Friday, October 15, 2010

Okra Papermaking

For those of you who might not be aware, the stem of the Okra plant makes gorgeous paper. Recently I led a papermaking workshop at Earthdance Farms in Ferguson Mo for farm apprentices using okra they'd grown. Here's instructions for making your own.


Garden Clippers, Garden Gloves, Long Sleeve Shirt, Plastic Bucket, Large Metal Pot, Soda Ash (Washing Soda), recycled office paper or methoceluose (Sizing), Blender, Plastic Tub, Sponges, Old Sheets or Cloth, Old Window Screen, Duct Tape, Access to Stove and Water.

Step 1: Harvest Stems. Clip off the stems of harvested fruit. This will not kill the plant. Avoid stalks. They are generally too woody and won't make good paper. Make sure you wear long sleeves and gloves as okra plants can irritate the skin. You'll need a good size bucket to make a bucket of pulp.

Step 2: Process the Plant. You'll want to cut your Okra into quarter-inch pieces. Put them inside of a large metal pot. Fill 3/4 full. Note- some papermakers peal the bark and let fibers sit for several weeks before Step

Step 3: Add Soda Ash and Water. Amount depends on yield of fibers. Ratio is 1 Tbs per Quart of water. Boil from 4-6 hours to break down fibers for blender processing. Should be a sludgy constancy.

Step 4: Make Pulp. You'll want to fill blender 1/4 full with pulp. Add 1/4 water and 2-3 sheets of recycled paper for sizing. White office paper works best. Remember to give your blender a break occasionally or the motor will burnout. Repeat until all fibers are blended. Store in bucket with lid. Pulp will keep 2-3 weeks w/out refrigeration and is usable at any stage but will start to decompose gradually. Add bleach to counter.

Step 5: Make a Simple Mold. Cut the window screen to 5 x7 size. Cover edges with duct tape. For larger molds you can use a wooden frame. Simple fold over the edges and secure with a staple gun. Rotate edges to insure snugness.

Step 6: Pulling Prep Fill plastic bin 3/4 full with water. Add a 4-5 hearty cups of pulp to start. You can always add more. Before each "pull" stir the bottom of the mixture with your hand.

Step 7: Pull Paper. Hold the frame vertically and lower it into the water. Once it is below the water line, slowly tilt it horizontally toward you and begin to lift it toward the surface of the water. Slowly lift the frame out of the water picking up pulp. Let the frame drain over the bin for 15 to 20 seconds, then set aside.

Step 8: Remove the Paper from Mold. Lay a piece fabric (slightly larger than the mold) on a flat surface and place one edge of your frame mold on the side of the fabric. Gently ease the mold down, making sure the paper is in direct contact with the fabric. Sponge out excess water, wringing it out into the plastic bin between pressings. Once most of the water is removed, hold down one corner of the fabric and slowly peel off the mold. The paper should remain on the fabric. If it sticks to the mold, you have either pulled too fast or didn't remove enough water. Simply place the mold back down and repeat the process with the sponge to remove more water. Repeat the process.

Step 9: Pressing Paper. You can stack pulled paper that's still on fabric. If there is a flower or paper press available that will be your next step. Do note that the water will warp most printing presses. Be careful what you use. If you don't have a press move onto step 10

Step 10: Drying Paper. There are many ways to dry paper. To keep it flat transfer paper to plexi glass or a window while it's wet. You'll do this By taking the paper coated fabric and placing on window. Sponge out excess water and peal fabric away. Be careful and do this process slowly. Your other option is to let the paper dry on the fabric. Have fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canning Basics

A life-long canner my mother, Peggy Hemeyer, ventured off our family farm in Frankfort MO to lead a canning crash course out of my apartment in St Louis a few weeks back. Mom towed her favorite canning ware and I invited friends. We made peach preserves, hot pepper jelly, Italian peppers and sweet pickled peppers. Not a single person walked away without a jar of something delicious.

Canning is a surprisingly simple process and so much more fun with friends. There just so happens to be a plethora of fantastic recipes online. This is one of my favorites.


4 large green bell peppers
1/2 cup fresh hot red peppers, about 12, OR 4 tablespoons crushed dried red pepper
6 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 bottles liquid pectin, (6 oz each)


In a large pot, place peppers that have been ground fine, (use juice and pulp), sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Add pectin. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour mixture into hot dry, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a scant 1/4-inch head space. Seal immediately. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes; remove jars and let cool upright.

Makes 8 pints.

