Thursday, November 3, 2016

Makery @ Middletown: Paper-Making

Handmade papers from a local library workshop
I have discovered yet another reason to love my local library!

The Middletown Free Library offers a full roster of Makery events, bringing the arts and crafting to our local community through free adult programming.  Recently I attended a workshop with my mother where we made our own paper.  I had tried this years ago, with all the "right" supplies, and wasn't particularly pleased with my results.  Here we used some interesting "around the house" sorts of supplies, and I really like the papers I created!
The workshop was held in the cinder-block basement of the library, with a well-tarped floor to capture our wet mess-making.  Each table held two or three large tubs (like you might use to store decorations or out-of-season clothing) filled with water.  Alongside each tub, we were provided with a framed screen, loose screen, a towel, and a sponge.
Here I am, ready for some paper-making!
For our first step, we chose paper scraps to throw into the blender with water to create our paper pulp. (We burned out one blender motor right away, and were left with a single machine to share!)

Then we dumped the blender carafe of pulp into our plastic tub of water.  The next step is to dunk our framed screen under the water, drawing pulp up onto it as we bring it back above the surface.
Pulp on the screen with petal and tea leaf embellishments
At this point, we could add "goodies" from the table up front: petals, grass, tea leaves, glitter.  By pressing these add-ons gently into the pulp, they became part of the handmade paper.
Table of inspiration and embellishments
We then put a screen over our paper creation and gently pressed the sponge onto the screen, causing excess water to fall out the bottom and back into the tub. Sometimes, when there was very little water left, I continued to press the sponge onto the screen on top of a towel to soak up the last drops.
Using a sponge to push out as much water from the pulp as possible
When we had as much water as possible pressed out of the paper, we turned the framed screen over onto an unframed piece of screen and "encouraged" the paper off of it.
Some paper required more "encouraging" than others to get it to come off the screen!
This unframed screen was then set aside onto newspaper to allow our handmade paper to dry.
My handmade papers drying on the floor of our workroom
It took a very long time for my papers to dry; they sat out on my kitchen island continuing the drying process once I got home, and I wouldn't say they were fully dry until I woke up the next morning.

And what a stack of interesting handmade papers I had to show for my efforts!
A new stash of handmade art-making materials!
I haven't done anything with them yet, but I foresee using them in my art journal, as gift tags, and as parts of upcoming collage projects.

I love that the materials we used in the Middletown workshop were all easily accessible for someone at home--no big investment in supplies other than some screening from the hardware store.
More paper-makers at play 
My mom. Those water tubs didn't stay clean for long once we started playing with the pulp!
When the weather turns warm again and we can spend lots of time outdoors, I might even tackle this project with my kids!

1 comment:

Jewels said...

Andria - WOW - I would have definitely showed up for that class - how cool! And Free! Love what you created - I have never done this before - something I could do in my cement floor basement. Did you by any chance get instructions? J