I was awarded an artist-in-residence at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology in Otis, Oregon, from October 16, 2013 to January 10, 2014. The Sitka Center is located in the northwestern part of Oregon on the coast just above Lincoln City. It is a beautiful area, and Sitka Center is part of the Cascade Head National Scenic Research Area. They have wonderful studios and small cabins for the residents here. We are living amidst tall Sitka Spruce trees and also able to see the ocean where the Salmon River runs into the sea. There are many elk here we are told – haven’t seen one up close yet but I have seen a big herd of elk far up on the mountainside.
I am having a great time making my handmade paper art in the big and light-filled Boyden Studio at Sitka Center. This studio has great facilities for a papermaking with a huge bathtub sink, stove and lots of tables and also a high ceiling for my suspended installations. One of the things I started when I first arrived here was making paper with some pulp I brought with me, kozo and blue jean pulp. I noticed the Sitka logo form that is on all the signs around here. So, I decided to make some handmade paper that was inspired by the Sitka logo, a spiral form, that reminds me of the ocean, the wind and waves. A poet Tom Crawford, also a resident artist here now, and I may collaborate with a calligrapher to put one of his Sitka inspired poems on some of my handmade paper.
Here are some photos of me working in the Sitka Center studio and making the Sitka Center symbol-inspired handmade paper. I am drying the paper on sheets of non-woven interfacing, and I used buttercut to make the spiral stencil on a round embroidery hoop frame with ordinary fiberglass window screening on it.
I am also making paper from plant materials collected here for a Sitka site map and other works I am planning. I have made paper from 3 plants so far and have 3 others gathered and ready to cook up and make pulp. I will keep posting here with news about the results from the Sitka plants and the new artworks I am making.
My husband Tim is here with me at the Sitka residency and he is enjoying taking photos of everything. For some really great photographs of the Sitka area and the Oregon coast (also some of my art projects!), take a look at my husband Timothy S. Allen’s photo blog at http://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com