1. For best results preheat glass canning jars in microwave. For non-breakage insurance, place them on a damp cloth.

2.Always check your lids when you're finished making sure they're sealed. Simply press on the lid. It will pop if they're not sealed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Guerrilla Girls speak at 2010 SAIC commencement

Annie and I crashed the 2010 SAIC commencement this past weekend. Here's a notebook scratched synopsis of gorilla masked “Kathe Kollwitz’s” advice to recent art institute graduates.

1. Be A Loser- You don’t have to be a director in the world of collaboration. Its not about egos.
2. Be Impatient- Put on your own shows and projects
3. Be the Change- Create what you want to see
4. Be Crazy:- Change minds in an outrageous way. If you can get someone who disagrees with you to laugh you have the agency to encourage thought.
5. Be Anonymous- Can’t believe what comes out of your mouth when you’re masked.
6. Be An Outsider- Look for back stories and hidden messages and then expose it.
7. Lead A Double Life- Be 4 or 5 in one body. Be a hybrid of an artist not a specialist
8. Just Do One Thing- If it works do another and another. Don’t be paralyzed keep chipping away.
9. Don’t Only Make Fine Art- Make cheep art that can be shared by everyone.
10. Sell Out- Don’t wonder if you lost your edge. Take your crit to a larger audience
11. Give Collectors & Institutions Tough Love- it’s a pity that museums depend on investors. If things keep going they way they are only white men’s work will be collected. Demand ethical standards. No more cookie cutter collections.
12. Don’t Be Corrupted by History- Write your own.
13. Complain- And be creative about it
14. Be Active- example: hang your own tags in fashion articles, post crits of museum directors, leave notes in books for readers, make anti-industry film fliers.
15. Use the “F” word
16. Be A Feminist- For decades the majority of art institute graduates have been women but too few are at the top. Speak up for minorities regardless of who you .
17. Be A Great Ape- And don’t be tamed. Where do “you” want to go?
18. Have Fun.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chautauqua Art Lab 2010

Chautauqua Art Lab (CQAL) 2010
Learn, Include, Collaborate, Constillate.

In its second year, the Chautauqua Art Lab is an annual week long
grassroots city-wide arts festival, free university and artist parade. Connecting 30+ innovative makers, thinkers and doers from throughout St Louis and the US.

Calender of FREE Events:

Saturday May 1st

People's Joy Parade Make Day
Location: CAMP aka Community Arts & Movement Project
Address: 3022A Cherokee Street
Time: 12-4pm
People's Joy Parade Prep at the Finder's Hive. Tweak your get-up or make a funny hat or mask with help from some great local artists! Fun and free for all ages.

Sunday May 2nd
A. Cherokee Street Walkabout
Location: Leaving from the Mud House
Address: 2101 Cherokee Street
Time: 3-5pm
On this historic tour we'll explore Cherokee's artist-run spaces, quirky shops, community programs while greeting a menagerie of characters throughout our journey.

B.Celia's Footbeat Choir Rehearsal

Location: CAMP
Address: 3022A Cherokee Street
Time: 5-6pm

Join up with the most rockin choir in St Louis. All ages welcome to sing and dance with Celia in the upcoming People's Joy Parade.

Monday May 3rd
Electromechanical Bliss Sideshow
Location: Floating Laboratories & Arcadia Studios
Address: 4528 Ohio, Studio R
Time: 7- 11pm
Evening of visual, audio and guttural performances and installation. Sideshow goers are invited to explore and interact with constructed environments throughout.

A. St Louis based artists: Larva, Mike Stasny(performance), Kevin Harris (video installation), Ghosts I Have Been (sound), Cindy Tower (visual installation), Robert Long (sculpture), Keith Buckholz (Fluxus performance, Mike Pagano (installation), SPORE Projects & More.

B. Fluxus Legends: Crank Sturgeon & Matt Taggart

C. Of Chicago: Tiger Hatchery & Lechuguillas

*suggested $5-10 donation for touring artists

Tuesday May 4th
Community Arts Panel & Open Laptop
Location: Urban Studios
Address: 2815 North 14th Street
Time: 6-10pm
Imaginative community projects and programs presented by the folks who make them happen. Additional projects welcome. Just bring what you got to the Open Laptop.

