Tonight I am drying and pressing the sheets of paper I made on Sunday on this groovy little dry mount press that Susanne is lending me. (Lending as in, you can have it until I need it again, which will probably not happen.) I’m going to “lend” her my greenhouse in the same way. I really don’t have a good place for it now that the fruit trees have grown so much.

The great thing about this press is that it makes the sheets nice and flat and dry at the same time. I can only do two sheets at a time, but still it is a much quicker and better result. Even though I’m walking over to it and switching papers every 12 minutes, it is enough time to do other things in between. And the main reason I like it is that I don’t have papers spread out all over the place drying! It is a real space-saver.

art, book arts, papermaking

Book with recycled basil blossom paper

This paper was made with any kind of brown paper I could get my hands on, leftover plant fibers, and lots of dried basil blossoms. It smells nice. The paper was a little bigger than the cover, but I decided not to cut it down to fit. I like it sticking out.

The cover was stamped with an walnut ink dauber, and then acrylic paints. The book is bound with coptic stitch and I used corn shuck/abaca paper as spine reinforcers. The little bisque-fired ceramic buttons I’ve been using are by an artist in Brasstown, NC. I’m going to make my own buttons at some point, since I’ve run out of my own. I love making textured, stained ceramics and haven’t done any of that for a long time.

art, book arts, papermaking

New books

Finally took a few photos tonight.

This one is definitely for me. It is made with both recycled handmade paper and commercial writing paper. The cover is made with an envelope that Rice sent to me – too precious not to reuse! The binding was a bit tricky because I used lots of different scraps and bits of paper. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be so I’ll probably make a few similar to this for sale.

Not a very focused photo, but I’ll get another later since I plan to keep monkeying around with adding things to this book.

Here’s another coptic-stitched book with a painted cover. The cover and end pages are handmade artichoke papers, and the inside pages were made with corn shucks and abaca fiber. This is a gift for Sherri, the paper collage artist who showed us Mendenhall Glacier while we were in Juneau.



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.

collage, papermaking

Belated Mother’s Day card

I honestly didn’t forget Mother’s Day. I just thought that it was next Sunday. I didn’t see last week’s Sunday paper, I don’t watch TV (at least, not on the television set), I don’t pay any attention to ads, and I’ve been so spacy that if anyone has talked about it in front of me I guess I missed it. I’ve always associated it with the same weekend as graduation.

Anyway, I made this card for Mama out of my handmade paper, mica, and a button. Hope that she will forgive me.

art, book arts, fiber art, papermaking

What I’ve been doing

Making recycled paper

Making and writing and painting and drawing and glueing in journals – some are altered books

Yes, I already spilled something on the “Sticks and Stones” journal, made with pizza box covers and my handmade paper.

Here’s the first handbound book, covers made from a Kandinsky poster book, paper made by Susanne Martin.

I used these sunflower petals in some handmade paper and saved the stalks to make paper with later. The sunflowers are from a Handance Farm CSA. The echinaecea is from the Back Forty.

Another studio shot – I picked the drawer out of someone’s trash to use for a shelf. The oil paintings are mine, and I’m proud of them, but apparently not enough to let go of the money to frame them.

Squirt and Mama Kitty rest on the studio windowsill.

art, book arts, critters, papermaking

Memorial book in progress

Sort of, anyway. I took most of Squirt and Mama Kitty’s fur to Susanne, who is adding it to a batch of pulp for our papermaking day June 14. She is going to show me how to make the paper and then let me go at it on my own all day.

I’ve made the stamp of Squirt and I’m going to make a stamp of Mama Kitty.

I think that I’ll include the “Our Cat Enters Heaven” story by Margaret Atwood that a kind reader sent to me, and my haiku for Squirt, and other writing and remembrances of mine about them.

I need to think about the covers. Now that Mama Kitty has joined Squirt, I may make the back-to-back style that I learned in Dan Essig’s class at Art and Soul. I think that I’d like to do fabric covered covers, but I need to mull all this over and think about the whole of it rather than the parts.

I’ve been carving some wonderful stamps of the “Black Adder” font, my favorite font that I don’t even know where I picked it up, but I use it frequently.

Susanne gave me a couple of big sheets of her paper; one with yak hair and one with buffalo hair and sage. I have a previous gift from her of a paper made with lavender from Spannocchia. Maybe I’ll make a small book with just these papers.