Monday, December 31, 2012

Blue,Blue, Green Indigo

I was finally able to play with some indigo plant fiber.
  Honey Horn Plantation here in South Carolina is the home of the Coastal Discovery Museum. They keep a small garden plot of  local low country plants that were once important to this region. Every fall/winter they cut back their indigo patch and I was able to obtain a small amount of leaves and branches for experimentation thanks to Mira Scott who scouted the area for indigo.
These finished sample sheets await a gelatin sizing and have dried to a nice soft sage green, surprising because most green leaf plant fiber result in a tan finish. I did not have enough plant material to make more then 2 tiny pieces of fiber only paper which remained dark "spinach" green.
(I was hoping for a blueish tone -it was  indigo after all)
Dried sheets - between blotters-  I also loft dried in spurs and air dried several sheets. Fiber cooked with soda ash (in colander) was a very dark green.
The remaining fiber was added to my Critter beater with 2lbs of cotton linter and still a nice dark blue/green pulp was the result before drying.

more cotton linter added to extend the batch...... a pale sage paper.

Leaves and small stems of indigo processed for cooking. The thicker stems were saved for possible bast fiber use....BUT bast too thin !!! not usable...

"IN" the indigo with friend and artist Mira Scott (left) at Honey Horn.

Recycled United States of America

An Evening of the Arts
Island School Council for the Arts
Supporting Promising Artists
September 21st, 2012

I love the use of printed pages for all sorts of things - notes, cards, tags, collages, decoupage and art pieces.  Maybe its my former life as a print maker - the ink, black and white or a beautifully type set page. I think its because the paper holds a message, word or  thought which adds a layer of energy to whatever it is used for.
Using a chapter from the an old discarded Encyclopedia Britannica titled - The United States of America. (also the title of the piece) I glued, rolled and dipped the pages in wax to create this work on canvas.

It was created for Evening of the Arts to benefit the Island School Council for the Arts  - Hilton Head Island, SC
The above are Holiday cards using book pages and newsprint.  "Best Holiday Fishes" was created by my friend and artist Pat Sahertian. The flag using a Christmas Angel stamp and news stories of 9/11/ 2001 was my Christmas card prayer/wish -Peace on Earth - for 2001.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"The Voice Within" Big Book Big Paper Success

Picture This Gallery "The Voice Within" July 7th - August 17th, 2012

The works of Mary C. Leto and Mira Scott
78 D Arrow Road Cypress Square Hilton Head, SC 29928
A book installation created by both artists will be the centerpiece of the exhibit.
This is the result and long awaited appearance of the  4' x 17' handmade book titled
 "The Voice Within"
The "big paper", made from cotton and marsh grass, was the support for Mira's gorgeous paintings. The book was designed to showcase and compliment Mira Scott's work.
It was set up down the middle of the gallery and Mira Scott's colorful impressions of the low country were framed and exhibited on one wall and my books on another. Smaller books were exhibited on a  custom made table fashioned by Mark S. Tierney, photographer.
wall book - "A Garden Journal"
"Baker's Dozen" - the building is a slip case for 3 folio's of small etchings on handmade paper.
several small books
ceramic pomegranate holding  small handmade paper scroll's containing Robert Browning's poems "Pomegranates from an English Country Garden" in place of seeds - I had 18 books in all.

This was an amazing project to work on  with the help of artist Nancy Mitchel (intern and guardian angel, nurse,sister, friend) and Mark S. Tierney who pulled it all together with Mira Scott who's vision and persistence made it all happen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BIG PAPER - success

I went over every detail of my process. I made sure that the mold and deckle was absolutely level and little to no sagging of the screen. This turned out to be very important for even drying.  I devised a system to remove as much water as possible (sham wow) both before and after pressing, improved the drying method and reworked the idea of the book form. Success
I propped up corners and tied down the deckle with wire measuring all precisely.

I dried only 2 sheets at a time between blotters and under weights.  I filled gallon milk jugs with water which worked like a charm....and easy to handle too! When done just empty and string up from ceiling ! The paper was dried inside a room with a dehuminifyer.

Since warping was possible wherever this book would be shown I decided to make a "fence" from thin wood  and glue the paper onto the back and front...joining panels with a series of tabs still folding in an accordion fold.

The finished paper stacked on the floor 14 sheets all together... success.

Big Paper continued....

STARTING OVER.... The result of a lot of hard work by several people and the arrogance of thinking I knew how to make any kind of paper resulted in a minor disaster. Cockled, folded paper not worthy of a paper/book maker !. I solicited help from a very knowledgeable source and was given the best advice ever "rethink your drying system" along with "start over and chalk it up to experience" and preceded by - " I think your in a pickle !!!" and a pickle it was ! This paper is to be used to create a large accordion book in collaboration with artist Mira Scott and the deadline was looming.
Pressing dampened paper under heavy weight usually produces some lovely flat papers... too much pressure all at once - folds. ( paper 4 ft. by 2 1/2 ft. )

Don't try this.
Large papers drying outdoors had to be covered in case of rain in the evening... although very sunny days the dampness of the evening and morning hours  caused some mold to grow. The paper did not dry quickly.

Even though the pulp and paper formation looked ended in a folded mess  ...had to start over again using a different drying method.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Third Annual A.R.T.

Art Recycled from Trash

Picture This Gallery, Hilton Head South Carolina
Third Annual Juried Exhibit  April 2nd -28th 2012

An amazing selection of wonderful pieces were exhibited this year along with several from a local pre school (seen hanging from the ceiling)in a separate category - complete with a milk and cookie afternoon reception giving youngsters a valuable lesson in recycling and a chance to be proud of their sculptures.
My contribution this year was an altered book titled: "Commercial Geography". Each piece had to be created with 75% manufactured goods that would end up in a land fill.
I used parts from several books rescued from a dumpster. Keeping old covers and spines mainly for all sorts of collages and projects. Pages were folded back and glue and wax hold the pieces together on a base of another book cover.
The "story" appears to be squeezed out from the pages using all sorts of bits and found pieces....and some buttons too!!!!
The birds are made of my favorite paper... flax dyed with indigo made by "Cave Papers"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sometimes its the Little Things

A collection of deer rib bones found at the beach, wisteria seeds, oak galls for making ink or not ! and a little friend peeking over a leaf....... sometimes its just the little things that pique  your imagination...the shapes, colors, textures, the feel of it, that entices you stop and pick it up... the need to collect many of the same gather for no apparent reason... the hunt... just because........

bones worn smooth by river current

Wisteria seeds popped out of their pods by warming weather and sprinkled all over the driveway- collected for giving away to neighbors or displayed in a lovely Asian bowl

a little caterpillar puffing himself up to frighten me away...on his way to being a black swallowtail butterfly

Oh the allusive oak galls... dropped from oak trees along with acorns...not easy to spot.... like tiny apples until they shrivel up and look like rust. Couldn't believe my good fortune to find an oak tree here in South Carolina that produced so many... it was easy in New York. Boil the galls with a nail or screw... add a little gum Arabic and you have a rich iron gall ink to play with (much like the 6th century scribes) OR place in another little Asian bowl as offerings... for those that just like little things.