More Paste Papers

January and February have passed with me learning about paste papers. I am really quite interested in the varied applications of this genre – historical, contemporary, practical and just plain fun to do! I came upon paste papers as a medium because I have temporarily had to give up the exacting work of cutting and folding papers for bookarts. I was looking for a way to work on my art while suffering severe bursitis (threat of frozen shoulder) with muscle impingement in my Sword, Pen, Needle and Brush etc. arm…only a range of motion of about 12″ across my work bench and no cutting of paper…oy.  So welcome paste papers. (I think it might become an addiction, dear Reader…you should see my stash…)

I reported last month on various experimental papers I  made using corn starch paste and methyl cellulose paste as paint carriers. This month I was also into wheat starch paste, the traditional paste used by bookbinders of old, found also in the nineteenth century decorative paper art of the Moravian sisters whose designs are admired and prized still.

A quick post today so as not to let February pass without a post from me. The physiotherapist tells me to take it easy on the computer and to modify my studio practice until my arm gets a lot better. So less chat this time, more pics. Here we go.

I am trying to use the Moravian sisters’ traditional palette of Prussian blue, carmine red, yellow ochre and olive green. (I have to say it is not easy to find paint makers of modern acrylics today who carry paints thus named. So we have to figure out the chemicals. Next time, I hope I can report my use of home-mixed, raw pigments to get these colours). Within my limits, I am practicing the use of various tools like combs and calligraphy steel brush pens – not to mention Q tips and pastry brushes…(I am fortunate that I am not tempted by the neighbour’s surly cat)

 

 

The last image shows some renegade design of my own – actually, a fish pattern adapted from that used by Pisanky makers to decorate their Resurrection-theme eggs at Easter. I carved a lino block or two with the pattern. The lattice designs above are versions of the patterns typical of the Hernnhutter (Moravian sisters) designs, as the “pulled paper”and stippled designs. Will report the how-to’s when I can type more.

And some non-traditional designs in a series I have entitled “Northern Lights” – lots of colour,  and sloshing about of paint and swooping around with combs etc ( no kitty tails, though, honest):

That orange accordion (L) is Stage One of an artist book I made with orange paste paint and a wood grain tool to imitate the fur of my daughter’s orange kitty whom I LOVE… will show you the finished book next time. It opens on the other side of the zig zig to blank pages. The working title of the book is ” Everything I Know About How Cats Think” .

Hasta la vista, everyone. Wanted you to know what I was thinking while waiting for the garden to come back…and to say welcome and thank you to all the new readers for your interest!

Wendy

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts on a winter’s night

Hello again, dear and patient readers; and  welcome to new readers and followers. This is what it looked like outside my Ottawa living room earlier today:

532A95FD-BCF8-4B4A-A361-E37BEDB25C15And this is what things look like inside right now:

449F7B3B-78B5-4F33-9ED0-6C67A150D445.jpegYes, a fire and a stack of books…and me wearing my comfy silver  “shoon” (refurbished El Nats, thanks to a $2 bottle of acrylic paint). And yes, my feet are up because I have a foot infection (under treatment) so nothing for it but to read – and blog.

Time to share with you some of my recent book arts projects using my eco dyed papers and textiles – starting with the Chanuka books I made for the grandkids before Christmas:

To paint the papers, I used indigo powder mixed with acrylic medium on sturdy watercolour paper; the little books are housed in a Masu box I made for each book; the box is also indigo-printed and painted.

Next up are some of the Artist Books I have been working on this fall. The ones I chose to develop further were those made in Assisi in 2013 when Shlomo and I did our artists’ residency there. So working with those particular  books has been another way to achieve closure. Shlomo was an ace box maker and he made the clamshell boxes and slip cases for my other books. He had intended to make the enclosures for all of my “Subasio Scroll”  series. Since his death, of course, that task has become mine. I have learned a lot and I am grateful to have had the spiritual energy to do the work, not to mention Shlomo’s example as a craftsperson.

Here is a small collection of some of my Assisi books – the series title is “Subasio Scrolls” (Assisi is at Mount Subsio.) Sorry about the colours! Could not get them right this time.

4B55F20B-81A1-43CC-A032-A0BE324A2DA3D727B7DC-01E6-430B-AEEE-67AEDCA7A236And below is a look inside one of my blank journals that are bound with embroidered eco printed cloth and use eco printed papers as signature wrappers and as the first pages of each signature:

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Notice, by the way, the colouration of the eco prints in this journal. These papers were printed in my early days of eco printing (2011 ) and have been kept away from light inside boxes. The greens and yellows have faded and some greens have turned to tans and browns. In a future post, I will share with you some ideas for handling fading…Folks, eco prints are subject to such changes, be aware – plants and processes will respond differently over time so one’s choices of plant, process and art purpose will affect longevity.

