Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall Handmade Paper Demonstrations

This Fall I exhibited my work and demonstrated paper-making in 2 locations. On September 12 I joined other art instructors from The Center at the Orland Park Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Starbucks Cafe. A percentage of Barnes & Noble's sales that day benefited The Center (, one of the places I teach paper-making. I made cast paper by pressing pulp on textured clay molds I've made. After I blot out the water, I dry the "medallions" to paint later and attach to cards.

On October 8, I displayed framed artwork and cast hand-made paper at the Palos Park Metra Station's Crooked Arrow Cafe as part of Palos' celebration of Illinois Arts month. A visiting patron of the arts joined me and made a piece of cast paper on a ceramic cookie mold which I supplied.

A mild Fall, beautiful colors, good coffee, good art. That'll do.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cast Paper

I love making paper castings. Paper doesn't have to be flat; it can be textured, or it can be scuptural. I press an interesting object, texture, or design into clay, bake it, then press thick pulp onto it, blotting to remove all excess water. When I pull it off, the result is cast paper that I can either paint, or allow light to cast shadows to show the design. I put most of my cast paper medallions onto card stock and sell them as one-of-a-kind greeting cards.
This description is for the card above:
While walking in my garden in early spring, I saw my rhubarb plants poking up through the soil. I picked this first, tiny leaf and pressed it into clay so I could cast handmade paper and remember how beautiful small beginnings can be.

This cast paper design of a bamboo plant is based on a drawing of a bamboo fountain my daughter gave me for Mother's Day. This recycled, handmade paper is painted with watercolors and acrylic.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pulp Paintings from photo silk screens

What's going on in my life seems to make its way into my art. Last year's trip to New Mexico influenced several pulp paintings. Oh, what's a pulp painting? Pretty much what it sounds like. While I have about 3 variations on the theme, it comes down to putting a different color pulp onto a sheet of wet pulp before it has been pressed into paper. "Santa Fe" is a larger piece I did in a class at Columbia College where I made a photo silk screen from a picture I took, then I squirted over-beaten pulp (very short fibers) with a spray bottle. I made a series of several designs, then signed an numbered each. I also made a hand design based on a southwest theme. And I drew a southwest inspired design of a kokopelli in a cornfield near a pueblo. I just love the story of how he carries seeds in the hump on his back, scatters them in the soil, and waters them with the music from his flute.
You can see some of these pieces of art by looking at the slide show on this page.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So what do I do, anyway?

Think of me as a green alchemist. Environmentally green in that I use scrap paper and junk mail, and an alchemist in that I take what would be garbage and make it into handmade paper artworks. I may not spin straw into gold, but I do what I can. The botanical inclusions I put into my work come from my kitchen, garden, and from the gardens of friends and relatives. I cut fibrous stems and leaves into pieces that I cook in my fiber pot, then literally beat them into a pulp and add them to my recycled paper pulp. Other leaves and flowers get pressed and dried to become part of the paper I make, not just glued onto the surface.

Last year my sister sent me dried fern leaves from the asparagus in her garden. I added pressed flowers and leaves from my garden to make a Sisters' Gardens series.