were there, and loving daily projects, I made a delightful record of bits of my experience there.

there. then.

Also, the cupola.
 Cupola of the old inn, where I could have easily spent more time sitting alone and making up stories. If I go back to PBI next year, I wonder if they'd just let me stay up there.

One sunset at the dock, the evening at the end of the first session.
 There was canoeing, hiking, star-gazing, camp-fires, poker games, whisky-drinking, late-night toast, and more laughter than I am used to. I found one deer tick on me. I saw the swans fly, which proved they were real. I walked into a glass door on one of the last days, because I was that tired. I fell in love with everybody, and cried at them all when I said goodbye.

Emma, Marianne, Woody, Michelle, Mary, Austin, Pablo, & Kevin.
 Being a scholarship student was fantastic, and I feel honored to have been included in the group pictured above. The eight of us lived in this little 1890's house, with no indoor plumbing, no insulation, and a charming smoke alarm that went off at 3:40 AM one morning. The coldest night was in the mid-30s. Honestly, it was great.

Happy Michelle on the shore of Lake Michigan.
On my journey home I went antiquing, ate pho, and stayed a night with Bonnie Stahlecker, which was a perfect transition back to real life. I am blessed to have come home to a place as beautiful, but differently so. The feeling of being gone longer than two weeks is amplified by the fact that I came home to a whole different is SUMMER in the mountains of North Carolina, lush, green, the best smell ever, and even fireflies. AND students at Penland! I am in a good mindset coming home from PBI, and am excited for all the mobs of Penland Students who will come through here this summer. 

I pickled radishes yesterday, have a bunch of things I need to get in the ground (it started raining on me today) and am generally in a really, really good frame of mind. 

Thanks for reading about my adventure at introverted-book-nerd-summer-camp.

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