My current work is somewhat stalled because I am trying to get over a painful bursitis in my shoulder with muscle impingement – makes it impossible to stretch out my Sword and Pen arm very far…so I have to restrict movements that hurt…oy.

What to do? Using the scalpel and the exacto knife for cutting signature paper and bookboard is out for a while. How about creating paste paper? Slosh paint around on paper, mark it up with any handy tool or serviceable body part …Learn more about endpapers and other ways to use the papers decorated with paste and paint or dye. That could work for me! One can achieve respectable results without the precision needed for bookbinding. And one can finger paint with the non-dominant hand.

Paste paper came about in the bookbinder’s workshop. At the end of a job there might be leftover wheatpaste (used for glueing ). So the binder could add some colour to the paste and put that onto paper with brush, fingers, whatever…and then to scrape off the paste to make the design. Historical papers used a limited colour palette of mostly primaries and a relatively small repertoire of marks combined imaginatively – and quickly! The paste soon loses its capacity to accept a mark so one has no time to indulge one’s OCD…you just have to go for it!

I decided I would start with one colour only per sheet of paper, in order to concentrate on the markmaking and the tools – not to get bogged down in making colour choices for the Perfect Paste Paper. And that I would start with only one or two laters of paste colour. Plus I need to test  out how far I can actually stretch my arm.

Here are some examples, using ivory paint and black paint on 12″ x 12″ thin cardstock.

E4E9B9DF-FFD0-40F3-A379-320A1BB81742And some detail shots:

My last eco print with a future as Artist Book material is this one of Japanese maple (2015). It was printed on rice paper (with a tad of indigo ); it is rather fragile and quite creased after the steaming. I think I will apply some tea stains in the creases to make them a feature as opposed to a fault.

Later this year, I will have an exhibition of my FRESCO series, eco prints with rust and indigo. Here is a small collection from that series that was inspired by the frescos of Umbria; the funky candleabras were made by Shlomo.

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And one work to add to the collection but not an eco print, rather, a painting with indigo:

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I think this painting is finished …but I still have time to obsess about that…

My final image shows a corner of my studio, at last in a mess – which means I am working in it…at the back, to the left, you see some of my eco printed silk shawls and scarves. I still need to take pictures of them so maybe next post I will be ready. The spiffy new city art gallery in Ottawa will be accepting some of my stuff in their boutique when it opens later this year! Plus I have a couple more gigs to work on – reports coming in the coming months.

Hooray for a deadline or two.

Thank you for all your visits and for your comments. I have been trying to respond but I am afraid I might have misused the new and improved Word Press editor and disappeared you off into the ether. Please forgive me!

A happy new year to all and a good and messy studio!

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What to do when your barque is becalmed

 

Yes, well, my little boat has been kind of marooned for a while. But I am slowly learning to row again.

I have not been short of ideas since last post, dear Readers, just desperately short of carry-through, short of ideas with legs. What good is an idea without legs?

In need of remedy for artist’s block, I decided to go delving into my venerable stash of projects begun and abandoned, of ideas that charmed at the time but never made it off the drawing board.  All to see if any past diversions could possibly make it to the execution stage. Here, we are talking projects from years ago, and from way before the eco dye magic put its spell on me. But I am still entranced with plants. So I hauled out of mothballs  a collections of sketchbooks I had worked up some time ago when exploring my theme of disappearing seed diversity ( I am a maniac gardener and seed collector and these passions fuel my art)

For exhibition, I had completed a suite of work entitled “Bye Bye Beans” based on the idea of a Scarlet Runner Bean as an icon of seed diversity. The working methods I adopted in order to create the work were so different from the dye pot dramas of eco dyeing – where you never knew if the dye pot protagonist would live happily ever after or die a murky death in the end….That difference was highly attractive to me in my “stuckness”. I could plan and it might actually work out. My art would not be in the thrall of dye pan-demonium. For the ” Beans” series, I had carefully explored several ways of presenting the concept, using a variety of printing and textile techniques and recording all slavishly in a series of sketchbooks. No serendipity or Fly By The Seat of Your Pants here! No  post-process suprise-delights as in the eco dye pots, but still, as in eco dyeing, an excavation of patterning.  So to get a little wind back in my sails, to to speak, after a long time away from serious artmaking, I decided to look up this old love.  Here is what I found (tap the image for info)

The sketchbook pages show ideas for pieces in the Beans series that led to the final five or six works that comprised the first “suite” ( I will take pics of the finished works  and post next time). So now they are again  ideas under review for the next Bye Bye Beans iteration.

