Friday, July 21, 2017

Lily flower paper, red onionskin paper

This morning's output is red onionskin paper, with a bit of cotton linter, which I'd left overnight in the vat with the onionskins and liquid from their cooking.  I wanted to have a pinkish rather than a whiter paper, but needed the cotton linter to give body to the paper in case the onionskins didn't have enough.  

In the course of tidying up in the part of the kitchen where I keep my dyeing utensils, I found a bunch of red onion skins and an even bigger bunch of yellow onionskins.  So I cooked them a couple of hours last night, as if for making dye.  

Except that here I can use the pulp for paper and the liquid for dye.  Big vat of yellow skins, smaller one of red.  As I couched today's paper, I noticed that the onionskins were shreds, but not really pulped, which may be their nature, but anyway, I cooked the yellow skins a couple hours more today while I worked on the other paper.
Next batch will be the yellow skins, because you either have to use them or freeze them, otherwise you have an ecological development in the form of mold.

The laminated paper dried and surprisingly, the twigs are very evident still.  I may laminate one more layer onto them, not sure yet.  Or spray them with a metallic.  Still thinking about this. Pix later if anything interesting happens with them.

Here's the post of lily flower paper, a couple of pieces of which were wonderfully lacy. This paper is tougher than it looks.


It looks very much like wood in some ways. And when I tried to photograph it fanned out, the pages blended into each other so well you couldn't see where one ended and the next began.  This might be something to capitalize on. So I ended up stacking them for a pic for now.

A young friend stopped in last night and kept on saying why do you work so hard? why??  which sort of baffled me, but I think it was just a figure of speech.  She can't imagine working like this under any circumstances.  She's an accountant, moseys through her day getting enough done with no great expenditure of physical effort, and that's what amazes her, I think. 

I was a bit down for a moment, though, thinking, hm, is she saying there's no point?  then I decided she just meant don't wear yourself out. Take it easy, whatever that is..I think she also wondered how come a person might work hard without being paid for certain for it, but that's another frame of reference.  Payment isn't always in the form of  legal tender.


  1. Looks intriguing.

    Was wondering if friend said that because your papermaking is about as labor-intensive an activity as you can get. Buckets of water, boiling up skins, drying sheets outdoors, etc. It's practically construction work - you should be paid union rates. Perhaps she thinks art is created by a woman in a silk dress, seated in a conveniently dry meadow, with a sketchbook and a pencil.

    Also, there's a heatwave going on and you're making experimental paper when many people are only about managing to flop on the couch in the AC and binge-watch Netflix shows.

  2. interesting comment by that young woman. She may just not understand the amount of work (mental or otherwise) that people are willing to apply to obviously non-lucrative adventures. And that may be a generational thing--thinking about you putting all that effort into such a small return (to her) sort of comes out in negative numbers, with learning curves and "future use" with no obvious reward... and she might not even understand the concept of doing sonething for it's own sake, "just to see" what will happen.

  3. That's a great way of looking at it! Yes, it's true, art is very physical. I guess I'm used to it. Also pounding up and down two flights numerous times daily in the same pursuit.

  4. Interesting that two comments came very quickly, both from poets!!

  5. well there isnt much that's less lucrative and occasionally time consuming than poetry, even if it's mostly done in the head and involves a huge amount of sitting. The hard work is invisible, but there.
    And it is also a creatively intense medium.

  6. Yes! Poets get it. And so much more.


Thank you so much for commenting! it means a lot to me to know you're out there and reading and enjoying.