Friday, February 13, 2009

Etsy Papermakers Guild Paper Swap.

The wonderful ElenaMary who founded the Etsy Paper Makers Guild recently organized a paper swap among its members. We sent her sheets of our own handmade paper (one for each person participating) and recieved back one sheet from each member. I loved the paper so much, seeing all of the different styles and characters in each sheet, that I thought I would share them with you here!

[Image at Left: ElenaMary in the center and bottom, Pulpa at top left, OakMother on the right]

Many of these sellers I have run across on Etsy already and have admired their work. Now I can actually feel and touch their work and admire it all the more!

Participating members (besides myself) were ElenaMary, Pupla, Oakmother, EvesOriginals, ParellelBotany, BBesigns, CSPaperandBeads, PaintingPam, Lot10Paper, ThePaperButton, Nightcloud, HollySpinner, and RagQueen.

[Pictured right, Lot10Paper in the back, EvesOriginals in the middle, PaintingPam in front]

I loved seeing the different materials people used and the different interpretations of handmade paper. In my work I typically use handmade paper as a support for art, as in to be drawn, written, or painted upon, but some of the guild members treat the paper itself as a work of art, so much so that I feel I should hang it on my wall in a frame!

Some of the papers were very smooth, some even glossy and slick, but others were very rough with plant fibers and shiny inclusions like stars and metallic confetti!

[pictured left: ParellelBotany on the left, BBesigns second from left, CSPaperandBeads third, ThePaperButton on the right]

I'm not sure what I will do with all this paper yet, though the idea of building a journal around each sheet is very appealing. For the moment, I think I will just continually leaf through the sheets and admire them all over and over again. I highly encourage you to check out each of these seller's shops!
[Pictured Right: RagQueen in back, HollySpinner in the middle, Nightcloud in front.]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Featured Seller: PersistentGreen

I've read about marbling paper in a book I bought recently called Paper Transformed which details many ways to alter paper using chemicals, paints, and other materials to get various effects. I personally have not tried, it, but I admire the work other artists do using this process. One thing I enjoy about where I work is looking at the old books in our library's storage area. Many of the covers are wrapped in marbled paper, and they are too old to have been made commercially. The designs are absolutely amazing.

Paper marbling is a process which involves floating various pigmented substances, oftentimes ink or paint, on the surface of water in a tub. Designs are drawn into the colors and a piece of paper is laid overtop of it. The paper picks up the color and once it dries it has a pattern that resembles marble stone.
For today's Featured Seller, I will be showing you some work by Etsy artist Amanda of PersistentGreen who makes and uses her own marbled papers (shown in photo above). Amanda uses a modern method of marbling which involves liquid starch, powdered alum and acrylic paint to create her wild and bright marbled papers. After discovering this more approachable and affordable alternative to traditional marbling techniques, she was addicted!

Amanda uses her own marbled papers for journal covers, as seen at right. I love how the limited use of colors can produce such varied effects and designs. They are simple in color, but complicated in design and make perfect journal covers or endpapers. She also makes unique cards from the marbled paper in color combinations as varied as the uses for paper--from yellow and blue and green to chocolate brown and cherry red.

If you want to try paper marbling at home, here's how! There are many different methods and materials available for marbling paper. There are several variations in Paper Transformed. The one I will detail here is a basic water marbling technique.

You will need:
*watercolor or rice paper
*two or three colors of watercolor paints, or dry pastels or powdered tempera paints
*mordant solution
*glass baking dish

First, spray the paper with the mordant solution and allow it to air dry completely. Then fill the dish with water until it is just covering the bottom.

Prepare the paints, making sure they are very dense. You don't want them watered down. Then drop the paints into the water and lightly swirl them. Don't do this too much or the paints will mix into the water and the design will be lost. If you are using pastels, just scrape the pastels with a knife or scissors into the water. For powdered tempera, just sprinkle the powder into the water.

Immediately press the sheet of paper into the bottom of the dish until it is wet, then lift it out starting from one end and moving to the other. Lay the paper paint-side-up on a towel to let it dry completely. After it is dried, you can flatten it out using an iron on low heat.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Featured Seller: BigBlank

I was perusing Etsy looking for handmade paper items to share with you. Then I came across BigBlank's etsy shop. Far beyond the molded paper bowl, vase, or nondescript "snowball," BigBalnk has created unique works of art using a paper-casting technique.
By pouring paper pulp into clay or wax molds, BigBlank creates wonderful gifts and unique alternatives to the usual card, such as this "Three Star Cast Paper Card."