Lest you think I have abandoned eco dye work…Here are  a few pieces I managed to get done this summer, showing native Coreopsis verticillata with indigo and a tad of sumac here and there ( I am into ” restricted”  these days and that can be a good thing).  I printed three linen tops that had seen better days, colour-wise.

To finish, a few images of a Spring bookbinding challenge for CBBAG Ottawa Valley: we had to create a binding for a collection of recipe cards. I took the opportunity to learn gelli printing. I used one printing plate (a woven grass place mat) and a restricted palette of acrylics. The recipe cards are housed in wee pouches with flaps.

Next time, I hope to show also some pics of the bookmark project I mentioned in the July post, along with the “Bye Bye Beans” suite (finished) from the series whose concepts I am planning to reprise.

Thank you to all the new readers and hello again to regular followers. I would like to tell you that I was very touched all over again to re-read the consoling comments on my July post from readers old and new.

 

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July Greetings

Hello again to all my olde readers and to the many new readers who have surprised me by their interest in my take on eco dyeing and on other topics.

My absence from the blogosphere has been due to the death of my Beloved ( from cancer) in March 2016. I have just needed the intervening time to set my little barque aright, as you might expect.  (” O Lord, the ocean is so large and my boat is so small.” )

So here I am, dipping my oar in again, if I may extend the sailing metaphor. What I note in my absence is the huge interest in tutorials and in suggestions for plants that work for eco dyeing. I will be adding to these two subpages in due time. My blog and website are in need of an overhaul so the updates will happen as a we go along with that project.

My garden is an especial refuge and strength these days, as well as my chief source of plants for printing. Starting out in spring (so long coming ), the front garden looked the way I had been feeling for much of the year: the wrecked fence,  broken pathway and desolate flower beds…but a little evergreen here and there…

IMG_4374But soon my old dye friends began  showing up again:

Bloodroot: white blossoms, red dye from the root.

IMG_6346Then the serviceberry (amelanchier laevis) – -another native plant, like the bloodroot, and with printable leaves all season.

IMG_6398.JPGHurry along now to the blues of pansies and irises whose spent blooms, awaiting dye duty, are residing in the freezer: the frozen petals give even more juicy blues than when fresh ( a strategy shared by India Flint ).

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BTW – I have a colour obsession with the blue-chartreuse combo as well as any blue-orange pairing: Ecco! Daylily with blue-painted garden loom; my Beloved’s woven pop-can art – a Jaffa orange; grandson Dylan’s flower vase; Shlomo’s wood garden sculpture with orange clay pots by the Sheddio door.

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A lusher garden now in July, with eco-dye promises from bioregional plants monarda didyma ( scarlet Bee Balm, a hybrid via a native ), coreopsis ( red and orange), cotinus ( a range of surprise shades..) – and lots more.

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And what have I been up to, art wise?

This is just a wee intro to my update on that topic for this post. Some bookmarks made for the Al Mutanabbi project and promoted at the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists’ Guild – members are dropping bookmarks around rhe community, guerrilla-style…Here are my bookmarks:

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I have been doing experiments with indigo in a painting:

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Took a bookbinding course with master binder Dan Mazza of London, Ontario: Dan’s models here, mine in the next post:

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And last but most fun: a pair of Minnie Mouse shoes I was tempted by but resisted (Chicken? You are right)

and Dylan’s bear – how can you not smile?

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More art (mine, Dylan’s and Shlomo’s) and dye plants next time.

Thank you for joining the blog, new readers. And thank you, old blog friends, for your interest. And above all for your many beautiful and consoling thoughts, messages and prayers this last year.

Venceremos!

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From Byopia Press: How To Make A Heart Bookmark

https://byopiapress.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/how-to-make-a-heart-bookmark/

Dear Threadborne followers and readers, 

Welcome all! And may I extend new year greetings to you, even if it is already February. My first post of the year is a reblog from Cathryn at Byopia Press. Cathryn tells us how to make some sweet things for Valentine’s Day. You will find some really interesting stuff there, especially about the Book Arts.

 I’m unable to give time to new work of my own right now because my Beloved is very ill with adrenal cancer and requires a lot of care at home.I hope I will be able to post better news about Shlomo next month. If you are praying folk, do please spare a prayer for us. 

You know I love to make and write about my passions but for a while, I will perhaps concentrate  on fattening up some of those skinny pages on the menu bar above since I cannot get my head into artmaking just yet. The writing will be my art therapy. 

