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

book 026

book 023

book 024

book 021

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.

<Rice book

Rice Book inside

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.

Autumn book

book 002

book 001



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.