Monday, September 16, 2019

A Collaboration: Pandey and Nash "Eclipse"

front and back cover of Hand Papermaking magazine/summer 2019 issue
(with Robert Rauschenberg and Ken Tyler collaborating in France in 1973  on the back cover)
Catherine Nash and Radha Pandey
Eclipse, 2016
10" x 8"
edition of 150 for
Hand Papermaking magazine portfolio 12
"Intergenerationality: Collaborations in Handmade Paper"

Exciting!  On the front cover of the summer 2019 issue of "Hand Papermaking" is the collaborative effort of myself and the talented Radha Pandey: we created an edition of over 150 for the "Intergenerational" portfolio for Hand Papermaking magazine in 2016. Fifteen teams of collaborators worked on the portfolio. 

15 teams of collaborators created editions for 
"Intergenerationality: Collaborations in handmade Paper" portfolio
Hand Papermaking magazine

Collaboration:  Aesthetic Considerations

As a starting point, we shared our personal art, studio practice, and philosophical interests with each other. 

spiritual/science in tandem
geometrical diagrams/sacred geometry superimposed on landscape
experiences of nature
the metaphysics of place and memory

natural processes of erosion, sedimentation how one affects the other.  
water to soil to water
ownership of land - borders/mapping - 
      how changed over time vs. physically as a natural landscape
under the surface

Discussing the possibilities for collaboration, we discovered common ground in our artistic content as it relates to earth, water, and air, both scientifically and poetically. Eclipse explores a blended interpretation of the concepts we are engaged with in our own work as individual artists and papermakers.

The tangible dialogues of the elements of space and sky, water and soil, together in tandem with human interactions with our planet conjured up ideas of:
  • boundaries
  • land ownership
  • a human experience of nature and in nature
  • the metaphysics of place and memory
  • the natural processes of erosion, sedimentation
  • the physical landscape and its relationship to the mental landscape.

These ideas became the focus of our collaborative piece. Whittling down these concepts to their essence, we utilized our materials as the way to carry metaphor. Our collaborative work unfolded in a unique way: as we spoke together about our individual interests in materials and processes, the piece evolved to embody our shared concerns, materializing differently from how we would create individually.  

Radha and Catherine hand pounding cooked/rinsed gampi bark fiber in prep for our edition. 
The Morgan Conservatory of Paper in Cleveland graciously let us use their facilities! Thank you, Morgan!

Collaboration:  Technical Details

We undertook our collaborative portfolio project at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio in June of 2016, using hand and naginata beaten gampi bark as a paper fiber, internal colorants of filtered and ground earth samples from Sedona, AZ, as well as wax and a watercolor paint derived from earth minerals. Our processes included nagashizuki (Japanese-style) sheet-forming, pulp painting, external dyeing, paper cutting, and stitching to create a cohesive artwork that expresses our shared vision.

Our collaborative three days working together in Ohio came to an end and we divided up the remaining surface tasks between the two of us.  Back in my studio, I (Catherine) printed two wax circles on each sheet. With a very wide Oriental hake brush, I painted a bokashi [gradation] wash onto each sheet using a special watercolor paint made of dark blue sodalite. When all were dry, I carefully ironed out the excess wax out of the sheets leaving a wonderful resultant darker circle. I mailed the edition in process back to Radha in Cleveland. 

Edition of "Eclipse" in progress

The satisfaction of a complete edition!

Radha cut a smaller circle out from within the waxed circle below the horizon to bring part of the “earth” up into the “sky”. Painting them with several coats of the same blue sodalite paint, she brought forth a rich contrast so that the “earth moon” stood out in the “sky.” PVA glue was used to adhere the circles to the sheets using a template to help place the circles in the same spot on each sheet. 

 It was a great honor to work with my friend and colleague, the talented artist and papermaker Radha Pandey.  We are so grateful to Hand Papermaking magazine for this wonderful opportunity!  Thank you!