Having said that, I have to tell you that Shlomo, despite all,  not only got his head into making art, but his hands, too. Today, he and Dylan our 6 year old grandson, made a three-branched candleabra. A fitting oeuvre for the week past in which Candelmas was celebrated.  Sorry for the  blurry pic – first time doing that with the iPad camera into a post. 

A la prochaine, mes amis/amies

Wendy

 

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” Twas on the moon of wintertime…

…when all the birds had fled” , sings the Huron Christmas carol. Indeed, the birdies have fled:

 

Blogging today from my husband's room on the fifth floor of a local hospital where he has been since Christmas Eve as the medics sort some health issues. So I have plenty of time at my disposal to work on organising photos for one last post before the new year comes in.

December has been Artist Book month in my studio. A workshop on sewn board bindings with Archives Canada conservator, Lynn Curry; some “Use Up These Prints” books made from studio gleanings; and some little books made from the grandchildren's art papers. Outside in The Kaleyard, autumn said a long and languishing “Goodbye”, delivering temperatures as high as 15C last week! A crazy, green Christmas – but it will be a sober, white New Year's Eve.

So first, goodbye to fall and the statuesque kale: lovely textures and colour with grey Lamb's Ears and blue-grey sage.

 

First dusting of snow:

 

In the kitchen, thoughts turn to cranberry chutney, companion to the seasonal turkey: cranberries with half and half Marsala and blackcurrant syrup to cover; fresh rosemary and bay (from indoor plants); and a generous heap of fresh gràted ginger; boiled to the stage of setting. Good with anything.

 

In the workshop ( later, I made more such bindings at home in the studio) the sewn boards binding which produces an elegant raised spine and encourages the use of contrasting coverings of paper or cloth:

 

 

The spine is free of the boards at the head and tail and all along the edges. So the book can flex and lie flat nicely.

 

I made others at home with more of my handmade linen book cloth that I had printed earlier in the year with rust and indigo:

 

 

Note the separate spine pieces:

 

The text block is coptic sewn then glued and placed under weight ( wood boards with a covered brick on top)

 

Other little playthings made this month: an indigo printed single sheet of watercolour paper folded and cut into a book structure; and my monthly “Magnificat” mass book folded into a sculpture ( one of several made so far)

 

A delightful piece evolved from one of six-year old Dylan's paintings that has artwork on both back and front. We cut up the artwork into two strips, accordion folded the strips, taped them together to make a longer accordion, then found a figure in the brushstrokes and outlined it in black pen. We tore the top edges and “gilded” them with metallic paint.

The back of the piece is also evocative.

 

I have saved many works on paper done over the years by my children and grandchildren. And they do tend to accumulate ( art papers as well as kids…) Why leave them in a box? (Not the kids…) Hence the idea this Christmas season to use the kids's art as material and content for Artist Books.

A few sheets of humble newsprint, painted by the grandkids with kids' acrylics a few summers ago, were next coated with Liquitex matte medium (three layers). These were to provide the books' covers. Following that, all kinds of papers were assembled to make up the signatures: saved scraps of all sorts, small print sample off-cuts or proofs, handmade papers…whatever gave strong interest and variety in texture, colour, print design, technique etc. I made four books, one for each grandchild, with each book containing between 15 and 20 signatures consisting of at least four folios of various sizes held by guard strips which allow for attaching more pages later. A major goal was to include signatures with expandable pages – fold-outs or accordions, for example. The signatures were handsewn into the spine with long stitch binding; the covers were sewn along the cover edges with machine stitching: a cloth pocket with flap was sewn into the both back and front inside covers. The pics:

The art work to make the covers:

Signature samples with guard strips for eventual additions of pages:

Page and fold-out signature samples:

 

 

The collection:

 

Some printed samples:

 

The longstitch binding (Note the fragility of the newsprint for stitching…layer on lots of medium)

 

The finsihed books, ready to receive more art on any and every page:

 

Last little piece: a canvas cover for a book. acrylic painted:

 

The spine of the canvas cover book (long stitch over tapes) and another canvas book cover, soon to be sewn:

 

Happy new year in art and life to all. Thank you to all the new readers for joining us.

 

Wendy

 

Posted in artist books, children's art, longstitch binding, Magnificat | Tagged , | 19 Comments

November Studio

It is the last day of November and the day of Saint Andrew, patron of Scotland ( Greece, too) and all Scots, even those like me from Orkney! Time to report on the month's art activities, though I will not be done writing before midnight Ottawa time; still, somewhere to the west of me it will still be Saint Andrew's Day.

