Thursday, December 31, 2015

Final Preparation for the Show!

I'm so excited for the show next Friday evening! Yay!

Dan finished the frames last week. I can't thank him enough! They are beautiful - made from reclaimed cherry, oak, and walnut.

I'm now on the final leg of putting the pieces together. I've cleaned all the glass and matched prints to frames. Tomorrow I'll pin them, attach hooks and wire, and pack them up for transport to the gallery next week. I may give you a sneak peek of one of the finished pieces. Or maybe I won't. You may just have to come to the show. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shadows of Shadows

Two of my shadow transparencies make shadows of their own while drying before a transfer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frames (Part 2)

My husband is finished cutting and gluing the reclaimed cherry, maple, oak, and walnut frames. The next step is putting in the corner splines, sanding and finishing. They're going to look great when they're finished!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Simple Pleasures

I don't know why, but there's something so incredibly satisfying about peeling a piece of paper off fabric after it has dried. It's my favorite part of the process. (reed canarygrass paper)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)

The Reed canarygrass I collected last spring in Washtenaw County has turned into beautiful paper. See different stages of the plant in process below. Thank you Mr. H for suggesting I use it and for lending me your sickle.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Husband is Awesome!

Dan has started making 30 frames for the upcoming show in January! Little did he know he'd be making so many when he offered a few years ago. In an effort to keep all the materials for this project ecologically-friendly, he's making the cherry, oak, walnut, and maple frames out of reclaimed wood from a local timber yard and the MSU surplus store.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Twenty-one Sheets

I made twenty-one sheets of garlic mustard paper today. They should be dry in a few days and then I'll pull another batch. In the meantime, I'll be chopping and making pulp from canary reed grass that I collected in Washtenaw County. If all goes well, I'll have three invasive plant papers for the show in January: phragmites, garlic mustard and reed canarygrass. It's gettin' jiggy around here!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Garlic Mustard Pulp

I finally got around to boiling and beating the garlic mustard my son Eli picked for me at Fenner Nature Center this past spring. It made some awesome pulp which I'll make into paper later this week.

In order to cover my goofs on the transfer process, I'm going to need 60+ sheets of paper to complete 30 prints for the show. Let the paper-making begin!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five Shadows Captured at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and in Laingsburg

I've been busy tracking down flowers in bloom this week and managed to catch shadows of the following:

Downy sunflower (Helianthus mollis) - threatened
Hairy wild petunia (Ruellia humilis) - threatened
Houton's goldenrod (Solidago houghonii) - threatened
Lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea) - endangered
Upland boneset (Eupatorium sessilifolium) - threatened

Thank you again to Laura Mueller at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and to Mr. S in Laingsburg!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Shadows Captured in Laingsburg

Over the past few weeks I've been able to photograph the shadows of five plants in Laingsburg:
Prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata) - threatened
Prairie or pale agoseris (Agoseris glauca) - threatened
Prairie indian-plantain (Cacalia plantaginea) - special concern
Side-oats grama grass (Bouteloua curtipendula) - endangered
Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) - threatened

Thank you Mr. S for letting me photograph these lovely plants!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Three Shadows Captured in Washtenaw County

This weekend I was able to photograph the shadows of THREE plants:
Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra) - threatened
Fragile prickly pear (Opuntia fragilis) - endangered
Canadian milk vetch (Astragalus canadensis) - threatened

Thank you MH for letting me visit and for walking me through your prairies!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Two Shadows at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens

My goal yesterday was to drive to the gardens at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, photograph the dwarf lake iris, and get back to East Lansing before I ran out of steam. The planets must have been aligned because I did it! The sun was out, there was no wind, and I captured the shadows of TWO plants.

The dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris - threatened) was a bit of a challenge to photograph as it was extremely close to the ground, but because of the angle of the shadow and it being located on slanted ground, I was able to get it. I won't be posting any shadow images until I've transferred them onto the invasive plant paper, but here's a quick snapshot of the plant itself.

The bulrush sedge (Carex scirpoidea - threatened) was also in bloom.

Thank you to Mike Kost (Native Plants Specialist) and Laura Mueller (Great Lakes Garden Field Tech) for helping me locate the endangered and threatened plant species at the gardens!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thank You Eli Kramer

It turns out garlic mustard makes beautiful paper! I definitely want to make more for the show in January, which means more plants need to be collected. That was my goal for the weekend.

