The Samarium Chronicles, Chapter 4: Papers Please!

Well, I must report that my papermaking adventure with artist Catherine Nash was not a complete success.  The class was wonderful and informative (I have a new found respect for the art and tradition of papermaking.)  I dutifully made a sheaf of lovely papers embedded with golden colored maple seeds, dyed silk fibers and thread, and dyed papers in the class.

 

Ready for class with materials to embed into papers.
Ready for class with materials to embed into papers.

 

Brought them home to dry.  Stuck them on my doorwall (this is called ‘restraint drying’ in paper-making lingo).  They looked great. Went to bed dreaming of lovely translucent handmade papers embedded with maple seeds.

drying

Woke up to find that the papers made with thicker abaca fibers had molded.  Horrors!  The uncooked seeds had some residual spores on them which ‘bloomed’ overnight (duh!).  Arrrrgh.  Treated them with hydrogen peroxide, which helped to bleach the mold.  They look okay now, but I can’t put moldy papers (or seeds, for that matter) in this piece.

The kozo (translucent papers) embedded with the seeds look great…can’t use ’em, but they look great nonetheless.

Translucent paper embedded with maple seeds.
Translucent paper embedded with maple seeds.
Handmade paper embedded with silk fibers and maple seeds.
Handmade paper embedded with silk fibers and maple seeds.

The papers I made without the seeds are archival.  They don’t have anything to do with samaras or samarium, but they sure look purty.

Abaca and iris paper embedded with raffia and thread.
Abaca and iris paper embedded with raffia and thread.

Now to explore silk ‘paper’-making.  Thanks to my friend Mary Lee Erdman, I have just the reference book I need.  I will leave the maple seeds out of it….

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