Sunday, April 21, 2013

Catching Up

tall windows in Rhiannon's studio

Yikes! It's been a while.  I've been busy busy.  I just downloaded my desktop calendar for April today.  It hasn't been all work--yesterday Andy and I took a walk in the woods and ended up in a redwood grove for a few hours, but more on that later.  Here's a  little bit of what I've been up to.


Rhiannon Alpers was teaching a class using local fibers in papermaking and I asked to be her assistant.  I haven't been making paper too much and though I do not have a project in mind, I thought it might get me excited about paper again.  And it did!  I went to her studio a week before the class to help prep.

cooking eucalyptus leaves

 First we went for a walk and collected eucalyptus leaves and palm bark--the hairy stuff around the tree.  She also had some fennel from a friend though there is plenty growing wild in San Francisco. (I planted it in my garden anyway. And, thanks to the cats, it never sprouted).

cooking fresh fennel
checking the fiber
 We returned to the studio and started cutting the plants in prepartation. The fennel was fresh and the eucalyptus was brittle and would have to be mixed with a stronger fiber anyway so we started them cooking right away.
I love using the rotary cutter!

It takes about two hours for the fiber to cook so we cut some pelons (like interfacing for quilting) to put our formed sheet onto during class.  Then we had a little drink.  And got back to work.

artichoke and grass pulps
Rhiannon had some pulp left over from a previous class, some of which had dried and some of which was a little moldy.  We cleaned and rinsed and rehyrated.  Then we strained the cooked pulp and called it a day.
Next time: photos of class and the finished paper!

 Hey, if you live in the Bay Area and want to take a papermaking class, contact Rhiannon though her website for summer classes.