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Posts Tagged ‘craft’

Photos: Hunterdon Art Museum
The exhibit From the Ground Up: Peters Valley School of Craft” can be seen at the Hunterdon Art Museum (Clinton, New Jersey) or online through January 10, 2021. 

I first heard about an unusual crafting community in New Jersey when Ann sent me a video of her online textile instructor. Peters Valley School of Craft was founded in 1970, but it has the vibe of a early American craft colony. That sense of highly skilled artisans with a united, focused purpose also reminds me of the Rochester Folk Art Guild, which we used to frequent when we lived in upstate New York.

Here’s a report on an exhibit celebrating Peters Valley School’s 50th year.

Ilene Dube writes at Hyperallergic, “I recently visited the Peters Valley Craft Fair, usually held in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This year, without leaving home, I could drop in on artists in their studios in Buffalo, New York, Portland, Maine, and Bristol, Connecticut, within a matter of minutes, watching them work and talking with them one-on-one about their processes. And this past summer, I was able to attend Peters Valley faculty presentations — one of the highlight events for those studying at Peters Valley School of Craft — every Friday night via Zoom. I traveled to studios all over the world.

“Physically based in Layton, New Jersey, Peters Valley School of Craft is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey — and yes, you can … visit live if you are properly masked. From the Ground Up, on view through January 10, recounts the story of Peters Valley from its earliest formation as an experimental craft colony, to the prominence of its women blacksmiths in the early 2000s. What better way to tell the story than through the works in fiber, jewelry, ceramics, wood, photography, and metal produced during artist residencies?

“Peters Valley began in 1970 as a planned colony of resident blacksmiths, ceramists, fiber artists, metalsmiths, woodworkers, and photographers who populated the site’s 18th- and 19th-century buildings. Over time, Peters Valley’s (non-degree) educational mission evolved into the craft school it is today, bringing together students with artists of local, national, and international renown for immersive workshops.

“Peters Valley was the ancestral home of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, Delaware Nation, and Stockbridge-Munsee Community. Dutch and British colonists forced their removal beginning in the 17th century, then worked the farmland for generations.

“Peters Valley acquired the land as a result of the aborted, and controversial, 1950 proposal to build the Tocks Island Dam, which would have created a 37-mile reservoir between New Jersey and Pennsylvania but instead became the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Among the 72,000 acres acquired through eminent domain was the village of Bevans, now home to Peters Valley.

“The founders had to convince the National Park Service of the value of putting a craft community there, and the original craft fair was produced to gauge interest. With 30 exhibitors, the organizers expected hundreds would visit; thousands came.

“In a soon-to-be-published catalogue, Andrew Willner, one of the first residents-in-wood, recounts that a week before students were to arrive that first summer in 1971, the small team realized everyone had to be housed and fed, and sprang into action.

“ ‘We found a prep table, an old refrigerator, and made a dining room,’ Willner said.

‘The dormitory was fashioned from an old farmhouse. We planted a garden, and by August that garden was feeding people who were enrolled in classes and staying at the valley. For many of us, it was our first experience living communally and it has had lifelong implications. …

“ ‘Learning from each other was an important element. We were in and out of each other’s homes and studios. All of us were able to take a hand at iron forging, jewelry making, ceramic and fiber arts. We even baked bread together.’

“My enchantment goes back to visiting as a teenager when my parents had a summer home in the nearby Pocono Mountains. … The hand-made ceramics and weavings, as well as the soot on the blacksmiths’ overalls and the stir-fried veggies served over brown rice at that early craft festival made me feel like I was among my people. …

“Participants share meals, mostly vegetarian, in the communal dining hall. In the summer of 2019, I met and was starstruck by the blacksmith and faculty member Elizabeth Brim, who renders frilly dresses, strappy stilettos, and bonnets in iron, transforming the gender expectations of her childhood. …

“In addition to its acclaimed blacksmithing and fiber art classes, Peters Valley is known in the ceramics world for its anagama kiln. ‘It gives you surfaces that are stunningly beautiful and really can’t be made any other way,’ said Peters Valley Executive Director Kristin Muller, who found her way to Peters Valley as a ceramic artist and wood-fire expert. Muller’s ‘Pod Vessel,’ fired in the anagama, is on view at the Hunterdon.

