Friday, November 14, 2008

Casting Paper

Cast paper is made by pressing paper pulp into a mould of some kind while wet and letting it dry in the mould. I have experimented with different kinds of moulds - plaster of paris, drywall compound, polymer clay, and regular clay. My favorite is the polymer clay - I use Sculpty. It dries fairly flexible which helps in removing the dry paper. Once removed, I play with the casts using paints, pastels, and shoe polish (a recently discovered favorite).

Other Paper

All of the papers are colored with pigments - which makes the colors vibrant, and permanent. Petals, leaves, and other botanicals make beautiful additions to the paper.

Watercolor Paper

On a warm, sunny late summer afternoon, my children and I made sheets, and sheets of watercolor paper. The pulp came from Twinrocker Papermaking Supplies in Brookston IN - less than an hour drive from us. The pulp was 100% cotton, and pre-sized for watercolor (that means a chemical was added to make the paper less absorbent). Each sheet was made individually on a small mould and deckle. The feathering on the edges was extremely pronounced and unique. We made them postcard sized - perfect for quick sketches on a vacation. I painted on a few after they were dry and was very impressed with the way the paints sat on the surface, and the irregular, non-mechanized surface added immensely to the charm of the finished paintings.

Christmas Papers

These are a continuation of the collage idea - using traditional Christmas colors and designs. The reindeer was created by cutting a reindeer shape out of craft foam and laying the freshly scooped paper pulp directly onto the stencil and lightly pressing with a sponge to remove excess water.

Rapsody in Black

These collages all feature coffee over-dyed black and grey cotton paper that was pressed onto textured surfaces while wet with cast paper elements. Some were surface decorated with oil pastel, acrylic paint, and shoe polish. All are mounted on Arches 100% cotton rag printmaking paper and are 4 1/4 x 5 1/2.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making paper by hand has been an immensely gratifying adventure. It satisfies all of my creative needs. As an artist mom with young children, I am always looking for ways to be "artistic together." Making paper is uncomplicated, messy, and infinitely open-ended -- all necessary ingredients for our creative time together. The kids love it, and I even dream about it.