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Posts Tagged ‘handmade paper’

Fur In The . . . Paper?

It has arrived. A big box full of handmade paper goodness. I’m surprised Connie sent it on to me so quickly as last time she didn’t mail it out until after it had cured.

Maybe she thinks she can trust me this time to not automatically grab a sheet and try to create a masterpiece.

Hmm . . . more than likely she wanted it out of her house in time for her open house this weekend. She knows I am weak willed at times.

Do Zombies Ever Eat Paper?
I was anxious to see if I had made it right this time. The beauty of making handmade paper is that if you make it wrong, you tear it up, soak it and begin the process again. Never any waste.

Last time I forgot the crucial step of shaking the mold
as I’m pulling it out of the water. This helps settle the fibers together. Not doing this makes a weird pattern in the paper that kinda resembles brains. For me it really didn’t matter as oil pastel would completely cover this defect. Still . . . it’s nice to do the just right.

Turns out no brain pattern but it’s not really smooth either. Kinda lumpy. Not sure if it’s because the paper should have soaked a little more (since we recycled last years batch) and it was still a bit clumpy. Or if yet again it was operator error. (probably the later)

Since the paper I made last time didn’t have enough sizing, it sat unused for about a year. Now a forward thinking artist (like Connie) would have put the paper in a bag or something until it was needed. I put it on a shelf but didn’t really hermetically seal it (yes that’s what it would take to keep out the Budda fur.) What I did was put a piece of cardboard on top and thought “eh, good enough.”

Evidently not. There was quite a bit of Budda fur in my paper pulp and yes there are quite a few sheets where a Budda hair is distinctly visible.

Ah well . . . thank goodness that oil pastel have great coverage.

For More On Making Handmade Paper Visit This Lens
How To Make Handmade Paper

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Paper Glorious Paper

It has arrived! My very own stack of handmade paper made by my very own hands. Cool!

I can’t wait to dig in and try some out. I did spend some time today sorting photos, looking for an image to try first.

It has more texture than Connie’s. I’m not sure whether that is because we worked extra hard to make them thicker, or perhaps because I don’t know what I’m doing. (As in maybe I could have done a better job mixing the pulp in the water vat.) I’m going with the first thing. I don’t think the extra texture will be a problem in any way and the thicker paper is a definate plus.

Oh, and the best part is I have a new bigger size, 11×17. What oh what, can I do in that size . . . now?

A horse perhaps?

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How To Make Paper

The illustrated version.
So this is essentially a re-posting of a blog entry I made several months ago. Except this time we have some pictures to help illustrate the concepts. The instructions are priomarily in Connie’s own words, though I’ve added some additional information. The new input will be in italics.

About Connie Herring
My good friend Connie Herring (Photo Below is Connie “couching” a sheet of paper.) offered to show me how to make handmade paper after I discovered the joys of working with oil pastels on it. I particularly love those nobbley deckley edges that look so cool when framed out.

Connie is a multi-talented artist. She works in a variety of media and does all sorts of fantastical and technical creations. She is primarily an installation artist, though she creates sculpture, handmade paper and books, weavings on commission, and designs personal jewelry upon request. But arguably more important than that, she is a good spirit and one of the nicest people I know. Visit her website, www.connieherring.com. I encourage you to do so.

Steps for making paper
I make a variety of papers. I have paper made by recycling old library cards from card catalogs, (this paper can’t be considered archival I don’t think because of the ink they used at the time, but the cards are 100% cotton). I also make paper from Abaca, cotton, and linen linters. Linters are large, thick sheets of compressed fibers which I order from various paper making supply places.

Step1. I tear the linters up and soak them in water over night. (Photo Above is soaking linters) I usually weight the amount in each bucket so that if I have to add color, or a sizing I know how much to add to the amount of paper.

Step 2. The next day I “beat” the torn up paper. I use a disposal which has been mounted under a table which is open at the bottom. I put the soaked, torn paper by the hand full into the disposal and it comes out the bottom into a bucket as paper pulp. There’s lots of water involved so things get pretty wet all around.

Step 2.5 If I am going to be adding sizing or dyes, I do so at this point.

Step 3. From there the pulp is put into a vat of water. There is a lot of water in relation to the pulp and the ratio of water to pulp determines the thickness of the paper. The more pulp the heavier the paper. (Photo is Connie is skimming off some extra water.)

Step 4. To prepare for the stacking of paper sheets that goes into the press, first a board is laid in place. Followed by three sheets of wool. Connie used an old wool blanket washed many times and cut to size for the paper. The blanket is for water absorption and cushioning between sheets. So first the board, then 3 sheet of wool, followed by one sheet of felt.

Step 5. Next I get the mold and deckle that I want to use for the size of paper needed. The mold is a frame covered with screen. The deckle is like a frame that fits over the mold. Inside the frame, on the screen is where the sheet of paper is formed.

Step 6. Next I mix the pulp/water mix so the pulp is evenly suspended in the vat, by gentle running my hand through it. I hang onto the mold and deckle on two sides and cut it into the vat. I pull the mold/deckle up, and let it drain. There is a sheet of paper on the mold at this point.

Step 7. I carefully remove the deckle and “couch” the sheet of paper onto a felt. (A felt traditionally is a special piece of felt used specifically for paper making. I use a synthetic felt.)

“Couching” is the term used for the process of turning the mold upside down and putting the paper pulp onto the felt. (photo below is me “couching” a sheet of paper.) I will place another felt onto the paper, (then add another sheet of wool. Then I place another sheet of felt over the wool. And then) pull another sheet of paper and put that on top of the new felt.