Catherine Nash and Radha Pandey
Eclipse, 2016
10" x 8"
edition of 150 for
Hand Papermaking magazine portfolio 12
"Intergenerationality: Collaborations in Handmade Paper" 


Radha Pandey is a papermaker and letterpress printer. She earned her MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she was a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She has Western, Eastern and Islamic-world Papermaking techniques with Timothy Barrett and teaches book arts classes in India, Europe and the US.

Her graduate thesis work- a hand-printed book of botanical anatomies titled Anatomia Botanica won the MICA Book Award at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Fair in 2014, and received an Honorable Mention at the 15th Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design.

In 2018, her book Deep Time won the Joshua Heller Memorial Award at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Fair.  
Her artists books are held in over 40 public and private collections internationally, including the Library of Congress and Yale University.

Currently, Radha is working on an artist book inspired by Mughal miniature paintings of botanicals from the 17th century, for which all the paper will be hand made in the traditional Indo-Islamic style.

Radha will be leading an exciting arts tour in India of "behind the scenes of various working artists and craftspeople" from Dec. 19, 2020 - Jan. 2nd, 2021.   Please visit her blog at  Rice - Paper - Tree  for more information and to get on her mailing list.

View her art at

Catherine Nash is an artist who freely mixes media in her work to express her ideas.  Specializing in Japanese and Western hand papermaking, encaustic painting and mixed media drawing, Nash is a teaching artist who balances her studio work with artist-in-resident teaching, lectures and workshops across the United States, as well as in professional studios and universities in eight European countries, Canada, Australia and Japan.  She has published 4 educational DVDs on the art of papermaking and has just self published a book that surveys international artists entitled “Authentic Visual Voices” that includes her interviews with 28 international artists about their creative ideas.   Her work has been included by invitation into numerous national and international exhibitions, most recently in Brazil, Chile, Tasmania, England, and France.  Her love of travel and different cultures has inspired her to live, exhibit, research and teach on four continents.

After receiving a B.F.A. in Printmaking and Drawing from the University of New Hampshire in 1980, Nash spent a year and a half creating prints and drawings in Paris.  In 1987, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Masters of Fine Arts in Mixed Media. Two independently designed research trips to Japan enabled Nash to study the techniques of Japanese woodblock printing and papermaking in depth. From 1996-2002, her extensive research in Italy and Scandinavia increased her knowledge of historical and contemporary Western papermaking and paper arts.  Nash has combined encaustic waxes and filtered earth pigments with her handmade paper works since 1994.
The landscape, aesthetics and cultures of Japan, the rich gradations and spaciousness of Scandinavian summer night skies, experiences with Native American friends and her explorations into the wilderness of the southwestern deserts have deeply influenced and informed her work.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Video Footage of "An Inner Astronomy"~

You are invited to visit Catherine Nash’s exhibit on Saturdays 10-3 
and easily by appointment by calling 520-623-6723:

“An Inner Astronomy”  
Feb. 3 – Mar. 20, 2018  

Adobe Barn Gallery 
at The Triangle L Ranch
2805 N. Triangle L Ranch
Oracle, Az. 85623

Closing reception will be on Sunday, March 18th, 5 – 8 p.m.     
The artist will speak about her work at ~6pm.
After the sun sets, telescope viewing of the night sky will be provided 
by Mike Weasner of the “Oracle Dark Skies Committee”.  

Live music by hypnopad.

Getting in closer to the installation, An Inner Astronomy by Catherine Nash

A pan of the full exhibition

Monday, February 19, 2018

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: “An Inner Astronomy: The Art of Catherine Nash" interview by Carolyn King

March 2018
Natural Awakenings - Tucson edition
Interview by Carolyn King

“An Inner Astronomy”: The Art of Catherine Nash

     “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall
      each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”
-Rumi (1207-1273)

     Tucson artist, Catherine Nash speaks about her connection to Rumi’s “secret sky’ writing, “I can spend hours staring into the sky, mesmerized by the expansiveness as I ponder our place in the universe. The vastness of space is an ultimate touchstone for me. The sky is a window to the infinite.”
     Born and raised in Connecticut, Catherine grew up in a family of more than four generations of sailors. Small wonder that the sky has held life-long meaning and fascination for her.  Water and sky have formed an interconnected navigational language for sailors across continents and time.
      As an artist, Ms. Nash creates mixed-media works combining materials such as found objects, handmade papers, and encaustic with the familiar tools of paints and drawing materials.  Her current exhibit is an installation of a “vintage-inspired, imaginary artist/astronomer’s lab.”  The exhibit includes painted maps, sculptural assemblage works, monotypes and a desk covered with artist-made objects.  Walking into the installation, the viewer feels a sense of the inward-turning awe the artist/astronomer experiences while contemplating the galaxies both beyond and within us. 

