Thursday, July 13, 2017

Papermaking update and new batch out in the sun

Today being even more infernally hot, apt metaphor there, it was a good day for more papermaking.  I raided the freezer last night to extract some little packets of flower petals donated by a friend last year, for whatever use I wanted. I was thinking of them for dyeing, or maybe hammering onto linen, but thought maybe paper would be good, too.

So I made a batch of abaca fiber, and as I lifted up each page from the vat, sprinkled flower petals on it.  Then, so that they don't just fall right back off when the paper dries, I sluiced a bit more liquid from the vat over them.  This means some abaca fibers will hold them onto the page. 

So I did the minimum of draining, then laid them out straight onto the deck to dry.  Here they're still soaking wet and translucent, but as they dry, the paper will become opaque, and with any luck, the flowers will show.  I noticed that some of the colors are starting to bleed, which is nice, since I didn't want just petal shapes.

This sort of paper's much more delicate in handling than the other types you've seen here, and you can't stack and press it the same way, since the petals are likely to come off and stick to the felt above in the process.  You can't really mix the petals directly into the vat, or they'll probably disappear into the paper, with only an outline showing.

Which reminds me of another lovely technique I've used -- laminating.  This is where you make a page, lay an object on it, then lay another page directly on top.  As it dries, the object is seen in outline, and the two pages bond as one page.  

I've done it with all kinds of plants and pods.  You can gently draw out the plant later if you like, but don't have to.  It's one of those things that are very easy and look impressive, always a good thing.  I must do more of this. Best with abaca or a mix of abaca and cotton linter.  I don't think it would be so successful with plant material like iris or daylily, which tend to dry crisp and not amenable to molding. But it's worth a try, come to think of it. 

We'll see how today's try works out, and hope the curious birds don't get involved with it.

And in the studio, the post of daylily flower paper is almost dry, and here it is.  The darker areas are damp, but it will all be a kind of gold color when it's done. 

They're on a glass top, not flying in mid air.

The iris leaves I was drying up there are now bone dry, and ready to use, but not today. One post of paper a day is plenty of carrying water and slinging stuff about.  And the lavender is fully dry now, and may or may not end up in paper, no rush; now that it's dry, it's inert.

It's really a favorite summer thing to do, letting the sun do part of the work for me, while the garden provides raw material. And then blogging about it to a receptive and interested audience, while the act of writing suggests more and more ideas to me.  Raw material everywhere.

Next idea: while waiting for paper to dry, read a Barbara Pym, currently Some Tame Gazelle, leaf through a few magazines donated by a neighbor, drink iced tea, doze off.

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