Facilitated by Emily Hemeyer (SPORE)

Guests: Ann Huebrich (CAT program), Emily Task (Brown School of Social Work), Stan Chisholm (Money Bags Project), Claire Wollf (Urban Studios), Nita Turnage (Artica), Irene Compedre (CAMP & Cherokee REaLGarden),Dail Chambers (Yeyo Arts), Kara Clark Holland (Public Spaces Picnic Project) & Brea McAnally (Moss Painting Project & Luminary Center)

Wednesday May 5th
Media, Urbanism & the Built Environment
Location: Open Lot
Address: 1310 S 18th Street (Lafayette Sq)
Time: 7-10pm
A roundtable conversation about the opportunities and complexities of online media pertaining to urbanism, architecture, preservation and politics in St. Louis

Facilitated by Jordan Hicks

Guests: Michael Allen (Ecology of Absence), Antonio French (Pub Def), Toby Weiss (BELT), Alex Ihnen (Urban STL) & Rick Bonasch (STL Rising)

Thursday May 6th
{{Programing Break}}
Pecha Kucha Night!!!}}
Location: Mad Art Gallery

Address: 2727 S. 12th Street
Time: 7-10pm

Held internationally Pecha Kucha night is a monthly program featuring locatl artists, entrepreneurs, designers and other people with bold or crazy ideas will show them off on 20 slides each.

Friday May 7th

Old Tyme Hoedown, Revival & Picnic
Location: Mrs MacCormicks Yard
Address: 2917 Texas (Benton Park)
Time: 7-12pm
A community picnic with eclectic performances, auspicious installations & all-around revelry.

Hosted by Charles & Charlot Douglas-Book

Event will be photographed for local artist Kara Clark Holland's Picnic Project.

A. Local performers: Bangggerang (new skool jamboree), Kungfu Chicken (noise soul), Audry Simes (improv movement), Firedog (love-o-rama) & more TBA

B. Hearding Cats Collective founders: Rich O Donnell, Anna Lum, Ryan Harris create rick instrumental expression and haunting soundscapes.

C. Mikal Shapiro, spirited singer/songwriter from KC

D. Chris Marshall, Chicago based fiddler/violinist and great-grandson of original Chautauqua magician Al Baker.

*Feel free to bring yummy edibles, delicious drinks, fantastical costumes, & instruments for merry making

Saturday May 8th

A. Cherokee Street People’s Joy Parade!!!
Location:Cinco de Mayo)on Cherokee Street
Address: Black Forest Parkinglot
Time: Meet at noon. Parade starts at 1:11pm

The People’s Joy Parade is a grassroots menagerie of crepe paper float makers, home made costume fashionistas, b-boys/girls, midnight minstrels, Gigante puppeteers, art cars, bike brigades, moving installation artists, Elvis impersonators, cardboard bricoleurs, rainbow dancers, knights of St. Louis, drag queens, beat making marching bands, Mexican wrestlers, robot makers, Virgin of Guadalupe’s, and any lost members of the Missouri tribe. Because… parades recognize the importance of the people who make up a community.

All are welcome to participate!
Parade Contact: Sarah Paulsen- or Lyndsey Scott-

2. Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Location: Cherokee Street
Address: between Nebraska & Iowa
Time: 11am - 9:30pm

A lively neighborhood celebration and
street festival featuring diverse live musical
performances, dedicated artists, delicious authentic
food and drinks, a multitude of exhibitors, St Louis’s
only artist parade & otherworldly street entertainers.

3. The Party After the Party

Location: AVD+EVAD Art & Design
Address: 2834 Cherokee
Time: 8pm - ?

Hosted by Amy VanDonsel & David Burnett

Featuring: DJs Thomas Crone, Grace Woodard,
Mark Siebels, Jamie Toon, Shawn Gaston, & Daniel Shown

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 2010

Community Arts Convening: At the Crossroads, Keith Buckholz, Robert Longyear, Theater Gates, Regional Arts Commission (RAC), Mud House, Angelo, Carrie Gillen, Facebook, Carnival Supply, Bricaleuring, Casey Miller, Arlene Goldbard

Chicago, Fill in the Blank Gallery, Natalie Akins, Joanna Lynn Schuman, Bill Tucker and Friends, Davey J Sparrow, Ian Fullerton, Bill Tucker Chris Marshall, Tulip, Kelly Tucker, Relax Bar and Grill, Magic Inc, Camp Woodshed, Kristen Altoff, Equinox Fire, Bi-Monthly Folk Jam Session

Hannah O'Brien, SCOSAG Spring Break Camp, Sound Portal, Cameron Fuller, Sarah Paulsen, Anna Bangggerang, Larva, Syna So Pro, Robert Long, Sam & moss, Steven Hoffman, Bricaleuring, Lyndsay Scott, Emily Hemeyer, Fort Gondo, Cherokee Street, St Cecelia's Fish Fry, Kara Clark Holland, Steven Holland

Sabrina Braden, Skif Nina, Cameron Fuller, Arcadia Studios, West Bank Auto, Cherokee Street, Shenendoah, Scott Olsen, Drew Droege, The Cave, and Shakespeares Pizza