Saturday, September 5, 2009

Origami top

Thursday evening I met with my origami group. This is just a hand full of people who get together once a month, and well, fold. And fold. And fold.
The woman who heads it up recently returned from a national origami convention, and shared some new patterns with the group.
The first is a York rose. My attempt wasn't so great, but I'll try again. This is one piece of paper that is red on one side and green on the other.

The next is a top. It's made from three sheets. The smaller ones are from 6" sheets and the larger is from 12" sheets. The best part is that they actually spin! The larger one I made is from scrap booking paper and it is very sturdy. I gave it to my 23 month old daughter to play with. It has held up beautifully!
Here is one spinning...
These were so much fun to make. This is one I will definitely remember for Thanksgiving with the nieces and nephews...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Marbling Fun!

This is only my second attempt at marbling. My first time was in a workshop setting. The class took place during the Friends of Dard Hunter conference (in Chillocothe, Ohio) and was taught by Ann Woods. She was wonderful, and as any talented person does, made it all look so easy. Maybe too easy. I took what I learned in this class of only a few hours, and years later thought I could do it again.
Here's a sample from that workshop:

In Ann's class, we did marbling that was typically European. What I attempted last week was suminagashi, which is Japanese marbling. There are differences, but I think the spirit of it was the same.
I was working with my friend Rita at Paper Circle, and we just had a kit to work with.
Here's Rita adding the pigment with a brush:
This is the handmade paper floating on top of water. It just takes the pigment off the top of the water when you lift the paper. Amazing, really...:
The kit came with rice paper, but the colors were so washed out. We quickly realized that handmade paper was the way to go. Though they may not be technically good, I think they came out really great. I'm thinking book covers.... These are some of my favorites:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cereal Box Book

One of my favorite blogs is My Handbound Books. This is a blog by book artist in Canada who is so talented and has such a wonderful eye. One of the books she made was from an old mini cereal box. Well of course I just had to try this one out!

First things first -- I had my son eat the cereal...

I just did a simple longstitch exposed binding. The result was really cute! I'm thinking it would make a good food journal...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oirgami Quilt

This is from the book Origami Quilts by Tomoko Fuse. Sadly the book is no longer in print. I borrowed a copy from someone in my origami group to play with. Fuse's books are great. I find the diagrams in many origami books to be a little difficult to understand. These however are extremely easy. She also has a number of books on origami boxes and unit origami which are still available -- and absolutely wonderful!
I did a couple of these "quilts" with my Mom when visiting her last week. She is a quilter, so I thought this is a paper project that would appeal to her. The one pictured here is made from 13 pieces of 6 inch origami paper. The finished piece is about 18 or so inches square.
We also did one using 12 inch sheets of scrapbooking paper (which is great for some origami projects) This ended up to be about a yard or so square. Unfortuneately, I ran out of space on memory card for my camera, and didn't get a picture of that one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Time Flies...

Has it really been six weeks since my last post!? Well how time flies... I've been busy teaching in a kids art camp called Circle Round the School. The program serviced about 80 children ages 9 - 15 in the Nelsonville, Ohio area. Sadly, the school system there has no art classes for the kids until they are in high school. Imagine! I cannot even begin to think about what Morrison Elementary would have been like without Ms. Rector... Anyway, I taught with the theater portion of the camp. We did costumes and masks for the plays that were performed -- and of course they were all out of recycled materials! The kids did such a great job. Bravo to them all!

The only project that I have worked on for myself were invitations for my daughter's 10th birthday party. It's this Saturday, and the theme is "Summer Camp". We took scraps of decorative paper, cut them to the shapes we wanted, and did a sewn collage to look like a campfire on cards I made of recycled paper and grasses. As you can see, they turned out great!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Drying Flat Sheets

I had a question from a woman in a paper making group I belong to about how I got my sheets so nice and flat. The answer is easy: a restrained dryer. They are really simple to put together, and I thought I'd share pictures of the one I use at Paper Circle.
This was made with some plywood, some archival corrugated cardboard, some cotton linter blotters, and most importantly, a fan.

First you make a 3-sided box. Ours measures about 22 x 28 inside - but you can make them any size. On the back side, there should be a large hole in the middle. You stack your cardboard and blotters in this box and run the fan from behind.