“Anagama kilns were introduced to Japan from Korea in the third century. Japanese kiln builder Katsuyuki Sakazume spent a year constructing the 46-foot long, tunnel-like structure, burrowing into the hillside at Peters Valley. Fired only once a year, it takes two to three days to load, and another five to six days to fire, burning 25,000 pounds of wood. A community forms around the ritual, which involves stoking the fire round the clock. The flames, gases, and ashes exposed to the clay in the single-chamber kiln impart their magic to the finished piece. It is said that the fire is an active participant in the process.”

Read more about this unusual place at Hyperallergic, here.

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1011-ddp-turquoise-director-ledePhoto: Scott Peterson/Christian Science Monitor
Nathan Stroupe, Afghanistan country director for Turquoise Mountain, in the courtyard of one of the 112 buildings the British charity has restored so far to create an institute for Afghan artisans to revitalize their heritage.

Christian Science Monitor has great stories about people and organizations that make a difference. I loved this one on a UK nonprofit called Turquoise Mountain, which is reviving ancient crafts in Afghanistan and providing much-need work for craftsmen and -women. More than 500 artisans have graduated from Turquoise Mountain specializing in traditional crafts such as woodworking, jewelry-making and gem cutting, ceramics, and elaborate calligraphy.

Writes the Monitor, “What sounds like a lovely effort to revive traditional culture in a place where art had been almost stomped out by war is about more than making jewelry. As a former ambassador says: ‘It is about preserving the soul of the country.’

“When Turquoise Mountain took on the restoration of Murad Khani, one of Kabul’s poorest historical neighborhoods, its aim was to do more than clear away wartime debris. From the beginning, the British charity also sought to revive the disappearing arts of Afghan culture, among them jewelry-making, woodworking, and gem cutting.

“Rays of hope are rare in Afghanistan, but in the process of revitalizing Murad Khani, Turquoise Mountain has created a model now being applied in Myanmar (Burma) and Saudi Arabia, and soon in Jordan, with Syrian refugee artisans. A project that started by hiring 1,000 workers to remove deep layers of trash has so far renovated 112 buildings and created an art institute, primary school, and a clinic that sees 2,000 patients a month. The institute has produced 500 graduates, and their work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. That helps change perceptions. …

“In her heart, Ramzia Sarwary-Khorami always wanted to make jewelry. But the path to success in Afghanistan is narrow, especially for a woman, no matter how intrepid or ambitious.

“Then on the radio a decade ago, she heard about a new urban reclamation project …

“Ms. Sarwary-Khorami signed up with Turquoise Mountain and learned soldering, sandpapering metals and stones, and the secrets of the six cultures of Afghan jewelry making.

“ ‘I found my dreams,’ says Sarwary-Khorami, who now works as a teacher and quality controller for the charity and sells her own creations through high-end jewelry designers in London – a pathway established by Turquoise Mountain for its graduate artisans.

“ ‘Every year we have more students, I tell them: “Come to Turquoise Mountain, we can support you,” ‘ she says.”

I will be talking to Suzanne about the jewelry. Maybe there would be a way for Luna & Stella to work with Turquoise Mountain. (And speaking of Luna & Stella, do check out the latest — antique lockets to complement the company’s contemporary birthstone jewelry. Think Christmas, Hanukah, weddings …)

More at the Christian Science Monitor, but it’s behind a firewall.

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The first booth I encountered at the Art and Artisan fair Saturday was promoting a charity called Vision of Hope Zambia.

Co-founder Meg O’Brien had been a student at Berklee College of Music when a missionary friend in Zambia asked her to lend her musical talent to uplifting girls who lived on the streets.

When she visited Africa, Meg must have been shocked by what she saw: young girls, often orphaned, often HIV positive, who had no place to get a meal or even take a shower. She flew into action, co-founding Vision of Hope Zambia with Chitalu Chishimba.

Meg’s mother and aunt also flew into action, creating a craft initiative that donates 100 percent of proceeds to the cause.

The two artisans not only sew with skill — baby bibs, changing blankets, aprons and the like — they also are good at selling, promoting Meg’s charity while highlighting various features of their products.

Meg’s aunt saw me talking to my grandchildren and immediately pointed out the colorful array of child-size aprons. In the end, though, I bought an adult-sized apron for myself.

