Wednesday, March 6, 2013


When I was a little girl of about 7, I had this dream of making my own paper. I had read about the history of paper and in particular of papyrus, and I remember sitting in the back yard dismally pounding some leaves with a stone in the hope that somehow it would be magically transformed into a sheet of paper. It was a depressing experience. A year or two later I read a description of making hand made paper, probably in an encyclopaedia, or perhaps in my Dad's old Reader's Digest DIY manual. I remember seeing the picture of the deckle and the vat of pulp and a press for flattening the paper and realising that this was definitely beyond my capabilities. So I shelved my dream.
Yesterday, 45 years later, I made my first sheets of paper in a workshop with Colleen Ross. I made a simple basic deckle using two wooden photo frames with a piece of netting stapled on. I had torn my pieces of paper and soaked them the day before the workshop. (See the link for photos of the process). Once home the cotton sheets with paper on them were still somewhat damp, so I used my clothes drying rack to dry them.

When dry, they peel off quite easily.

In this batch I added ink with a dropper (1 and 3) and a spray (2).

Here I added scraps of Indian paper (1 and 3) and coffee (2).

Adding dried plant material (1 and 3) and raffia (2).
And what did I use to make the pulp? Leftover photocopies from the Nightmare Editing Project, of course!


Leenie said...

Hand made paper is a beautiful thing. I love the random texture and the deckled edges Your creations are most excellent. I've observed but never actually tried making paper, but maybe I shouldn't be so quick to burn my failed paintings but instead when life gives me disaster--make colored paper. hmmmmm

Linda Sue said...

Lovint the coffee stained piece! When Erik was four years old we made paper in the basement with a little screen- put old envelopes and od bits of paper in the blender and wrecked it- but we got some great sheets out of the event, also I had some old tin cookie cutters- heart shaped and elephant shaped and put the pulp in them about an half inch deep, let them dry after poking a hole in them somewhere, for hanging. Great ornaments for out ornament branch. They last forever and you can put sparkle in them or a dab of paint in the mix. I love hand made paper- am a sucker for it! That is another reason to go back to stinky old Venice- just for the paper!