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!