I find it interesting that every papermaking session is different. I thought that the iris/abaca pulp would be almost just like the corn shuck/abaca pulp. But I ended up doing everything backwards from the beginning.
I thawed out half of the frozen pulp in the vat, so I decided to add water to it instead of the other way around. It was much too thin and I added another quarter of the pulp.
I got a few sheets that were thick enough for my liking, but the pulp ran out before I got very many. So I took a break, in which I began cooking the corn shucks.
When I returned to the vat, the solid pulp had settled to the bottom and there was about four inches of water on top. So I scooped out two gallons of water, and that made the pulp thick enough that I could get a few more sheets. The last two were hopelessly thin so I played with embedding a feather and some leaves between layers of thin pulp. I worked that pulp to the maximum!
Also, my cheap mould and deckle was frustrating. The screen is not attached and it shifted and wrinkled when I dipped it. Finally I tried dipping the mould in the opposite direction than I normally do it, and the screen stayed in place.
So the whole thing was kind of backwards, but I hope to get a couple of dozen thin sheets out of it anyway. I learned a lot for the next session. One thing that I learned is that I’m going to buy a good mould and deckle from Carraige House Paper, because the last mid-range m&d I bought from an unknown source was unusable.
Working in the dining room/kitchen did work out well, except that it was a bit awkward couching the sheets on the counter, but that can be remedied by bringing my folding table in from the studio. At least I have more room to move around, which is nice. Having a water source in the room was very convenient.