But first, a goodbye to the colours of autumn in The Kaleyard, last seen in the early weeks of a milder-than-expected eleventh month:

Sumac and amelanchier:

Potted amaranth and kale:

A late assortment of fall colours, some from October:

The last one is the perennial geranium, a sturdy plant, green under the snow and trusty provider of colour in the eco print pot.

Here are some papers printed this month with geranium ( and cotinus)

A smaller geranium, greened by iron/rust in the dye pot:

…and cotinus: the little flecks of pink are lovely and most likely to show up at this time of the seasons.

Cotinus: Charcoaled by iron/rust neighbours in the bundle:

Geranium, two varieties, blackened and greened with iron/rust but still holding on to yellows:

As you might notice in the work of eco printers, yellow is a frequent colour. Some despair is possible.

But take heart, Dear Dyer. A solution is available from colour theory. ( As well as from some post- print tinkering- though not discussed here today – like touching up the colour with other dyes, paints or modifiers like iron liquor or copper liquor or ammonia. And no, post-print touching-up is not a ticketable offence according to me. You are the artist, and you get to do what you like with your art, especially in the establishing of your own purposes and the safe and rationale means of achieving them. )

Thus: To get the most of my yellows from season to season ( when they change value and even hue) I like to pair them with some strongly contrasting colours that can act as foils. In these prints, the contrasts come via rusty prints and cotinus; both leaves are tannin- rich that give deep charcoal or black in the environment of iron, and also some greens. Yellow and black are pretty powerful together.

And next, some more rust prints on paper, this time with indigo and tannins from tea: also powerful contrasts.

 

Winter wools are on my list of textiles for dyeing, and this year I am trying for that famous and popular ( but non-native hereabouts) eye-popping eucalyptus red introduced to us by our DownUnder Diva of Dyes, India Flint. I have a lot of dried euca around the studio saved from supermarket bouquets and welcome those Green Immigrants to the dye plant stash. Bundled with Prunus virginiana and immersed in a walnut dye bath ( Juglans nigra) prepared in a crockpot with the heat set to “low” and left overnight, some of my wool fragements look like this:

Don't the colours look familiar?

The prunus gave the teal greens and even purple, while the euca gave ranges of reds and orange with a tad of yellow. Of course, the walnuts give rich brown on wool ( though much paler on linen) So here, we get the power of analagous colours in teams beside colour complements in the red and green.

 

My most recent project this month was with Dylan, my wee grandson, aged six. We have done lots of painting and stamping and so forth on big sheets of paper, using a very basic palette of cadmium yellow medium, cobalt blue and some kind of red (we lost control of the inventory – most likely the red was cad. red) plus a nice metallic gold. Those paintings mount up – kids are decisive and prolific painters and do not hang about obsessing over the next brushstroke as we adults might tend to do. i heartily recommend a session with a six year old to get you out of your Art Rut. Just try keep up with that kid! But what to do with all our paintings as they piled up?

I hit on a plan to keep the works but to make them easier to store and fun, too. We will make books and boxes, said I!

So we have been making books and boxes from each single sheet painting, working with origami-type folds and no glue. This is an ongoing project, so today I am sharing just a few. The first is a wee box made in the style of the compartments in the Chinese Thread And Needle Case that I completed earlier this year.

For this one, Dylan and I stamped the paper with wooden Oshiwa blocks ( also reported on my blog in the past) and carved Indian textile blocks:

Others we made from painted papers:

 

And a larger box from some of my above-described geranium-cotinus prints:

 

 

If you want to try these boxes yourself, keep the ratio of the paper three times the size of the finished box; thus, the 'Geranium' box started with an 18″ square piece of paper and folded down to six inches and a tad as a box.

Here are some pics of a box under construction, to refresh your memory for the folding sequences: as you can see, you need to fold the large square of paper into a nice grid. The centred square (fold) is the bottom of the box when all the folds are in place. Two boxes fit on top of each other to make one box with a lid.

 

 

Next time, some more art from the studio with my young apprentice, who, bye the bye, was able to anticipate the next fold in his box as we went along…so you can do it, too! And it's a good time of the year to make gift boxes!

i shall likely post again about the art- from-grandkids' paintings sooner than I might otherwise do – I am grounded this week after a wee bit of surgery to my foot! But the mind keeps travelling, Dear Reader…and the hands can still move.

The blessings of Saint Andrew's Day on ya'all!

 

Wendy

 

Posted in artist books, artist's studio, children's art, Chinese Thread Book, dye plants, eco prints on paper, kaleyard, Miao thread and needle case, Rust Printing | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments