Monday, April 22, 2013

Papermaking Workshop Part 2

one option for beating the fiber
 With buckets of cooked fiber and not enough coffee, on a Saturday morning in San Francisco, class began.  Students looked at sample books while Rhiannon talked about paper making and resources.  And then came the fun.  Students took turns with the blenders making the artichoke, fennel, eucapyltus, and grass fibers into usable pulp.  Others cut daffodil and horsetail stems to cook to use later in class. I prepared vats and had abaca ready to strengthen some of the weaker fibers, a good strong base for beautiful but not so strong fibers.

a significantly less popular option (this is kozo,not locally harvested)        
 Hand-beating fibers was also discussed and students were offered some prepared kozo to try.  It is a good fiber for witnessing the transformation of plant fiber from recognizable plant form to separated fibers ready to be part of paper.  Personally I also love partially beaten kozo because it is strong and holds its form and can form beautiful lace like designs.  Students were less interested or perhaps felt no realease in hitting something over and over.

vat of artichoke pulp

And so it began.  Pulp is added to a vat of water, the separated fibers are suspended, and then removed with a mold and deckle, almost like a screen with a frame.  Here the mold and deckle await the next person.
using a deckle box
An alternative method is to use a deckle box, adding the fiber and water to a box with a screen for a bottom and high sides.  Here, Rhiannon demonstrates how to make a one-of-a-kind pulp mixture in the deckle-box.

wet paper!
Either way, once most of the water has drained through the mold or the deckle box, the new sheet of paper is turned on to a pelon on felts to be ready to be pressed.  The pressing released more water and squishes the fibers together.

My paper is still drying in San Fransisco.  I will share photos once I get it back.  The class lasted all day and by the end, everyone was excited and exhausted.  I went home with a few bags of pulp and can't wait to try them out! They may have to wait until after the Patchwork show though.

And if you live in the Bay Area and this looks fun to you, contact Rhiannon Alpers through her website to sign up for summer classes in papermaking