When running the dryer, you want to be sure to do a couple of things. I couch my sheets on to Pellon (an interfacing) and use this to transfer my sheets from post to press to dryer. In the dryer, I sandwich these between cotton linter blotters to help absorb some of the moisture. These blotters then have the cardboard on either side. The corrugations should run perpendicular to the fan.(so that some air is being pushed through) My dryer "sandwich" goes cardboard, blotter, Pellon, blotter, cardboard. Pictured here are some sheets in the dryer:

The other thing to remember when you make a box like this is to leave a couple of inches between the cardboard and the back of the box where the fan is. This allows for air to circulate and aid in the drying. (pictured right)
A board is then placed on top with some light weights. (we use water filled jugs) The board should go all the way to the back of the box and be above the hole in the center of the back board. (we have to put in some "filler" layers of foam insulation to achieve this) This can be seen in the first picture I included.

I have also seen this same set up without the box. It is just the stacked cardboard with a weight on top and a fan behind. I'm not sure of the difference between the two. I'm guessing since the flowing air is not trapped in that space, it may take a little longer for the sheets to dry. In our dryer, it usually takes about 24 hours.

I hope this information is useful in making your own dryer. The beautiful flat sheets are well worth the work!
Happy building! And happy paper making!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Attempt

Paper mache is something new to me. I'm working on some mask projects for a children's art program I'm teaching in this summer. It's such a wonderful program. It's a 4 week day camp for children in Southeastern Ohio. These kids have NO art classes in school until high school. Imagine no art class. I can't imagine my elementary years without it! If you want to read up on the Circle Round the Square program, just click here.
Okay, so back to the paper mache... I'm teaching mask and costume making (for a play they will put on) and have decided on paper mache masks from recycled materials. (no big surprise there!)
This sun mask is my first attempt. It's made from an old computer box, news paper, flour paste, and old tissue papers from Christmases past.


The moon is still in progress. This one I had my two older kids do much of the work to make sure they could finish each step in our allotted time. All we have to do is cover it in tissue now.
These over sized masks are a lot of fun. I was inspired by a Bread and Puppet Theatre performance I saw this spring. This is the basic look I'm going for. It's great on stage, and something that's quite accessible for the kids.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Recycling

I've been so busy in the studio, that I haven't had the time to post. So while dinner is in the oven, I will take a few moments to share one of the projects I have been working on.
More recycling! (one of my favorite pastimes...) This is a project that I just finished for my Mom. She is giving a presentation on sustainability and the family at a conference next week. She wanted to give each attendee something recycled and beautiful. So I made bookmarks made from my junk mail and old banana peels.

Pictured here I have my junk mail torn up and ready to go. Here it is in the beater.

I cooked the dried banana peels, then beat them in the beater.
Banana peel alone does not work well as a pulp. I like to mix it with something else. Abaca is usually my first choice, but this project is all about the recycling. Together, the recycle mix and the banana peels make a beautiful pulp. I think it almost looks like granite.

For this project, I made my first ever mould and deckle. It measures 2x6 inches. Perfect for a bookmark.
In all, I made about 120 bookmarks. Hopefully everyone will like this paper as much as I do. More importantly, I hope people open their eyes to the possibilities of "beautiful junk".

Friday, May 22, 2009

One Man's Trash...

One man's trash is another man's treasure - or so they say... This idea of up-cycling old books into new journals came to me about 2 years ago. (though I doubt I am the only person who thought of this) Pictured in this post are some that I have readied for the open house tomorrow.
To make these, I first need an old book with a great cover. I carefully take the cover off, keeping the insides for collage or recycle mix in my paper making. I often find a patterned paper and make new end plate pages for the book. I'll use one that goes with both the cover and the color thread I'm using.

Next, I measure my cover and do some quick math to figure out what size paper I'll need for my folio. Now, I suppose I could cut the paper quickly with a paper cutter. But that just never looks at great as a sheet torn, or one cut with a paper or fettling knife. So, yes, I measure and cut/tear by hand each piece of paper for the inside. Most of the books I have made have 6 - 8 signatures of 6 folios each.

The one or two needle Coptic stitch is perfect for these books! I love the look of the stitch, and the fact that these books will lay flat when open is a big plus.

I think these make great one of a kind journals. And it's a great way to give a new life to an old beloved book.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Bindings

Spending hundreds of dollars to travel somewhere to attend a bookbinding workshop is kind of out of the question for me these days. Instead, I finally decided to purchase Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue Volume 1. This purchase has been a long time coming, and frankly, I don't recall what life was like before...

I'm picking out the bindings I like best, and just jumping right in! So far, I've worked on the longstitch / linkstitch and the slotted cover longstitch.

I didn't really like the look of the slots for the longstitch, so I just used my hand drill punch to pierce the holes in the cover. I really like the look of this much better than the slots. So far, I've only done the one.

