Well, quite a few days have passed whilst I’ve been playing with teabag staining sheets of my own hand-made paper to use for chine collé and collaging. As I previously wrote, some staining has been on flat paper and other trials were on crumpled or semi-pleated paper. All have given some terrific results.
First up, lightweight (around 45gsm) white handmade paper stained flat. This tended to get very soaked and delicate so after the first time I put kitchen hand towel on top (below right hand picture) to mop up some of the excess and used two layers of the handmade paper together.
Next, let’s look at the same weight paper crumpled in one direction (sort of concertina look).
Even though the paper was beautiful and soft when flat as soon as I started to crumple it to put the teabags on top it started to crack. You can see on the left where there are small areas broken off. When fully stained and dried (and dragged around the garden once in my dog’s mouth because I accidentally dropped it on the floor!) I carefully opened the sheets out and ironed them.
I’d hoped to get more of a spider web effect where the tea soaked into the peaks where each bag sat, but that hasn’t been the case unfortunately. Still a good result and I feel that this would be better with a commercial paper where there is ‘size’ and the pages won’t split. However, that’s not a test for this time because the whole point is that I’m using my own recycled paper.
Finally to a little thicker handmade paper. This white recycled mountboard paper is around 70-80gsm. So fairly robust. I crumpled.
Actually, I loved it stained and crumpled (which gave me another idea). I slowly opened it up and could see the first signs of fantastic colour gradations and patterning. On the right you can see the final ironed piece.
I’m currently looking at printing and collaging trees and some of the plants I recently photographed during a trip to the botanic gardens. I think my tea stained paper is working well towards a tree bark collage.
Just for fun I zoomed in on my photo of the ironed paper and ‘cut out’ some tree shapes. I played with the density of colour and size and was immediately struck by the simplicity, but effectiveness, of this 2 layer computer generated outcome.
So it’s been a worthwhile couple of weeks looking at this and working with the teabags and my paper. Now it’s time to start looking at some actual printmaking and seeing how this concept can be incorporated.