One of the things I like best about Bigblanks process is that it is centered around reusing materials. Instead of tossing scraps of junk mail and office paper or chunks of styrofoam, BigBlank reuses it to make sculptures.

Big blank also extends this technique to larger works, such as art pieces to hang on the wall. The benefit of this method of decorating your home is that the piece is fairly lightweight, much lighter than a framed painting on canvas at any rate, so a couple of thumbtacks is enough to hold it to your wall. I particularly like the piece
Sealbird, which recycles brown paper bags into a beautiful work of art to hang on the wall. Again, BigBlank repurposes items that otherwise would have been thrown away, and gives them new life and a new reason for existing.

You can visit BigBlank's shop at and I highly recommend that you do so!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

As promised.

Here are a few pictures of my newest coptic journal available in my etsy shop here:
I love how the coptic stitching looks like braiding. I wasn't sure about the color of the thread I used, but once it was finished I couldn't imagine it with any other color.

Making the journal was a blast too. First I made all of the sheets of paper, which took quite a while. There are 55 sheets total, which when folded in half makes 110 pages, 220 front and back. Then I trimmed them to size and as I made the sheets over a period of days, I also made the covers. I reclaimed some scrap chipboard and cardboard and aged and distressed a sheet of paper. Then once I covered the cardboard with the paper, I drew on the islands and such and added the edging and inside cover paper. The inside cover paper is a gold metallic tissue paper, which proved a problem once when the first layer I put on got a hole torn in it as I smoothed it down because the glue had made it too wet. Oh well. The second go-round worked out better. Altogether I am very happy with this journal and look forward to making more.
Also, a picture of my dog in the snow:

Paper tutorials

While browsing etsy I came across thelongread's top 100 free tutorials of 2008. Looking through them, I found two involving creative uses of paper, so I thougth I would pass them along and give a few nods toward these blogs.

Paper mache bowls are nothing new, in fact the art of paper mache has been around since the Chinese were making helmets out of it as far back as 202 B.C. However, Painted Fish Studio shows us an alternative to the dull text-riddled use of grey newsprint with a tutorial for paper mache bowls. Simple, easy, looks great with a handmade decorating scheme or to use as a place to throw your keys at night so you don't walk around the next morning, late for work, wondering if the dog/cat/baby ran off with them.

Just Like Martha shows us a creative way to use up old magazines. It's a bit past Christmas at the moment (and no help if you're non-Christian unless you have a secret ambission to make a paper forest display for your home), but still, when the holidays roll around again, I'll be sure to make at least one of these magazine Christmas trees.

In other news, I have finished my third coptic-stitched journal and intend to photograph them tonight and upload the pictures to my computer along with the shots of my dog playing in the banks of snow taller than her. I'll share the journal-making goodness and snow-puppy adorableness later tonight.

I promise, she's cute, even if you're not a dog person. She looks more like an Ewok from Star Wars.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My bad.

Excuse the extended absence if you would please. My hard drive crashed before the holidays, then during and after the holidays and when school started back up again, I actually forgot I had a blog. Oops.

At any rate, here's an update:

The new couching material I've been using has been excellent. The squares of old bed sheet work wonderfully! Almost every sheet of paper I make is high enough quality to be sold in my etsy shop. I'm very pleased.

Also, I've decided to introduce a new product into my etsy shop. I am using my handmade paper to bind journals. I have recently learned the coptic binding technique with the help of this site and have made two small journals already and am working on a third. I have not posted them to my shop yet though.

Also, the Etsy Papermakers Guild has been organizing a paper swap among 15 of its members, so in the beginning of next week I will be sending off 15 of my sheets and will recieve 14 sheets back from the other members (the 15th sheet will be my won sheet, which I've already seen, ha ha) sometime in the coming weeks. I am very excited to see the products from other members.

I will update you with photos of my journals and the paper swap as soon as they are available. In the mean time, check back for more paper making madness!