Sunday, October 23, 2011

dream of a perfect interface (three)

I spent some time with Meryl in the papermaking studio in the basement of MCBA this weekend.  My first time making paper was only a few weeks ago, and Meryl had only a basic introduction to it as well, so we sort of bumbled our way through the process, but I would say the piece is on its way to turn out nicely.

Her plan was to make paper using abaca and the leftover tan inserts from her book, then use that paper to insert into a mold she'd made the night before of her shoulder, leaning into her neck and chest.  This delicate paper-piece would accompany her artist's book, which is about skin layers and metaphor and relationships.

The paper was beat for a long, long while, but there were still many clumps that came out in the process, which I think worked for this particular project, resembling the skin's imperfections.  I told her my pieces were turning out more like a wrinkled older person's skin, and when we got air bubbles, I pronounced them cells with dendrites and whatnot.  The communication of skin.

Even the ripping of the still-wet paper resembled the tearing of skin.  

Her mentor was present, so he was able to help with some mechanics (which is the worst of this book-arts business--or any other creative endeavor I dabble in, to use Meryl's word--which is the math and the planning and the calculated adjustments and the cursing of the machinery) and take a look at her paper choice for the cover.  It's gorgeous handmade paper that reminds me of skin blushing.  The graphic in the images below is the first of two layers she will print; it's a rendition of skin layers transformed from illustration to polymer plate (art by her husband, Shawn Hebrank), and I love those delicate lines on top.

This was my last shift with Meryl, as the other days she's in the shop conflict with my own schedule, and I am sorry not to be present to its completion, as I was there from the cutting.  I even know how to do the Japanese stab-stitch binding she intends to use, and my hands might have been useful, if not slow and methodical (as my first attempt was awfully sloppy after my thumbs were destroyed with the tacks).  The next time I see it, it will be a finished product.

Opening reception is November 4th, and if you are nearby, I recommend attending.  I will be there, provided my best friend's baby isn't in the process of being born.  She is due November 6th, and I witnessed her son being born; she witnessed my daughter being born (more or less--she was outside the surgery room, as only one person was allowed in, sadly enough).  So many good things clustered around this weekend--another good friend's first roller derby bout, two good poetry readings, my own birthday and my mother's.  It's a wonderful feeling to have so many good things to anticipate.  And when Half Nelson, as he is nicknamed, is born, I will be blogging about it on roots + wings, my motherhood blog.

Until then, I leave you with this papery skin.  (It doesn't quite work in the reverse, does it?  Skinny paper.)

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