Catherine Nash
An Inner Astronomy, 2018
site specific installation. 21 mixed media paintings on Japanese kozo handmade paper, measuring 8’h or 7’h x 20”W.  suspended. Artist made objects, artist books, sculptures, and a file of 35 encaustic monotypes on the astronomers desk.

CK:  What brought you to the visual art path initially and what brings you back after an absence of nearly a decade?

CN:  I was raised by an artist/scientist mother and my father, who was one of the original New York City ‘Mad Men’. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and my father and uncle all worked on Madison Avenue in the advertising field. My great-grandfather was also a devoted watercolorist. My mother, a 50’s housewife, was both an artist and a craftswoman.  I have an indelible memory from age five of lying on the wood floor beneath her easel as she worked on an oil painting. I can still see the light streaming through the window and recall the smell of her paints and solvents.  I declared then and there that I would be an artist when I grew up.  I also had the great fortune of supportive teachers. One of my babysitters was a member of the National Watercolor Society. She started teaching me to paint when I was 9. My Junior High and High School art teachers were just excellent and gave me my foundation in art. At UNH, I worked with artist Sigmund Abeles. As my mentor, he coached and cheered me on for decades and remains a dear friend.
     Ten years ago, my life and studio practice shifted when I moved my mother from Baltimore to Tucson. She was living with Parkinson’s Disease, which meant my involvement in her care increased over time as the disease slowly diminished her capacity to move. This current exhibit has evolved over her final three or four years and is my first solo exhibition since her passing.

CK: My deepest sympathies for your loss, Catherine. Of course, your focus shifted during those years. In addition to her early influence, your life and work have been profoundly influenced by world travels, especially time spent in Japan.  Will you explain a little about the concepts of ‘wabi’ and ‘sabi’ in Japanese culture and how these ideas inform your creative practice?

CN:  While I don’t refer directly to these two concepts intentionally, my work has undergone an aesthetic evolution over the years which includes influence from both concepts. Pursuing a lifetime dream, I lived in Kyoto to study art, so the influence is perhaps inevitable.
Wabi’ is an old Japanese concept that refers to solitude and simplicity.  Originally, ‘wabi’ was directly related to the humility of Japanese monks or hermits who chose to live a life of poverty, engendering a detachment of material possessions. Today, ’wabi’ refers to a state of quietude and contemplation derived from living with simplicity in nature. The term ‘sabi’ relates to the impermanence of life and refers to a weathering of things over time.  Together, wabi and sabi are an aesthetic experience pointing viewers to the spiritual reality underlying all matter.
    My own work incorporates vintage elements and expresses a sense of an earlier era. And my focus has always been about creating objects and installations of quietude.  I aim to slow people down so we can experience nature’s time, as opposed to the hustle-bustle of our temporal world ruled by the clock.
Catherine Nash
An Inner Astronomy, 2018
The artist-astronomer's desk.

CK: Viewing the wealth of images of your artwork created over the years, I was struck by the recurrence of certain symbols. Can you talk a bit about your personal vocabulary and how these symbols speak through juxtaposition?

