Recently I had a paper-making lesson. I’ve made paper once before but it was in a large class situation and most of the preparation was done by the organisers in advance. This time there were only two of us – myself and a high school student. Courtney is gaining experience towards creating her major work portfolio for her exams and I’m thinking ahead, as I’d love to print and stitch on my own paper.
Jill, who was guiding us, produced some mountboard offcuts for us to pulp. We tore it up as best we could and left it to soak.
We placed a small amount of the softened board in a large blender with water and set it to pulp.
It was ready when there were no discernible particles remaining. It looked like vastly overcooked rice pudding!!
The pulp was added to more water and we proceeded to pick up the diluted solution using a deckle. Once the water drained we were able to remove the top deckle section giving us lovely even paper edges.
The deckle was upturned onto a padded board and a couching cloth (pronounced cooching). It was slightly rocked before lifting to reveal a very, very wet pulp paper form. I hesitate to describe it as paper at this stage.
Sheets were stacked between couching cloths and additions were added to some. I didn’t want just plain paper.
The stacks were then pressed and as much water as possible removed. Each couching cloth with very damp, but recognisable, paper was laid on a board and smoothed over before removing the cloth.
The paper covered boards were then laid in the sun to dry, protected by large fly screens.
Here are some paper effects underway:
Clockwise from top left: wet pulp with rolled sections to produce a lacy effect, solid yellow overlaid colour, soft integration of purple pulp, pulp pressed onto a bamboo mat, pulp pressed into textural fabric.
Some finished pieces:
Clockwise from top left: plain paper, paper with water spatter, holes created with finger nails, additions: washi paper with writing, paper serviette lips, additions: sinamay and skeletonized leaf.
Textural papers (I’ve had to play with the photos a bit to get the textures to show):
Clockwise from top left: pressed over thick woven furnishing fabric, bamboo mat (as shown above), floral fabric (as shown above), patterned wall tile.
I’ve been wondering what to do with all the prints I made for Printmaking 1 which ended up being surplus to requirements, proofs, practice pieces or mistakes. I’m going to remake the paper so I can use it again. I’ve cut all the plain paper surrounds away, sorted them into paper types and started to shred, ready for soaking and reforming into new sheets. The prints themselves have been kept to one side (can’t pulp those because of the oil based inks I used) and will be used as collage pieces in other projects over time
Left to right: cartridge, kozo, cardstock (from course final presentation sheets).
Let’s see how I get on with this lot before moving to the rest. With a bit of luck I won’t have to buy any new paper for a while to come!!
nice work. I have a little paper making kit here that I used for a uni assignment when we had to make things with cardboard (I made paper from cardboard). it’s fun but smelly. I like that space you’re in, looks great for activities
The amount I spent on paper for the course was huge so I want to reuse as much as possible, and it’s fun doing it as I can use the Primrose Paper Arts studio.
great idea to reuse the paper
Mmm, lovely! It’s going to be wonderful to use!
Hi Claire. I love the use of those different papers, I have only ever used left over Christmas paper which is getting thinner as the years go by. Must try something different.
Tomorrow is the big paper recycling day. Can’t wait to see the results.
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