Having started down the route of learning to make paper from plant material (see previous posts re Monstera Deliciosa trials) I spent a day with my friends at Primrose Paper Arts learning the basics. As I have a huge Strelitzia plant which needed a trim it seemed like a good place to start.
At Primrose Park several of us wanted to cook our fibres but most had different plants. To keep these separate we bagged each type and added them to the boiling copper (water + caustic soda solution). Above you can see how much colour comes out and how we used the paddle to press the bags testing for the softness of the stems as they break down.
Once cooked, the bags were removed and the contents thoroughly rinsed.
Back at home I liquidised the fibres into pulp ready to make paper.
He suggested running the deckle/mold frame through the water several times instead of mixing by hand. This made a big difference, I’m not sure why but he did try to explain some scientific reason why an item this shape is such a good mixer.
I borrowed a portable press from the group.
It’s a great piece of equipment and is easily carried where needed. Being so organised they also have all the compressed rubber mats and felt pre-cut to size ready for workshops. Luckily I got to borrow a complete set over the Christmas period.
Once my paper was pressed it was ready for drying, and this is where my latest tips from Jill Elias came in handy. Each time I’ve made paper, dried it and pressed it flat in my Albion press it has come out with crinkled edges. Jill suggested I roll my damp sheets on to the window and leave them to dry there. OK, I’m happy to try anything.