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.
We find ourselves staring down the end of the calendar year, taking stock of this moment in time at the studio. It's been a year of change, growth and gratitude. Here's a look back.
Overall these experiences have felt grounding, yet with every step forward we've felt some nervousness around the financial impact of our growth. We've chosen to see it as an investment in what we can provide. As we look to what next year might bring we hope to continue building a community around the art and craft of papermaking.
In January we're excited about the opening of the c3: Papermaking Residency exhibition that will feature the 4 artists we've worked with over this past summer. Be sure to visit c3's website for information about the exhibition and its associated programs. We'll also start reviewing applications for the next round of residency artists at the end of January, with the residencies occurring at our studio from May through August. We'll follow the same flow of workshop seasons in the spring and fall, and will fit in private workshops, membership rentals, demos in the community, and custom orders around the classes. In many ways we hope 2019 mirrors the ebb/flow of this year, creating a stable platform for our studio and for what we are able to offer.
As we move into our sixth year of operations please consider making a gift to help us keep on top of studio improvements and general overhead. We have fiscal sponsorship via Fractured Atlas and you can make a gift to us via their website. We have a wish list of items we're hoping to purchase with donated funds, and that list is on our support page. And of course we would be happy to take a direct donation of items from our wishlist, just send us an email to discuss.
Many thanks to everyone who has engaged with us this year!!! Your support and interest keeps the studio thriving.
L O N G L I V E P A P E R M A K I N G!
Pulp & Deckle is a handmade papermaking studio located in Portland, OR.