From humble beginnings in 2009 (“weekly meetings in the backyard of the Girl Scouts building underneath a tree”), the organization is now able to provide housing and education for many girls as it continues to grow.

Photo: Vision of Hope Zambia
Girls at Vision of Hope proudly show off their hard work in rug making.

 

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After a father’s death, the family tries to find homes for his perfect metal miniatures.

Isaac Feldberg writes at the Boston Globe, “On any gift-giving occasion in the Megerdichian household, the most exciting presents to unwrap were always both the smallest and, funnily enough, the heaviest.

“Some boxes held metal miniature re-creations — a brass violin with horse-hair strings and a latched case; an aluminum piano music box that played ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.’ Others concealed stainless-steel jewelry, intricately detailed, immaculately formed. And others still contained children’s toys, like steel tractor-trailer sets to be nudged along the wooden floors of their Cambridge home.

“ ‘They were 14 ounces of love, 1 ounce of metal,’ says Robert Megerdichian, 63, of the tiniest pieces his late father, Abraham, bestowed upon the family throughout his lengthy career as a machinist. ‘He started off with a solid block of metal, brass, aluminum, copper, or stainless steel, and he gouged away, like a sculptor would, like an artist would, to create all of these objects.’

“Megerdichian’s description of his father as an artist has recently earned official validation, with museums across New England displaying an array of Abraham’s pieces. The Attleboro Area Museum of Industry, the Lynn Museum, and Boston’s Museum of Science all currently house some of his metal miniatures. Additional museum exhibits are set to open in the fall, including at Connecticut’s New Britain Industrial Museum. For more than half a century, however, Abraham’s creations were reserved for his loved ones. …

” ‘It was important to him to make things that made the people he cared for happy,’ ” said his son.

Read about Abraham’s history here. A great example of what the intersection of love and skill can give the world.

Photo: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Robert Megerdichian looks over a miniature Hoover vacuum cleaner crafted by his father.

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This is a sampling of the bloggers I follow.

First is Asakiyume, from whom I learned everything I know about blogging, including how to borrow a photo from another site in such a way that readers will go to that site. She is an editor and a novelist, and she blogs about a wide range of topics, from personal to global.

In this post she compares a chest of drawers in a local coffee shop to something she saw in the animated Japanese feature Spirited Away. She offers many inspiring social justice ruminations plus thoughtful literary criticism, especially of fantasy and science fiction: the interstitial world.

KerryCan is a retired English professor who is very serious about crafts, selling many of her own on Etsy. She is a chocolate maker, a weaver, a quilter — you name it. I like her description of studying and resurrecting a forgotten quilt art in a recent post on “redwork.”

“I have been using an inexpensive child’s lightbox to trace the redwork panels on to paper,” KerryCan writes, “so I can keep them. Then I trace from the paper version on to off-white cotton fabric. As I trace and then stitch, I enjoy the designs. There are flowers, lots and lots of flowers. And there are animals; some are the ones the maker would know from the farm and some are exotic, known only from books or dreams.

“My favorite blocks, though, are the ones with the people, and, especially, children. The children depicted are not the cute and pampered and romanticized children of modern America but are serious and, often, awkward-looking.” Check it out.

New England Nomad is a perfect blog for learning about hidden places that even natives don’t know. The Nomad takes lots of pictures and provides detailed information on directions, special features, parking and costs. You may have heard about the Newport Cliff Walk, and the Nomad covers it, but do you know the “gem of Rhode Island,” Colt State Park in Bristol? Read about it here.

A Musical Life on Planet Earth blogger doesn’t post often, but when he does, Wow. Not only is he a music teacher and singer, he is deeply knowledgeable about the American Songbook, Broadway in particular — Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin … . He cleans out the local library when doing research for one of his featured-composer shows. Find everything you ever want to know about the great Jerome Kern at this post, and listen to Will sing.

I’ll be doing more of these blogger recognitions from time to time, but before I leave today, I have to say I’ve been riveted to relatives’ Burning Cloud Blog, detailing the ups and downs of five months in a sailboat. Most of the posts are written by the children in the family. Read the entry “I have operated a lock” here.

Photo: New England Nomad
Colt State Park, the “gem of Rhode Island.”

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Trade shows have been helpful to Suzanne’s birthstone-jewelry company, Luna & Stella, as it branches out from being strictly online to selling to retail outlets like Talulah Cooper Boutique in Providence.

