This past weekend, I was happy to teach the very first Papermaking class at the AS220 Print Shop, here in Providence, Rhode Island. The printshop folk were kind enough to let us invade the silkscreen area with vats of pulp, moulds & deckles, and some serious hand papermaking action.The class was sold-out, and enthusiastic students had a great day learning how to make paper by hand and create fantastic pulp paintings.
We started the day off with basic sheet-formation from cotton and abaca pulps. Pulp was dispersed in vats of water, and mould and deckles were used to form sheets. A mould is a simple frame with a screen that catches pulp fibers while letting water drain through. More about sheet formation & uniformity.
The freshly formed sheets were pressed by hand using a sponge to absorb water, and then a roller for more pressure.
The afternoon was focused on a wide variety of pulp painting techniques. Pulp fibers can be pigmented and applied to freshly made, wet sheets of paper to create painting that is actually part of the paper. Direct pulp painting uses brushes, squeeze bottles, and turkey baster to paint directly on a fresh sheet of paper with pigmented pulps. Here is a short article about pulp painting for beginners.
Students also used stencil techniques. Mylar (or even interfacing) can be cut into shapes, and used as a block-out to create hard-edges. Other techniques shown include collage and inclusions, where objects are layered into the paper sheet, and laminating, where fresh sheets are overlapped to created bigger or irregularly shaped paper.
AS220 is a unique, non-profit artist-run arts center with galleries, live/work studios, theatres, and community print shop, dark room, digital media lab, and so many great projects. Their mission is to provided a forum and home for the arts and creative population of Rhode Island. Peruse their website at as220.org for more information.
Lindsey Beal, a fellow Providence papermaker and artist, was TA for the day and was a huge help with getting the word out, setting up/breaking down (we conquered those buckets of water like nobody’s business), helping students with their work, and everything else. The class couldn’t have happened without her! She also took great photos of the class. P.S. You must take a peak at her lovely work at lindseybeal.net.
Also, much thanks to Lauren Pearlman over at The Paper Connection, who was a big supporter! Visit them at www.paperconnection.com. They have an extensive inventory of hand-made Asian papers, decorative washi, and much more for fine art, drawing, painting, printmaking, or just to stare at for an extensive period of time for their mesmerizing qualities.
Want to know more about papermaking and handmade paper art? Visit my Pinterest Papermaking Page to see artwork by great paper artists and even more paper miscellany.