CN:  I think of my art work as visual poetry. By assembling images as symbols that are normally viewed separately from each other, their juxtaposition gives rise to a third meaning, just as poetry does. It’s a language of association and feeling.
As a life long artist, I have worked long enough now that I honor the Creative Muse without question when that non-verbal conversation between images and objects occurs in my studio. I don’t generally ‘know’ what the juxtapositions mean or refer to until after the work is completed. This aspect of creative process is where the magic happens! I am aware of an unspoken source as the imagery comes together as if on it’s own.
Catherine Nash
Center of the Universe,  2018
Media:  repurposed Victorian Collar Box, encaustic, silver leafing, oil stick, mirror, chain
Size: 4.5” h x 8.5” diam

Catherine Nash
Center of the Universe,  2018,  Detail

Catherine Nash
Test Tubes,  2018
Media:  vintage test tubes and stand, encaustic, cork
Size: 7”h x 12”w x 3”d

CK:  The current exhibit at the Triangle Ranch is called “An Inner Astronomy”. Can you tell readers something about the gestation and evolution of this extensive mixed-media installation?

CN:  The process for this work was a long one! I have been interested in archeo-astronomy for many years. People around the world and across time have looked to the heavens to try to address the question of “Why are we here?” It is an eternal question. 
My studies in this area included two very pivotal experiences. I lived in Florence for some weeks over each of 6 summers from 1996- 2002. In the Science Museum, one room was devoted to an exhibit of Renaissance-era astronomical “tools” beautifully made of wood and metal that were designed to impress but in fact, were only for show and measured nothing. That really struck me!  The other pivotal experience happened in 2006 when I traveled to the Jantar Mantar in Dehli, India. The site of an extensive observatory built in the 1700’s, it contains huge architectural structures designed as intricate, astronomical tools for reading the skies. The sense of scale and mysteriousness to my untrained eye truly affected me.
These two experiences indeed planted some creative seeds.  An Inner Astronomy is the creation of an imaginary artist/astronomer’s lab replete with star maps, books, and sculptures.  The work harkens back to a time before philosophy, spirituality and art were divorced from science and transports one to a world where inner and outer are one.

Catherine Nash
Journey to the North Star, 2018
Media: repurposed balance toy, indigo ink, wooden sphere, silver leaf
Size: 15”h x 11”w x 4”d (45” high with the threads)

Catherine Nash
Sky Globe,  2018
Media:  repurposed globe, encaustic, metal leafing
Size: 15” diam. sphere

CK: So, the concepts evolved through research over a length gestation period. What about the actual creation of the work itself?

CN:  In 2016, I had the privilege of working, for the second time, as artist-in-residence in the studio of artist Morris Graves who died in 2001.  This residency is a retreat setting. Resident artists are there to work almost like the hermit-monks of Japanese tradition. The rule is absolute solitude and no technology. No computer, no cell phone, no camera, no internet access for three intensive weeks. I photo-copied my research and left my laptop behind. In this focused environment, I was able to create 36 very large paintings during my 3 week stay. It was an amazing experience!  So much of my creativity had been put on the back burner while caring for my mother, that the work poured out of me as I worked in a state of reverie and intense concentration. The other works in this installation, which include assemblages, monotypes and mixed-media objects, were created more slowly back in my studio over time.
Catherine Nash
Dark Constellation, 2018.  with detail below
Media: repurposed vintage optical instrument, indigo ink, 24K gold leaf
Size: 7”h x 6.5”w x 5.5”d

CK: How has the path of studio practice served for your personal healing and how does your work provide healing for others?

CN: Studio practice is my sanctuary. It is a place and a ‘way’ to experience the gifts of quietude. The studio is a contemplative space to explore and connect with inner worlds where the Sacred and meaning are experienced.
     For the community, my work offers a moment for reflection and quietude. Our lives have become so noisy! We are constantly bombarded by the voices, thoughts and images of others through the wide-spread use of technology.  I believe that we need both beauty and quiet in order to perceive and receive the gifts of life and healing.

Viewers are invited to visit Catherine’s exhibit on Saturdays 10-3 and easily by appointment by calling 520-623-6723:

“An Inner Astronomy”  
Feb. 8 – March 20, 2018  

Adobe Barn Gallery 
at The Triangle L Ranch
2805 N. Triangle L Ranch
Oracle, Az. 85623

Closing reception will be on March 18th, 5 – 8 p.m.     
The artist will speak about her work at ~6pm.
After the sun sets, telescope viewing of the night sky will be provided 
by Mike Weasner of the “Oracle Dark Skies Committee”.  

Live music by hypnopad.

Nash exhibition: other works.