A couple weeks ago, Suzanne took Luna & Stella to the trade show NewYorkNow (“the market for home, lifestyle + gift”). Today, she is making an impression at PlaytimeNewYork — while making friends with other relationship-oriented businesses, like Little Paisley People.

I love how the founder of Little Paisley People describes the origins of her business: “I spent the most memorable summers of my childhood in Amalsaad, a quaint village, in Gujarat, India. … I grew up watching my mom work with the local artisans to hand-make toys that would support the local community. Those are the toys you also see in the Little Paisley People line. And that’s the logo you see – the passing on of the thread over the generations. …

“We create handcrafted lifestyle products for children, never forgetting that kids need to be kids. The handmade nature of these products evoke an understated elegance but are always playful. Social responsibility, the people who make these products, and how they make them are very important to us.”

Here, she and her daughter model Luna & Stella’s mother-daughter heart rings. How nice that new businesses are emphasizing the importance of family and friend relationships!

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You have heard of “slow food” and perhaps “slow money” (a loan with a long time to pay back) and other efforts designed to help us reduce the often meaningless haste of modern life. Well, Cousin Claire has been posting news on Facebook about another slow movement that is sure to intrigue you, Slow Textiles.

Says Slow Fiber Studios on its About page, “We are founded on a simple intention: to offer real-world insight into the multifaceted and holistic practice of textile-making. Slow Fiber Studios™ offers dynamic, hands-on field study programs in diverse areas of the world where textile culture runs deep — India, Mexico, Japan, France, Italy, and on. We believe the best way to understand a philosophy is to see it being lived.”

Here is a description of a 2012 offering: “Special opportunity to travel throughout India with Yoshiko, who has been exploring this country for over 30 years (lived in Ahmedabad in 1983/84 on an Education & Culture Fellowship and frequent 3-month residencies spanning 3 decades). Yoshiko will introduce her friends in India who are involved in welfare, community empowerment, and cultural sustainability projects.

“Tour Highlights: natural dyes, organic cotton cultivation, handloom weaving, khadi, biodynamic farming, architecture, local food and religion, contemporary art and design educational institutions, museums, solar energy development, hand spinning and weaving wild silks and Tibetan wool in Himalayan communities.” More here.

How well I remember the wistful feeling I got in reading the book Lark Rise to Candleford when the beautiful handmade lace was spurned as soon as the factory-made came in. There is something to be said for speed and efficiency, but also something to be said for craft.

Photos: Slow  Fiber Studios

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In John’s house, I am Grandma. In Suzanne’s house, I am Mormor. Mormor means mother’s mother in Swedish. My husband is Morfar (mother’s father). Erik’s mother is Farmor (father’s mother), but when she is with her daughter’s children, she is Mormor. Got it? There will be a quiz.

Mormor and Morfar have been hanging out with the new baby’s big brother, who has his own life to live. Yesterday we picked him up at his morning-only school. Here he is offering his monkey a snack. The monkey’s name is Kompis. It means friend.

Back at the house, I cut cardboard pieces in the shape of Christmas ornaments and punched holes in the tops for hooks. We had fun gluing seasonal cutouts from magazines on the ornament shapes. (Well, to be honest, the purple glue stick was what was fun. We lost interest by the time it came to hanging our creations on the tree.)

Today we ran errands with Papa. Here you see Elder Brother checking out bathroom fixtures with the level of intensity he brings to serious activities.

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Someone on twitter linked to this delightful post at Junk Culture this week. It’s an extraordinarily detailed replica of a Boeing airplane — made out of manila folders.

Writes Junk Culture, “Using nothing but manila folders and dabs of glue, Luca Iaconi-Stewart has been putting together a very detailed model of a Boeing 777 that is almost as complex as the real thing.

“The doors open and close on paper hinges and the landing gear retracts up into the fuselage. The project which has been a labour of love for five years grew out of his passion for airplanes and the models he made from manila paper in a high school architecture class.

“Iaconi-Stewart told Wired, ‘There’s something rewarding about being able to replicate a part in such an unconventional medium.’ ”

A collection of amazing photos — some that move — may be found here. The retractable wheel carriage has to be seen to be believed.

Without meaning to suggest that there is anything bizarre about such remarkable precision in a young man, I have to say actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock Holmes keeps coming to mind as I look at the photos.

