Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miscanthus Giganteus Anyone ?

Picture This !

One early Saturday morning my doorbell rings and there is the owner of Picture This Gallery on Hilton Head Island, Mira Scott, with a large bag of Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus Giganteus). Always up for experimenting with new fibers for papermaking, I was grateful for her effort. A friend of Mira's is growing large quantities of this non-invasive ornamental grass for experimental use as a bio-fuel with great success and she was able to obtain some for me. I love unexpected gifts ! Papermaker, Jane Ingram Allen, has used Miscanthus floridulus, in this family of Silver Grasses to make an excellent strong light tan paper during her papermaking journey through Taiwan. I think I can get a similar result using M."Giganteus"... it looks like a tough plant !

Miscanthus Giganteus

So, along with my banana skins and Canna Lily fiber I have Japanese Silver Grass to process for classes I will be giving at Picture This Gallery beginning February 5th. (see below)

Left: Banana skins, I keep them in the freezer until I have enough to process for a large vat. When my doorbell rings its usually neighbors with banana skins ! Fun.

Center: bark from stalks of my Confederate Rose Plant (they have been steamed and peeled)

Right: Canna Lily stalks and leaves (dried and retting outside for the winter)

Sea Grass (Spartina) found washed up on the beach has to to be soaked and rinsed well to rid it of salt before cooking and beating.

Cooking sea grass (usually covered) in soda ash for several hours before beating.

Vat of beaten sea grass pulp... blender beaten and Hollander beaten, a small mold and deckle on the table (student sized) - I found that the best papers were made in this Nepalese sugetta with a fine bamboo screen.

Finished papers: banana skin - right, sea grass - center, recycled rag paper with some seagrass fibers added and painted with stripes using a paste paper method - left.

Hand Papermaking Classes
This February I will start with beginner papermaking at "Picture This Gallery" on Hilton Head Island. The classes will include a lecture, instructions on making all tools necessary and how to obtain suitable fibers to make acid free quality papers. Students will mostly be using cotton rag fibers, some Asain fibers and for added interest we will combine locally grown and prepared plant fiber.

Intermediate Classes will include plant gathering and preperation, use of different types of molds and deckles and drying systems with some small projects, pulp painting on a small scale.

Advanced Classes will be with Asain type fibers to create fine translucent papers (generaly called rice paper) totally prepared by students, refining beating methods, papercasting and mold making.
The Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, Atlanta, is worth a visit...plan a whole day...if your in town.

If not check their web site. It features current exhibitions and interesting links to many papermakers and artists. It also is featuring a 1/2 hour video, called Mark of the Maker, on the history of the TWINROCKER HANDMADE PAPERMILL.... a fascinating look at every stage of making paper.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary - hated to miss the FDH conference this year and getting to make contact with you... Wish I could join you for your Hilton Head classes! Love all the ornamental grasses - great to work with. The Miscanthus Giganteus is a toughy but you will subdue it! Ha, ha, ha! Love the looks of your Nepalese Sugetta-where did you obtain it? Keep blogging! Mimi