Friday, November 06, 2009
Starting from scratch
When ever I clean out my studio I find things that I have forgotten about. This time it was some hand made paper.
Occasionally in the summer I get the urge to make paper. Its time consuming and very messy so I take it to the garden. In involves newspapers, water, screen frames and lots of mess. The home made screen frames that I use aren't large, perhaps 9 x 5. A warm sunny day helps them dry quickly which wouldn't happen as easily indoors.
The basic principle is to dip the screened frame into the paper slurry so that a layer is deposited on the screen. The frame is left in the sun to dry until you can peel off the resulting layer of paper.
This paper is neutral with a greyish tinge from the printers ink in the papers. It can be bleached or coloured and additives mixed into the slurry. I like to use flower petals and herbs that give texture with an added bonus of seed heads. I make them into gift tags or cards which can then be planted directly into the garden and grow into herbs or wildflowers.
There is no sizing on the paper so it is very absorbent and the texture is rough. I played around with a quick sketch of a crow using pen and wash. The water soaks into the paper like a wick and I may try some oils or acrylics on it for the next piece.
There is something satisfying about being able to create the surface that you paint or draw on. It gives me a sense of history. This is something that others have done years ago and in this modern age I still like to become familiar with what has gone before.
I will be creating some tags from some of this handmade paper and making them available on Etsy. Keep an eye out if you're looking for something unique to add to your Christmas presents this year.