15 November, 2009

Make the paper and print it!


This last week was spent immersed, literally, in the world of paper making. It was cold and cloudy here on Monday and Tuesday, which were also the days we spent pulling sheets from vats of freezing cold water! It was actually pretty fun, and our teacher, Frank Brannon from Asheville's BookWorks book arts center, was a big help in making it so much fun. And also we had hot tea and a warm room to go take a break in. All in all, not so bad. Even though our hands and arms were wet and cold (and occasionally our legs and feet, as well), it was peaceful out on the porch of Keith Lower, as we were in the old greenhouse and the sounds of water dripping onto the stone floor reminded me of some sort of zen garden. Drip drip, light conversation, and the flow of just pulling as much paper as we wanted to. My only experience with paper making before this class were the very shoddy attempts I made with the kids in my Montessori summer camp this past July, and I can now confidently say that were were going about it all wrong! Next summer will be much, much better (and so will our paper).

We made sheets from abaca; flax (both bleached and unbleached-- big difference in the texture and time it took to form); and cotton that had been dyed by adding a pair of someone's old purple jeans (it faded to a nice light mauve, fortunately!). All our paper was done by Wednesday, so we started my favorite part: the printing.

I was mainly focused on producing things I can use for the planning of our wedding. In paper making, this obviously points to invitations, thank you cards, and perhaps a few bigger prints used for signage or to put next to the cake or who knows, for the front of a guest book, maybe. With those things in mind, I managed to squeak out these:







(All the center block designs on the cards come from this book, my new favorite thing ever. Best $7.95 you'll spend, no matter what your craft medium is. Seriously, i can see them becoming amazing Fair Isle charts...)

I feel like this week I got to focus more on process and less on product, and yet I still ended up with a ton of things at the end of the class. Probably my favorite part was at the very end, when we learned how to put it all together with some very basic bookbinding. Check out these little sweeties:

They're each really small and thin, but it was the best use for the pure unbleached flax sheets that we pulled. They're so thin and smooth, they feel like skin. I was sort of grossed out by them until I cut off the wrinkly edges and covered these little books, and then aha! I suddenly liked the flax. They're finished with a silver bead:

And they have a print of a woodgrain stamp on the first page, just barely showing through the shadow of the cover:
I basically love them. I made more than I need; I'll put a few up on Etsy. :)

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