The notes received in this workshop stated (in part & abbreviated):
Pastepapers have been used since at least as early as 1650. They were often made in the binder’s shop, but some businesses were set up solely to provide them for both the decorative covers and endpapers of books. Pastepapers provided an alternative to Dutch Gilt and Turkish marbled papers.
They were further popularized in eighteenth century England by the Moravian Sisters of Herrnhut who settled in Fulneck, Leeds, UK, and started producing decorative papers for sale to support their nunnery.
I’ve just spent 2 days with other like-minded people firstly exploring the original designs the nuns created, and trying to replicate them, followed by contemporary experimentation of our own.
Using natural earth pigments and our own fresh wheat starch paste, we employed the same simple tools the Sisters had used and endeavoured to make historically correct decorated papers.
Above left is the tutor’s paper showing a very neat ‘chain’ or ‘6 & 9″ pattern made by thumb marks. On the right is my attempt showing that using your thumb to nicely push pigmented paste around successfully is easier said than done.
I practiced simple thumb swirls (above left), which weren’t so simple. Then redid the first design with a variation. Getting the right thumb mark shape is surprisingly difficult, and we all found it so. Look below at the beautiful example the tutor produced.
We moved on to a more complex design incorporating scallops (and without thumb marks, thank goodness).
This saw us introduced to multi-colours, more comb work, lines & layering, and our own interpretations of each. We were up and running. Here are a few of my pieces:
Well that’s a sample of some of what we did and I can see an improvement in my pieces as I experimented with patterns, different paste mixes, different papers and a variety of tools and colourants. It was fun and I’ve now got a good supply of unique papers to use as either book covers or endpapers. A couple may end up on the recycling pile though . . .