The longstitch / linkstitch is just a fabulous binding. As you can see, I've been playing around a bit with it. The book with the large circles on the front was my first.

These books (and some others I've been working on) are on their way to an open house for this weekend. A good friend will be showing them, as I will be in the paper studio making wedding invitations.
Hopefully people will love them as much as I do.

Inside each journal will be a bookmark with my information, the book specs, and this little thought I wrote down this morning while having my coffee:

every journal has a life of its own.
more than a record
more than a trip taken

a thought
a feeling
a moment in time.

it is a life.

a process.

a beautiful extension
the human experience.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Origami in bloom

On Saturday Paper Circle is hosting a birthday party for its founder, Sara Gilfert. I've been working hard all week to create some lovely centerpieces for the tables. Of course they had to be paper... (That goes without saying) Paper Circle currently has a fabulous show featuring origami from Ohio Origami, a consortium of folders from central and southeast Ohio. (click here to see images of the show) Because the party will be held in the gallery, I felt origami was a natural choice for the tables.

Pictured here are the bud vases I created for the smaller tables. Each vase was purchased from the second hand store and covered in unryu tissue. This is one of my favorite papers to work with. It is so beautiful in the light. Then I folded 80 lilies (traditional fold) from 3" pieces of origami paper.

I love how these turned out. So simple. So lovely.

For the two larger tables, I wanted to do something a little different. I used some patterns from Tomoko Fuse's book Origami Rings and Wreaths. Again I used 3" squares of origami paper. They made some really pretty rings that were about 5" in diameter. I then attached a paper clip to floral wire to hold the rings. To finish, I just placed them in pots with foam and moss. I think these turned out to be quite whimsical!

I love the idea of origami bouquets for the tables. They would make great parting gifts for the guests -- a reminder of a lovely spring afternoon. Best of all, these flowers won't fade.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kozo on a Sunny Day

On Saturday, I assisted Sara in teaching a class in Japanese paper making at Paper Circle (the paper studio where I work). Sara has such a vast knowledge of paper making - and had even studied in Japan with master paper makers. The class was truly lucky to have such a teacher! (Thank you again Sara)
Pictured above are sheets that Sara and I made in preparation for the class.

Pictured on the left are branches from the Japanese mulberry tree, and dried strips of the kozo fiber. The fiber is the inner part of the bark. These branches are steamed so that the bark can be peeled off. Then the outer, or "black" bark is peeled and picked off to reveal the inner bark.

The kozo fiber was soaked for a few days, and then cooked in soda ash (sodium carbonate), lye, or water strained from wood ash. We used Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, as it is basically just sodium carbonate. We cooked it for about an hour. Cooking time depends on how long it had been soaking. We had one batch of kozo fibers that soaked for about 6 weeks and we were able to make sheets without cooking! How these sheets will stand up to time, I don't know. It was a good experiment, none the less...
Below is our pot of cooking kozo:

After a good rinsing, we picked some of the remaining black bark, or chiri from the fiber. We did not pick it all out, since we were not going for totally clean sheets. I think a little chiri in sheets of kozo can be quite beautiful.

Then came the fun part: the beating! We beat the kozo fibers with both small wooden bats that Sara had made, and wooden mallets. This is a great activity for relieving stress and taking any aggression out! As you can see, it also can get a little messy...

After all this, and a break for lunch, (the beating made us all very hungry) we finally got to form some sheets. We added our beat fiber to a vat with water and formation aid. A sugeta (su = screen / geta = frame) was used to form the sheets. One Sara brought back from Japan. Two others she made from bamboo place mat and a sushi roll. (I like her innovation!) Unlike western paper making, the sheets are not pulled in one motion. You make many dips into the vat of pulp, swishing the water and fiber in the sugeta to a kind of rhythmic dance... Then the sheets are rolled off the su, one on top of the other.

After a light pressing, we brushed the sheets on to large pieces of ply-wood and set them out in the sun to dry. It had been raining all week here, and was supposed to rain on Saturday. But someone, somewhere was smiling on us with a little sunshine -- and a number of nice gusts of wind!

Watching masters at this craft, they make it look so easy. We had a challenging time getting in touch with the rhythm of the pulp in the vat and keeping our sheets from sticking in some areas to the su. And then there was the wind that day... She kept wanting to blow the sheets down the alley! But all in all, I think it was a great experience and a very fun day for everyone. So to any of my paper friends who were there with me Saturday, I hope we can talk Sara into another workshop sometime soon!