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Posts from the ‘Everything is Art.’ Category

How do you know when you’ve finished editing?

IMG_0205Editing the Paulus film began before I got back to Australia. Four rugged drives made it into the hands of  editor Andrea Lang (thank you FedEx) and the project survived the potentially catastrophic meltdown of the mother drive (no thank you to Lacie thunderbolt drives grrr). Around 90 hrs of footage shot over six weeks.. Andrea inquired as  to whether I had ever found the “off “button on the camera, and then valiantly got stuck in by having all the interviews transcribed to begin a paper edit. Key ideas and phrase and links were committed to file cards and that’s them on the wall you can see in the pic. It’s a complex task, telling the story of Paulus’s life and many aspects of his work over an 80 year (almost) period, and this technique allowed us to shuffle on paper before we did in the edit suite. I use the word “we’ in a fairly cavalier fashion here.  Though Andrea was ably assisted by her two schnauzers  Sir Douglas Dinsdale and Johnny Bangers(with bucket) whose attention never wavered.IMG_0178

My original intention was that the workshop Paulus gave on journal making called”Everything is Art When You’re Dressed for it” would provide both the linking structure for the film and its title. Well that didn’t quite turn out to be the case. The workshop certainly features (and I am preparing a separate edit just on it) but a different, less linear way of telling the story emerged that we are happy with. The title for the film is now “To Spring From the Hand” and  comes from an important story in P’s early life .

So we now have a cut of a little over an hour. Color grading has been done and now my very talented dear friends Mark Rivett and Jonathan Zwartz ( looking thoughtful below) are doing the music. A mixture of classical/jazz and Appalachian/classical, with Jonathan on bass and Mark featuring this time on mandolin( pic coming in next blog). Next week we will be in the studio with Barney McAll( piano), Hamish Stuart( drums),Julien Wilson( saxaphone), Phil Slater( trumpet). IMG_0515

Oh the answer to the question posed in the header was supplied by Andrea when I asked her  how would we know the edit was done:” When you can’t pay me any more”….. she then added:”Films are never finished, merely abandoned”. Land ahoy!

And on the eighteenth day. + photos.

After seventeen days of filming, I am taking a break in Asheville, and Paulus is getting his life back for a while back in Penland. We have covered a lot of ground since we started filming on July 18, both geographically and in the range of material. All in all, really very happy with how things have gone, and reports back from editor Andrea Lang in Sydney are all good.

The filming began with a three day journal making workshop. The invitees were past student of Paulus’s, many of whom are now established book artists and educators in their own right. They all had extraordinary and often moving stories to tell. Some will be in the film, and others in extended work on the blog which I expect will be launched very soon.

So, at the workshop were: Susan Bonthron, Kathy Steinsberger, Diann Fuller, Katrina Plato, Meg Peterson, Zan Lombardo, Susie Symons, David Perrin, Debra Frasier and Joy Seidler. Also participating were Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom, owners of the beautiful clay and type/printing studio that they graciously made available for the workshop.

With me filming was Jason Wingrove and photographer/blogger Vic Hannan.

Over the three days we tracked through the journal making process. making the paste paper, selecting the covers and other elements for the final book, making the covers, and stitching/ binding it together. The result was a collection of stunning  and very individual books that we will feature soon.

I then spent the following week with Paulus, talking about and filming doodling, pinch potting and making offering and begging bowls, Qi Gong and other movement, paper weaving photographs, letters and cards,and more. As well we visited with and interviews many friends and especially fairy godchildren( much more on that later). I also interviewed the head of Penland School of Craft, Jean McLaughlan, and filmed in many of the studio – clay, metalwork,photography, textiles and weaving, book arts, and others. So much good material for the film.

Here is a link to some of the photos taken by Vic Hannan in the first week. There will be more to come but they give a good flavour.

I will write about our trip north to Pennsylvania and a farm that Paulus lived  and worked on in the next post.

While not many people are seeing this.

It’s pretty tiring this filming gig. After seven straight days of shooting and a long morning, we came home to data wrangle, recharge batteries, plus ours. I sat on the sofa to get the memory cards out of the camera, with the view of then having an hour on the bed. I didn’t  make it that far and Jason( thanks J) took this. He did confess to minor propping, but yeah, most of that is mine. In the morning I fly to NYC with Paulus to  pick up  a car and drive out to the farm he lived on for many years in upstate Pennsylvania. Five days there, and we will be joined by his long term friend and renowned Alexander Technique teacher June Eckman. Hopefully all a little more relaxing.

Day 13. Pinch Pots.

I have been looking forward to filming Paulus making pinch pots for a long time.The technique of making these is the subject of his book Finding Ones Way with Clay, which has been in print since the early seventies.These are simple “offering bowls”, bisque-fired. I had tried to do this sitting on the balcony and can now see what I did wrong. Everything.We will film a different style of pot in the morning.

Filming underway.


Jason Wingrove showing Paulus the finer points.



I am in to day 8 now of filming this project and today is the first time I can draw breath and write.

Five days in LA on the way allowed us (I was joined there by the talented Jason Wingrove) to get over jetlag, sort of, check gear, and catch up with Mark Rivett and friends. Jason and I also worked with editor Richard Learoyd who cut the Nurses cinema commercial we had shot just before leaving. It’s looking really good and the client approved the edit yesterday. So it’s into post and I will give a link to it as soon as it’s available.

So then to Penland, North Carolina to commence work on the film of the life and work of Paulus Berensohn, which has the working title of “Everything is art when you’re dressed for it”. The title comes form a story Paulus wrote a few years back.

We had a warm-up day filming at home with Paulus and then three days of a workshop, which centred on the handmade journal. P has been teaching this for twenty years, and journal making and keeping is central to his work. For this workshop, past students, quite a few of who now work fulltime in the book arts, came together from many parts of the USA.


A lively, talented group that coalesced immediately. The filming went very well, and the process of making paste paper which goes on the cover, and then the binding and stitching of the book proved ample opportunity for Jason’s camerawork. We were joined by photographer and blogger Vic Hannan, who was hard at work capturing more moments than even two cameras could cover.

The next two days we were filming mainly at the Penland School of including ironwork, photography, textiles, jewellery, clay and boat building.

Now Jason and Vic have departed and I will film with P over the next three weeks, both here in Penland and further north on a farm he used to live on in Northern Pennsylvania.

I am staying in the tiny town of Spruce Pine Y’all, and have my own mug behind the counter of DT’s Java shop, the only place with good coffee within sixty miles. When the others left Savannah said, “don’t you be lonely now, you have us” Bless.

Very soon I will launch the blog specifically for the documentary and of course will post a link here.