This is an unusual mind at work.

Photo: Luca Iaconi-Stewart and Mark Mahaney

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Boston and Baltimore have created cool places to learn and practice engineering and craft skills.

At Technical.ly (better cites through technology), Andrew Zaleski describes how the Baltimore Foundery [sic], “a campus for makers,” was inspired by Artisan’s Space in the Boston area.

“It was by chance that Andrew Stroup and Corey Fleischer, two [Baltimore] locals-turned-contestants on a new engineering-focused Discovery Channel TV show, met Jason Hardebeck, the executive director of gb.tc.

“But despite having only met earlier this year, the three had more in common than they knew: each thought it was high time Baltimore city had its own makerspace — a large, indoor area replete with machine tools, digital tools like 3D printers and equipment for woodworking and metalworking — on par with similar spaces in other cities in the U.S.

“Through their time on the show, Stroup and Fleischer met Gui Cavalcanti, who started the Artisan’s Asylum makerspace in Boston, a sprawling, 40,000-square-foot complex where members renting space brew their own beer, construct their own bikes and sculpt pieces of art from metal. After spending a weekend there in mid-January, the two were convinced they needed to find a place within Baltimore where any resident could do the same type of work.

“ ‘Baltimore has everything that we saw at Artisan’s Asylum: the level of artists, engineers, hobbyists,’ said Fleischer, 31, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from UMBC, and now works at Lockheed Martin in Middle River. ‘Baltimore has those people, and Baltimore does not have a space like that where everyone can go.’ …

“Whereas few people in Baltimore have the resources to become ‘coders and programmers,’ Hardebeck said, people ‘can understand how to become CNC machine operators.’

“In effect, that’s the grandest wish Hardebeck — a former product manager at DeWALT — harbors for the new makerspace: a place that can foster the next generation of blue-collar workers in Baltimore city by offering a community workshop so people can have access to good equipment and classes. In turn, people can become entrepreneurs building products in their own small-scale manufacturing facility, albeit one they share with other makers.”

More.

Photo: Technical.lyFleischer leads a class in Introductory Welding last month.

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Photograph: South End Knitters

Today I am thinking about the South End Knitters, the stealth street artists who wrap their knitting around parking meters and fire hydrants and telephone poles.

Writes Linda Matchan in the Boston Globe, “The South End Knitters’ weekly meetings at a Washington Street café seem innocuous, but don’t be fooled. Over knitting needles and yarn at the long table they’ve commandeered, they are contemplating something far more mischievous than a sweater. They’re graffiti knitters, and they’re plotting their next target. …

“As with graffiti, no two tags in the yarn-bomber subculture are alike. They range from sleeves on parking meters to tubes on tree limbs to sweaters on statues: A recent high-profile example is the neon pink sweater that the New York street knitter Olek crocheted in December for the 16-foot ‘Charging Bull’ statue on Wall Street.”

What put me in mind of the South End Knitters was an extraordinary post at the WordPress blog Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma, which describes a crochet effort that is drawing a lot of attention to the plight of vanishing corals.

Concerned about the effect of global warming on reefs, Margaret Wertheim and her twin sister got an idea that involved “crocheting corals. They used a crocheting technique invented by mathematicians in 1997 to model hyperbolic shapes called hyperbolic crocheting. … This ended up being a perfect technique for producing coral reproductions. …

“They crocheted a lot of corals,” continues Pickled Hedgehog, ” then they did something to change the world. They shared their corals with art museums. They got a community in Chicago to crochet with them. Then the crafting became a movement and groups all over the world started to crochet corals.”

Read Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma’s illustrated summary here. And if you have the time, this TED talk is super.

Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma

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Eben Horton, a glassblower with a studio in Wakefield, Rhode Island, loved hearing how glassblowers in Lincoln City, Oregon, had hidden special creations on a local beach for a community treasure hunt.

Inspired to do something similar, he settled on the idea of glass floats, the kind traditionally used on fishing nets.

The Block Island Tourism Council helped Horton launch the Glass Float Project. The council’s site has details.

“WHEN: The hunt begins June 2nd, 2012, and continues indefinitely. It only ends when all the floats have been found!

