This year, it's been well, different. Since we began the studio back in 2012, we've had our share of ups and downs. We find ourselves yet again at a crossroads, adapting the studio around external pressures and internal needs.
We'll take stock of the year that was in a moment, but before that we need to share some timely news about some big changes.
First off, we're moving. While we have loved renting a space inside the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center complex for the past 3 years, we have made the difficult decision that we need to move on. We are currently in the process of moving the studio to our home in Oregon City, and have established ourselves as a home based business for the foreseeable future.
As we shift to being fully home based by Feb 1, 2021, we are adjusting our operations. We've been thinking hard for the past 10 months about our capacity for running the studio while giving our all to our other jobs that pay our bills (Jenn works at the non-profit c3:initiative, and Gary began working at Cash App this July.)
Pulp + Deckle is a labor of love. Our expenses have consistently outpaced our income, and to be honest sometimes (especially this year) it's been tempting to say we should let the business go. But there's still so much we want to do and share via the studio, so rather than close up entirely, we're adapting.
Recently we applied for a forgivable loan for which we did not receive funding. We were hoping to purchase a mobile trailer to house our primary equipment for hosting future workshops and retail sales pop-ups at outdoor locations. We still have the dream of buying a mobile trailer, but for now we've put that dream on hold while we work on creating income from retail sales.
Our main goals for 2021 are both philosophical and practical. Philosophically we have found this year that our desire to connect our business to the natural world is stronger than ever. Our connection to place, as we have sheltered in place, has only increased. How can we better share our love of the natural world through our business? We'll be trying to answer that question by offering more online demos and workshops that focus on place. We can't wait to begin sharing this content in early 2021.
On the practical side of things we want to earn enough income via retail sales that we can save up funds and buy a mobile studio trailer. We've talked with 3 local sellers who gave us bids for trailers with water tanks, electricity, a retail window, and built in workspaces. The lowest bid is $25,300. Knowing that this is a significant amount of money, it may take us some time to make this dream a reality without putting ourselves at financial risk.
At this time we are not planning any in person engagements with the studio. It is very strange to plan for a year without in person workshops or our annual artist in residence program. While so much uncertainty remains around the safety of gathering in person we feel it's best to not make these types of plans. We hope that by 2022 we can offer workshops in parks, schools, and maybe even our yard. And who knows what new and exciting format the 2022 residency program might take!
For now we are grateful that we have a garage and a yard where we can make paper and record educational content to share with you. We hope that in pulling back the curtain and telling you all this that it helps clarify the changes we're making.
Before we wrap this up here's a look back at 2020.
It's been a quieter year overall for the studio. We are grateful to have the capacity to evolve and look forward to being in touch with you more regularly in 2021.
Thanks for your interest and support! We'll be renting a truck to move out of our studio in January and your financial support will help make that process a lot less stressful. If you would like to make a contribution towards the operations of the studio you can make a donation here.
Be well and take care friends!
Back in 2015 we made a Portland, OR themed coloring book printed on our handmade paper. We thought we'd revisit that project and share the illustrations Jenn made for the book here for you to use and enjoy!
Feel free to download these images, print them out on your home printer, and have fun making them your own. All we ask is that you don't sell them, and that when sharing your coloring creations you credit Jenn Woodward from Pulp & Deckle as the artist. Thanks!
Also, if you want to tip us you can make a donation to the studio at https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/pulp-deckle.
Yesterday we had our first go at making paper in our makeshift home studio. As many of you know last fall we moved from our home of 10 years in Portland, to a house in Oregon City. We had already been eyeing fixing up the space you see us working in as a home studio but never thought we'd need to be using it so soon.
A month ago we were busy with an open house, private workshops with teens and artists, prep for our spring workshop series, and plotting out production papermaking for a book project we are working on with c3:initiative. Everything seemed to be on track. Then things started to abruptly change.
For those that are just getting to know us, we are a husband and wife team who operate a community hand papermaking studio. We began in fall 2012. Over the years we've been in 3 different studios, taught hundreds of students, worked with numerous artists, offered demos and sales at festivals and offsite locations, and rent our equipment and space for fellow makers to access. We had hoped that the studio would one day be our full time focus. After the first few years we realized that this would not be sustainable for many reasons.
The past two years we have both had primary jobs outside of the studio that have brought us stability, personal growth and a steady income. This enabled us to focus on building the studio by doing things we wanted to do, rather than what we needed to do. Most of the time the studio is self sustaining, meaning that we bring in enough income to cover rent, materials, insurance, etc. We don't pay ourselves for the work we do at Pulp & Deckle.
As the world has abruptly shifted, so have our lives. Gary was just laid off from his primary job, meaning our income has been reduced by half. It's a familiar story right now. We're grateful Jenn can work from home in her role as a Project Manager for the non-profit arts org c3:initiative. Without this income, and soon, unemployment for Gary, we would really be scrambling.
Recently we realized that we were going to need to bring our studio home with us so we could continue making paper for the projects we have committed to. Oregon enacted a shelter in place order, and we are taking it very seriously.
In the slideshow above you can see Gary making a cotton rag/abaca blend using denim fabric scraps and unbleached abaca fibers. Jenn is making iris paper from materials harvested in our yard. These papers will be part of an edition of books that c3:initiative received grant funding to make, commemorating the last five years of the papermaking residency program that we collaborate on together. We're making 360 pieces of paper for the project. The rainy conditions, allergies, and cold weather are making this a somewhat slow process, but we'll get there!
Thank you to everyone who has signed up for workshops and has deferred their registration to future classes. We're hopeful we'll be back in our North Portland studio soon.
Until then, if you can support our work we'd be forever grateful! Here are the ways you can do that.
Our commitment to process, hand making, and sharing the craft of paper is as strong as ever. Thank you for helping us keep going! It's a crazy and unpredictable moment in global history. Be kind to yourself and to others. There's no way to know what tomorrow might bring, but for today we can do what we need to to help ourselves and each other.
Pulp & Deckle is a handmade papermaking studio located in Oregon.