Step 8. I will build a stack of paper like this until I have about 25 sheets. I then put three more sheets of wool over the last felt and add the board on top of the stack and place into a press.

I tighten the press as far as possible to eliminate as much water as possible. I let the paper set in the press for at least a 1/2 hour, (occasionally going back to squeeze the press a little tighter) and while it’s setting, I make another stack of paper.

Step 9.
After at least 30 minutes have passed, I remove papers from the press and lay the paper out to dry.

(Photo Right is me removing papers from the press.)

First I pull off the wool sheet, then grasp both felts (upper and lower) with the sheet of fresh made paper between. These are then laid out on cardboard and allowed to dry for a couple of days. Air circulation is helpful, but you don’t want any direct air blowing on them. Be sure to allow them to dry thoroughly before handling or they will not set up properly.

(Photo Left is paper laying out to dry on cardboard.) After a couple of days of dry time you should then set them aside for a couple of weeks before using, just to make sure they cure properly.

It’s really very basic, but it takes awhile to get consistent sheets. I order a lot of my supplies from Twinrocker, and they have a web site www.twinrocker.com

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Connie Herring on Making Paper

Hand made paperConnie Herring is a multi-talented artist. She works in a variety of media and does all sorts of fantastical and technical creations. She is primarily an installation artist, though she creates sculpture, handmade paper and books, weavings on commission, and designs personal jewelry upon request. But arguably more important than that, she is a good spirit and one of the nicest people I know. Visit her website, www.connieherring.com. I encourage you to do so.

I had asked Connie to tell me about making paper. She gave such a excellent and comprehensive answer that I thought I would post it all, in her words.

Steps for making paper
I make a variety of papers. I have paper made by recycling old library cards from card catalogs, (this paper can’t be considered archival I don’t think because of the ink they used at the time, but the cards are 100% cotton). I also make paper from Abaca, cotton, and linen linters. The linen is what I’ll bring you.

Linters are large, thick sheets of compressed fibers which I order from various paper making supply places. I tear the linters up and soak them in water over night. I usually weight the amount in each bucket so that if I have to add color, or a sizing I know how much to add to the amount of paper.

The next day I “beat” the torn up paper. I use a disposal which has been mounted under a table which is open at the bottom. I put the soaked, torn paper into the disposal and it comes out the bottom into a bucket as paper pulp. There’s lots of water involved so things get pretty wet all around. From there the pulp is put into a vat of water. There is a lot of water in relation to the pulp and the ratio of water to pulp determines the thickness of the paper. The more pulp the heavier the paper.

Next I get the mold and deckle that I want to use for the size of paper needed. The mold is a frame covered with screen. The deckle is like a frame that fits over the mold. Inside the frame, on the screen is where the sheet of paper is formed. Next I mix the pulp/water mix so the pulp is evenly suspended in the vat. I hang onto the mold and deckle on two sides and cut it into the vat. I pull the mold/deckle up, and let it drain. There is a sheet of paper on the mold at this point.

I carefully remove the deckle and couch the sheet of paper onto a felt. (A felt traditionally is a special piece of felt used specifically for paper making. I use a synthetic felt.) “Couching” is the term used to the process of turning the mold upside down and putting the paper pulp onto the felt. I will place another felt onto the paper, pull another sheet of paper and put that on top of the new felt. I will build a stack of paper like this until I have about 25 sheets.

I then put a board on top and bottom of the stack and place into a press. I tighten the press as far as possible to eliminate as much water as possible. I let the paper set in the press for at least a 1/2 hour, and while it’s setting I make another stack of paper. Once out of the press I lay the pieces of paper out to dry.

It’s really very basic, but takes awhile to get consistent sheets. I order a lot of my supplies from Twinrocker, and they have a web site www.twinrocker.com that has a couple of pictures of making paper that may be helpful.

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So in an effort to better manage my time, I began yet another painting on handmade paper. This really helps me to not force my bear painting along. I can take the time I need to make decisions, without feeling guilty about not painting. I think once I actually begin putting in color on the bear, I will work exclusively on it.

This White Wolf is on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of handmade paper. It does have deckling, but in an effort to get it in one scan, (instead of two) we lost the deckled edges.

The paper is quite soft, so my usual practice of drawing and erasing really can’t happen. To work around this, I could project the image. OR I could draw it out on something else, like tracing paper. Place the final drawing over the handmade paper and redraw the lines. This forms a barely visible indentation on the handmade paper. Carbon paper would also work, but the lines would be quite harsh and may not get completely covered by the oil pastel. (Besides, finding carbon paper these days, is like looking for something out of the stone age.)

Archivability on handmade Paper
Oils can cause degradation of paper, so it is always wise to research your art materials when working with oil pastels. Since I have started working with handmade paper, archivability is a concern. Thus I began looking in earnest for more information and started experimenting.

I tried a few different gessos and found the oil pastel didn’t adhere as well, as I am used to. I had almost given up hope of working with the handmade paper, until I looked at the various oil pastel brands. Most resources said that there is no need for a gesso or primer to be applied, if the oil pastels were made using inert oils (like mineral oil). Holbein and Sennelier are made with inert oils. I couldn’t find any information regarding my other main brand Caran D’Ache. Perhaps I will contact the manufacturer. If I do so I will post about what I learn.

How to make paper
I asked Connie to explain the process of making paper. She did such an excellent informative description of the process, I thought I would post it tomorrow.

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