Paper making refresher lesson
I have only made paper once before, and that was over 20 years ago, while at art college. I thought that as my project is mainly about paper making, that I should have a refresher lesson before I start making my own paper! Luckily, at my studios is a lovely artist friend who has all the materials, equipment and facilities in her studio.
Tanya Wood (www.tanyawood.co.uk) is helping me with this project by giving advice and technical support with the paper making. I didn’t know Tanya made paper, it came up after talking to her about what I was going to do and she said that she has made lots of handmade paper. I only knew her as a very talented artist who produces extremely detailed pencil drawings.
Tanya started the session right at the very beginning, tearing up recycled envelopes into small squares. I was told that shredded paper was not a good material to use as it cuts the fibres too short. This was then put into a liquidizer with some water and then blitzed until it turned into pulp. When you have enough it is poured into a large container with clean water in to form a watery solution. The mould and deckle, the frame that produces the paper, is then submerged into the container and then pulled up with the pulp solution on the top. The water then drains through the mesh leaving the ‘paper’, the mould is taken off and it is then turned upside down on to a j-cloth. After you have made a number of sheets, a board is put on top and weighed down to press as much water as possible out. The sheets can then be turned onto a flat surface to dry.
Well that is the theory! Most of the time it worked well. With some sheets I tried embossing with some plant material, to hopefully create the ‘ghost’ of a leave. This worked well with some of them, but on one of them I forgot to put another j-cloth on the first layer and ended up trapping leaves between 2 sheets. Although this was a mistake it turned out really well, producing a lovely textured surface, something I’ll try with the plant paper.
The dried paper turned out really well, for a first attempt, and gives me an understanding on where to go next and how to make the moulds into different shapes and sizes. The next step is to process some collected plant material and practice making the paper, and start to think of the final artworks.