Thank you to my son Eli Kramer for taking on the task of collecting two bags FULL of garlic mustard yesterday at Fenner Nature Center. It wasn't an easy job (especially in his flip flops) but well worth the dollar amount I paid him!

On our walk, we spotted Virginia bluebells with garlic mustard growing right beside it. I was anxious to pick this garlic mustard and as I crouched down, a snake slithered not three feet from where I stood. I screamed in a not-so-delicate manner and quickly headed off in a different direction.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Help Requested - Looking for Plants

It's that time of year again - time to photograph the shadows of endangered and threatened plant species! If you have suggestions on where I can find and photograph a threatened or endangered plant, please contact me. My only requirement is that it be located in direct sunlight (not shade) and that it is in an area that is somewhat accessible so I don't disturb the natural habitat.

Here is the list of plants I have photographed so far:
compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)
cream wild indigo (Baptisia leucophaea)
cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
prairie smoke (Geum triflorum)
prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum)
rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia)
long-bracted spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata)
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
white or prairie false indigo (Baptisia lactea)
pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)
side-oats grama grass (Bouteloua curtipendula)
starry campion (Silene stellata)
squarrose sedge (Carex squarrosa)
wild oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
Jacob's ladder (Polemonium reptans)
lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea)
prairie golden alexanders (Zizia aptera)

There are others I've tried to photograph at the MSU W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens, but because of their location, I can't get direct sunlight at the right time of day to cast a good shadow. I'm especially interested in finding purple turtlehead, downy sunflower, and Queen-of-the-Prairie.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Lesson in Letting Go

I feel so deeply privileged to have worked at Lansing Art Gallery with such amazing co-workers, artists, and volunteers over the past two and a half years. Unfortunately, due to recurring health issues related to thyroid cancer and fatigue, I have decided to leave my position as Education Outreach Coordinator. It frustrates me to no end not being able to do my job as well as I'd like. My doctor said life would return to normal after surgery. How I wish that were true! Instead, I continue the process of learning to let go - not an easy task for someone who likes to be in control all the time. 

My last day at Lansing Art Gallery will be May 20th and I will so miss seeing my co-workers each week. If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is the opportunity to spend more time on my endangered plant project, which has, ironically, also been teaching me how to let go through the use of organic materials and imperfect paper. 

If you know of anyone who may be interested in applying for the Education Coordinator position, send them to The deadline is May 1st. Whoever they hire will be lucky to work with such incredible and hard-working co-workers in the best gallery in town!  

Friday, April 17, 2015

No Lye

I'm drawing the line. I've boiled this pot of invasive Dame's rocket FOUR times now and the stalks are still tough. It may be one of those plants that will only break down using lye, and I don't want to go down that road. I love that the majority of steps involved in this photography project are organic and don't require the use of anything stronger than soda ash and hand sanitizer. However, lye is another story. For now, I'll stick with the more user-friendly invasive plants phragmites and garlic mustard for my paper-making.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Phragmites Paper

The pulp I blended at Out of Hand Papermaking Studio makes a beautiful paper! Last week I made ten sheets and this weekend I made twenty. I can't wait to see what it looks like after an image transfer!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pulp Happy!

Karen O'Neal, the owner of Out of Hand Papermaking Studio, continues to be my guiding light in this project. I drove to Ann Arbor yesterday to pay her a visit and to rent her glorious machine! (I want one.) What would have taken me weeks to chop in my broken-down blender only took six hours! I left with a big bucket of beautiful, finely beaten Phragmites pulp and will pick up the garlic mustard pulp on my next trip. Looks like I'll be making paper today!

I couldn't help but snap a few shots of her wonderful studio. So much to look at (and pine over), like the heavy duty paper press and drying rack. It's such a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere. Thank you Karen for all your help, the great ideas/tips and for a wonderful day!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blender Blues

I received the replacement part for my blender and have been busy beating invasive plants. A few weeks ago, I beat the first round of Phragmites and last week round two of garlic mustard. Today I was on round three of garlic mustard when my blender started smoking. I don't know the name of the part, but it melted. There has to be a better way of doing this without spending $5,000 on an Oracle Hollander Beater.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Garlic Mustard

Here's the pot of garlic mustard I boiled over the weekend. I'll beat it next week and then see what kind of paper it makes.

While the garlic mustard was boiling, I cut up a big barrel of phragmites, which will be boiled next weekend.