Saturday, January 15, 2011

Foiled again, but quilled !

Another few days spent on a mountain top in NY's Catskill Mountains (Thanksgiving) and an opportunity to look for plant material for papermaking.

I located a stand of blackberry canes early last Spring but was unable to collect them due to bear activity !... Trying again this November I was turned back by ice and sleet storms. Not giving up....maybe next visit.

Blackberry canes or brambles make an almost black dye or so I've been told and a fair paper. I have free access to all I can fit in my truck at this location. So eventually I will experiment with this fiber.

I did manage to acquire quite a few porcupine quills. I'm guessing they will show up in some new handmade paper as inclusions. The quills are a little dangerous !

Acres of fiber just waiting......

Several years ago I bought Douglas Howell's daughter's family linens at a Friends of Dard Hunter auction and paper conference.

Howell is credited as having revived the art of handmade paper in the 1950's. Most current papermakers can be linked by instructor back to Howell who made beautiful pure paper from linen cloth using only fiber and water and traditional methods... no shortcuts. He loft dried his papers then repressed them.

Howell's fine papers were used by Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollok, Robert Rauschenberg and others. Wherever fine art is shown you can find prints, watercolors and collages of famous artists on his paper. He marked all his papers inconspicuously with a watermark -DH, or an embossed -DH. Fun to look for - I found several in MOMA NYC.

I used an old Irish linen holiday table cloth donated to the auction by his daughter, Elizabeth King, to make some strong thick watercolor type papers for a project. I tried my best to follow the methods of Howell and loft dried most of the paper (my first attempt). My favorite hand made paper to date !

I kept every scrap... and was able to use small pieces for this year's Holiday greeting cards. Thought I'd share the result. Snowflakes punched out of pure white linen paper.

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