Sunday, January 8, 2017

winter paper intensive

the animals around here 
certainly have a sense of humor.
this black walnut is hidden in plain sight.
(hidden after the cushions were removed for the winter)
on the old, many times repaired glider on my porch.
there was a lot of milkweed prep & papermaking
 an almost empty pod
 finished stack
 a sense of translucency
 meanwhile, a little tour of Zone 4
 making paper with lee mcdonald moulds
(see the tiny one on upper left?)
 surface design
 further Z4 images
 i keep finding more
 sending this out to our pres
 thought crime
 and home curating milkweed
reading the recipes
winifred lutz, gin petty, lilian bell.
lilian bell's helpful book was a treat to re-read
right there were my notes in the margins from ages ago.
 at Z4 i was going through a basket of paper offcuts
and leftovers
meant for recycling.
and there was a bit one of my first milkweed papers.
it was great to see this
and very informative because i keep learning.
left: milkweed circa 1986
right january 2017
 what changed?
fiber was cut to 1 inch in the old sheet, and formation aid was tororo aoi.
new paper i left fibers long, hand beaten until my hands hurt
 eventually i chopped and blendered a bit.
i also used prepped formation aid leftover from peace paper at Z4.

and then, 
 i got to the linen rag paper.
that pulp that clogged the hollander a month ago,
was set aside, fermented a bit, frozen on the porch 
(see the walnut above)
and thawed and beating completed.
the first little linen rag paper sample
 the levis after papermaking
linen paper with jasper beach stones
there are also some large 12 x 18 sheets.
(the largest here is 8.5 x 11
smallest is business card size)
 it was cold outside yesterday morning
and today it's snowing. 
we can use it, and if we get enough, 
the new snowshoes will get a workout!
 the woods was etched with rime.
 beautiful beyond belief.
this project i participated in
love trumps hate
shu-ju wang orchestrated this, made the print (in my case)
and just sent the whole bunch out to the 53 participants.
now i will make the prayer flag.
and i have an idea where it should hang.


  1. Hi Velma, I used some lovely hand made paper from Thailand for cards about 5 years ago, the paper has "eaten" both the paint and ink, there is just the palest trace of the original marks left, this happened with the cheap rolls of paper that I used to use for big sketches back in the 70's and 80's, those drawings totally disappeared also within 1 5 year timeframe, so my question is how do you couteract the acidity of the plant based materials in hand made paper?

  2. oops that is meant to read a 5 year timeframe not 1

  3. mo, this is a question for the book arts list serv or a conservator. the thing is, how much does this matter to you? if it is of high importance, always choose archival papers...what i am up to right now makes no pretense to being archival. for example, if i were to make pure papers with milkweed, i would never use field retted fiber, i would harvest at prime time (late summer), let them "bleed out" (allow the latex "milk" to leech out), process as soon as that was done, cook well, rinse very very carefully, test for ph...i would have to be more of a paper scientist than i am. while i try to make good paper, i am not trying att his point to make paper that will last hundreds of years. that little specimen of older milkweed paper is 30 years old and hasn't visibly changed one bit.

  4. thank you, the way a paper holds the marks is important to me as drawing is my main form of communication so I will continue to buy archival rag paper for drawing and bookbinding, I love what you are doing as a sculptural form

  5. looks like you are working hard to keep warm, all of the paper looks so beautiful. Your winter-y woods are magnificent. Can't wait to see where you hang the banner, hope it makes a BIG impact!

  6. mo, i work on my papers all the time and use them in books, too. i have sold lots to small presses for their editions, from fine abaca to wild milkweed and daylily papers. they just need to suit the purpose. i have books that are made with shifu and vellum and ink and silk, and others that are quite sculptural in form. by all means use what you love to use!
    jean, the Z4 studio is warm, i often open the window! my personal paper intensive has been so good!

  7. (((Velma))) have the plant dyed marks on your handmade papers held their vibrancy over time?

  8. mo, there is HUGE variation, from indigo that disappears to indigo that is strong. there are persimmon marks that darken, as do some marks, others disappear. it helps to make a lot and then just, er, age. so, there are some real general rules--chlorophyl in plant leaf paper made in summer makes the paper green, but leave the stack in the sun and the top sheet and all the deckle edges begin to tan. nothing is permanent. it's best to remember that!

  9. The parallel between the frost covered branches and the pattern of vegetable matter in the paper is striking. I'm sure it's no accident!

  10. hmmm... and yet we have ancient books that have survived with their marks intact for centuries... please excuse all these questions re process, my background in glass is showing...

  11. mo, imagine this--there's an ink drawing, and a pencil drawing, and an illuminated painting on some beautiful hemp rag paper deep inside a book. the book is taken off the shelf and the colors and ink and pencil marks are still exquisite (except perhaps if the ink was made with iron) but then the book is put away. art on the wall is very different, even framed...sunlight, environmental contaminates whatever are in direct contact with the art. there aremany considerations and a bomb can destroy it all. i really really think it's ok for things to be impermanent, not poorly made, mind you, just not forever.

  12. good point but for me there is an arrogance on the part of the artist in the use of fugitive colour ie Turner's red's began to lose their vibrancy within months of being painted, here's a link

  13. all so very attractive!
    still mourning the bookbinding press that didn't make the move.


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