Wet Work

29 Jul

Paper has taken over my life. Maybe those of you who interact with me on a regular basis are nodding your heads. I talk about paper when I am not in the studio. Sometimes I start conversations out with people, “Do you follow our blog?!” It is probably obnoxious but I am just so excited about what we are doing in the studio that I want everyone to know about it. One night last week, I had a dream I was in the studio. As I was doing laundry tonight, I paused as I was loading my tshirts into the washer and wondered to myself what sort of color they would all come out if I put them into the beater. If I were on the show True Life, it would be subtitled, “I’m Obsessed with Paper.”

Besides my fixation, this is what has been going on recently.

Today we had one of the art professors come in for the first time and see our set up. He walked around, asked questions, and appreciatively touched the paper. He even took some with him to experiment on– wishing to draw and paint on it. It is exciting to finally see the next stage of this project. Once we are done with these piles of paper, it will appear on a wall as an installation piece. It will find its way into the drawing studio and painting studio. Student pencils will dance across its surface and the paintbrush will give its greetings.

My previous post about drying under restraint can now be applied to our cotton paper as well. Even the cotton paper has a tendency to curl, but when dried under restraint, it forms perfect and flat sheets. So, out came the flock of litho stones this week. Litho stones everywhere.

We put the lake grass in the beater. We added flax to some of it and cotton linters to portions of it. Some of the lake grass we kept pure and the results will make your heart stop. The straight lake grass is stunning. Every three or four sheets we pulled, either Jillian or I would comment on how nice the paper was. Decide for yourself.

Straight lake grass paper. While by no means the best sheet of paper I have ever pulled (hello air bubble!), it does give you a sense of the color and consistency of the paper.

In addition to the fun new paper we have at our fingertips, we introduced a new press into the studio. It can handle a larger post which is super helpful. The new press is orange and quite the sight, but we’re all about it. Its only downside is that the excess water goes everywhere – mainly the floor- which causes some issues when walking around the studio. Jillian recently commented that papermaking is known as “wet work.” After working in the studio with water day after day, I nod my head. Papermaking is wet work.

Other events happening in the studio:

The iris going into the beater!

A new assistant, TR, in the studio. He came in on Friday and helped clean and cut more fibers. Look at how great he made Holly look.

Our faithful crockpots are looking a little worse for wear. They are champions at cooking fibers. Hopefully, they continue to do their job.

Finally, we tried drying our paper outside one day. Jillian said it was what they did in Thailand. Sounds cool, enough, right? In my head, it would only take an hour or two tops. In reality, after about four, the paper was still wet. Jillian reminded me that we weren’t actually in Thailand and our climates were a bit different. Such a disappointment!

These have been the most recent happenings in the studio. Enjoy!

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One Response to “Wet Work”

  1. ldanneker August 11, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Indeed, the climate in Thailand (and Southeast Asia in general), is VERY different from Houghton…I’m experiencing it now! But it looks like you got great paper out of it!

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