“WHAT: 200 Glass Floats (glass orbs about the size of a grapefruit) will be hidden on Block Island. Floats will be dated, numbered and stamped with the shape of Block Island. All floats are clear glass except for 12 (because it is 2012), which are special colored orbs. One super special float is made entirely out of gold leaf.

“WHERE: 100 floats on beaches and 100 floats on Greenway trails. Floats will be hidden above the high tide mark but NEVER in the dunes or up the bluffs.”

Understandably, they don’t want people walking on the dunes, which protect the island in storms.

Check the council website for the bio on the artist, too: “Eben creates custom one of a kind pieces on an individual basis out of his studio that he calls ‘The Glass Station’- a converted 1920’s gas station.” More.

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Do you believe that kids are overprogrammed with structured activities — not enough time for daydreaming, not enough time for experimenting?

Well, here’s a site that might encourage parent-and-child experimenting on do-it-yourself projects. Sounds like it could be rewarding in a variety of ways (collaborating with parents, nurturing creativity, building confidence and independence).

The NY Times writes that a couple who do home improvement got an idea for projects that might interest children.

They “developed Built by Kids (builtbykids.com), a Web site devoted to do-it-yourself projects that parents and children can collaborate on, like herb gardens planted in a wheelbarrow, refurbished tatami tables and handmade wagons. The tasks were tested and refined during a series of daylong workshops with friends at the couple’s Los Angeles bungalow.

“Their intention is to revive some of the backyard know-how that children had before the distractions of television, video games and other off-the-shelf entertainment, [founder Timothy] Dahl said. The do-it-yourself movement is enjoying a long, fashionable run as an alternative to consumer culture, he added, but when children are involved, the results are ‘too often dismissed as disposable “crafts.” ‘ “ Read more. Try a project.

Photograph: BuiltByKids.com

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Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar makes stunning paper sculptures that Nathaniel Ross at Inhabitat (“design will save the world”) describes as “soaring through the air like flying jellyfish. …

“Peter Gentenaar’s art was born out of the limitations of what he could (or couldn’t) create with store-bought paper. So with the help of the Royal Dutch Paper Factory, he built his own paper factory and devised a custom beater that processes and mills long-fiber paper pulp into the material you see in his artwork. He saw the potential that wet paper had when reinforced with very fine bamboo ribs, and he learned to form the material into anything his imagination would allow.”

Check out the machine Gentenaar uses to create his paper. You can buy one. He describes it thus:

“A machine suitable for beating long fibers, flax, hemp or sisal, as well as for beating soft and short fibers like cotton linters. The machine is built in stainless steel and has a bronze bedplate. The bronze bedplate has the same curve as the knife roll, this gives effective grinding/beating over a surface of: ± 20 x 10 cm. The distance between the roll and the bedplate can be finely adjusted. Also the weight under which the fibers are beaten can be varied from 0 to 60 kilo’s. This means you can use the beater on very delicate fibers and on very strong and rough fibers as well. I never have to cook my fibers. There is a factory guarantee on the beater of one year. At present I’m getting a CE mark, which ensures certain safety standards. There are over 70 beaters of this type sold over the last 12 years and they are all still working.”

Art: Peter Gentenaar

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My friend and former colleague Mary Ann acquires, edits, and designs lovely craft books for Quarry. Today on Facebook, she linked to this article by one of her authors, Los Angeles Times writer Jeannine Stein.

Jeannine has published two craft books on making your own books: Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials and, this year, Adventures in Bookbinding: Handcrafting Mixed-Media Books. This quote from Stein’s LA Times article gives you an idea of how she thinks about these projects.

“As I learned more complicated traditional bindings, I also gravitated toward unorthodox materials such as 19th century photographs, old quilts, cereal boxes and vintage record albums. My fascination with these materials was really born from books. Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books made me crazy for worn, faded quilts, calico fabric and rough, unbleached cotton and linen that to this day inform my work. I cannot go to a flea market or thrift store without pawing through every basket of vintage linens, and I have a vast collection of 19th century tin types, carte de visite photographs and cabinet cards that inevitably become book covers or embellishments.”

By chance, my friend Kristina, who is an artist and teaches after-school art classes in her studio, is deep into planning student projects for the coming school year, with a focus on the art of books and bookmaking. I like making connections in general, and in particular, I have been passing leads to Kristina from Mary Ann. And while I was at it, I also promoted Quarry Books to the owner of Dabblers, a craft shop in Concord.

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