Early this morning, with cup of coffee in hand, I set up a papermaking station in the garden. I made the pour vat a few years ago out of wood, pipe clamps and Carraige House Heat Shrinking Polypropylene Screening while creating a series of larger handmade paper pieces.
This pour vat was lined with plastic and filled with overbeated flax fibers beaten in my Critter hollander beater..
Once the fibers were evenly dispersed in the water, I held my breath and prepared to pull.
With much concentration, and a bit of brute strength, the plastic was quickly removed.
Quickly, the vat was gently shaken as the water drained and the fibers settled on the pellon felt.
The pulp was allowed to drain for a few minutes before the deckle was removed.
The color variation in the pulp was created by pouring a second batch of older overbeated flax over the pulp before it drained. The older flax had been stored in my fridge since 2005.
The wet pulp and felt were carefully pulled off the mould and onto an old window screen before a piece of burlap Columbian coffee bag was placed over the pulp for texture. The metal grid was placed over the burlap.
The whole stack was flipped over and the window screen was removed.
Finally, wooden boards and concrete pavers were placed over the stack to restrain dry for the rest of the day.
I pulled three pieces of paper this morning, two overbeaten flax and one overbeaten abaca. Hopefully they will be dry by tomorrow and ready for the next step - geletin sizing, piecing, sewing, indigo, walnut dye, etc.
Having been an illustrator, art educator, and an avid gardener for many years, I have always been drawn to aerial views of land, maps, rivers, soil, and organic systems. Experimenting with handmade plant fiber paper is a culmination of that attraction to texture and natural materials. By combining my papers with ephemera collected along the way, my work layers history, meaning, and place into objects that are no longer lost or mis-placed, but reconstructed and transformed.