Thursday, June 7, 2012

Angels as Interns

Sometimes Angels just show up and lend a hand...and sometimes they are disguised as interns. Artist Nancy Mitchell of Hilton Head (above) is one of those rare beings.  I was having a great deal of difficulty beginning work on a rather large project and after several phone calls of encouragement she appeared with sleeves rolled up and demanded that I direct her. And so a friendship developed and a great respect for all those who just chip in where needed....angels need more recognition.

Nancy is not a papermaker but heard that I needed to make some very large sheets of paper for a proposed collaboration with a deadline looming and that at the very least it was a 2 person job.  As an artist she felt "my pain".... the project, a large accordion book (12 feet long) will be documented  in the next few blogs... mistakes, pitfalls...and down right stupidity will be shared (how not to make very large papers) and hopefully a final success. I had to enlist the help of some very experienced papermakers and artists along the way as it did not go as smoothly as was hoped.

a mold and deckle had to be built to specifications for this project (notice in the background that Spring has not yet arrived)

from the screen (mold and deckle) the extremely wet newly formed sheets of cotton and spartina(sea grass)pulp are carried to boards set up on horses to drain and dry a little in the sun.

Pressing the wet newly formed sheets, 30"x 48", between boards...clamped and weighted. Each sheet of newly made paper is extremely heavy and awkward to carry...all sorts of clamps and maneuvers from screen to boards set up on horses in the sun to a final pressing in the studio required at least 2 sets of hands.

further drying of thick sheets of paper on the dining room table with a fan before a final pressing.

Hopefully these will dry flat enough to form pages of a book... working title:"Inner Voices" I call the whole project BIG PAPER.

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