Papermaking by hand is interesting. You suspend pulp, in our case paper mash and/or abaca (which is really dried paper mash that you reconstitute using water), in a large tub of water, swing in a mold and deckle, (really a frame with screening to capture the pulp and allow the water to drain through and another frame to create the deckled edge) and then cooch the paper pulp from the screen onto a wet cloth to to make a sheet of paper. To kiss off is to turn the screen upside down in the water and gently and quickly rinse the pulp back into the vat. On Saturday, Chris and I made about 50 9x11" sheets, and on Sunday, we made more than 250 notecards (I know, I know, even I was thinking that I wasn't going to live long enough to use this many cards) by putting tape across the deckle and only allowing the pulp to catch in the rectangles between the tape. This photo is of some the notecards drying on a line at the house. The pink with red flecks was created when I swirled some red oxide paint in the water. The green is the goldenrod/hosta mash made with torn strips of green leaves, soaked overnight and then boiled for a few hours. My cup of hosta mash was made from about 3 gallons of hosta leaves. Note to self...use outside grill to boil the mash on next time, it smells... Our friend Joetta, teaching the class, had about 3 cups of goldenrod mash. She said that she and the neighbor girl picked goldenrod for a couple hours. I believe it. The blue was Chrissy's idea, she added blue and green dye to the hosta mash water after most of the hosta was gone. So she got blue paper with just a lovely bit of green stuff. We made thick sheets, thin sheets, 2 sheets put together with inclusions between them (the piece of fern) and we embossed paper with leaves. For some papers, we added dyes and/or colored bits of paper or cotton or dryer lint or yarns to the paper. I put woven birchbark between paper and onto paper. We used raffia, onion skin, marigold and zinnia petals, and fresh and dried flowers and leaves. I was very happy with the results. We used sizing in the water to make the paper stiffer and seal it a bit so we could write on it. I also pressed it with a hot iron when it was almost dry so as to flatten the sheets and give them a bit of a sheen. I used a sharpie on a notecard piece today and it worked wonderfully. I'm thinking that maybe I'll go back on Sat again and make some envelopes to go with our cards. Also Joetta has a paperwasp nest from last year that has some gorgeous organic looking grays and taupes running through it. I'm thinking that a bit of it would look lovely in my paper. Look for a handmade card in a mailbox near you soon.
Deckle, abaca, hosta and goldenrod mash, kiss off, cooching...these are words with definitions that I didn't understand before last weekend.