I created an edition of 150 handmade paperworks as part of the Hand Papermaking portfolio “Handmade Paper: Fiber Exposed” which will be published in 2012. The project began as a very worn linen bedsheet, which was turned into pulp. I wanted the finished sheet to have the look and feel of old linen, so I made a very translucent abaca/linen basesheet and stenciled a floral, damask-type pattern over it. The pattern is white on white, like a damask tablecloth.
Technical details….the pulp is a mixture of linen and abaca, both beaten way too long (due to the frailties of my beater). To create the 8″ x 10″ size, I stitched several stainless rods onto my mould (16″ x 20″) to separate it into 4 sheets. I formed and couched a base sheet, pressed it, then applied a mylar stencil to the surface (using some methyl cellulose). I sprayed very finely beaten linen over the stencil, creating a veil of opaque white color, then let it sit and absorb for a few moments. When removing the stencil, I often produced drips or globs, which I think added to the character of the paper in the end (initially, I wasn’t happy with the ‘character’). I then very carefully tore it apart while still wet. This ‘wet tear’ was necessary to create the effect of a deckled edge. After tearing, I sprayed the torn edges with water, so they wouldn’t shrink too much. Then each sheet was restraint-dried between blotters.
The finished portfolio, which contains handmade paper works by many other artists, will be sold to libraries and individual collectors. Hopefully, it will wind up in a collection in N.C! Although, at some point I’ll have a copy and will gladly show it to visitors in my studio.