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.


sue said...

That turned out looking beautiful, Jeanette--love it!

Julie Broom said...

Great informative post, Jeanette. Your paper looks like a really interesting surface to work on. I love the idea of being able to plant it - genius!

Jennifer Rose said...

i really like the idea of using seeds in the paper to grow when planted. :) gift tags that are gifts themselves :)

Gesa said...

great post, jeanette! i haven't made paper but i very much enjoy making pastel boards and canvas - i fully agree: the process of making the support is very much part of the piece of art too, plus it gives you a lot of control over what else is to come. it's a fantastic idea for a present too - best of luck with it.

i just remembered that large sheets of handmade paper stored underneath my bed... hm... now...

momamama said...

I love this!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Sue.

It is unique to work on Julie and very rough. Experimentation with different papers will provide smoother surfaces I hope.

Yeah, its neat to be able to recycle things Jennifer. Something different.

How do you make pastel board Gesa? Do you paint on a textured surface or just use gesso?

I probably have more paper stuffed under the bed now that I think of it...

Thanks Momamama.

Margaret Ryall said...

I always admire people who make paper. I keep thinking I will do it and even have materials saved, but I have not created any paper. I buy a lot of paper and I am always drawn to the really rough, absorbent ones. These look great.

yesterday after reading a comment on Facebook, I realized I had lost you on my blog list, which I've rectified. Now I'm wondering who else I lost.

Jeanette said...

I usually only make paper in the summer Margaret, but a warm fire and lots of garbage bags on the floor make it possible to do in other seasons too.

Blog links come and go and there are often so many that I try to keep up with some do slip.

Pat said...

I will be using your idea for the gift tags and I will pass on your site info for purchasing more. Love the previous post about skill and practicing. Very informative.