From the first time I hogged the vat (agitating the pulp) in graduate school and pulled my first sheet of hand made paper, I was hooked!
The endless possibilities for gorgeous sheets of paper made with natural fibers, recycled papers, and imbedded collage material both two and three dimensionally continues to be a part of my studio practice. Sharing this passion with others has been part of my tool box as a teaching artist.
Over the years, while I had seemed to devise ways to streamline the paper making process and avoid huge puddles of water on the floor, I was still spending lots of time in prep, and clean up- draining and straining lots of pulp and tubs of water.
Recently, I was introduced to Seed Paper by fellow teaching artist Gabrielle Kanter at a Young Audience of NJ/Eastern PA family event. Gabrielle’s simple set up used far less water, is appropriate for all ages and abilities, and most materials can be found in your local dollar store!
- Small plastic tub or deep lid
- Plastic ceiling grid cut to size with jigsaw (to fit inside of tub or deep lid)
- window screen (cut 2 to size to fit over plastic grid)
- Scott’s Shop Towels (blue, come in rolls, found in dollar stores or dollar general) This is for “couching”- after you pour your sheet through the frame onto the screen and drain, you flip it onto a shop towel, on a small stack of newspapers.
- pint size wide mouth bottle with lid- this is for your pulp:
- inexpensive toilet paper
- recycled scraps of paper, tissue, etc.
Fill up a small quart jar with a wide mouth with water, add shredded toilet paper, torn scrap papers, and a variety of seeds and spices, shake and pour over a screen under an inexpensive picture frame (or embroidery hoop) wrapped in duct tape.
Remove frame, lay a second loose screen over the wet sheet, blot dry with a sponge. Wring sponge out, repeat. Remove top screen and use bottom screen to “couch” onto a blue shop towel. Once it is couched and blotted to get excess water you can carry your sheet on the shop towel over to a drying rack
The following week I was scheduled to teach a PD Workshop with teachers in Delaware where I had the opportunity to offer participants Seed Paper making as well as the more traditional method of pulling sheets with a mold and deckle in vats of cotton pulp. It was a hit!
Adapting hand made paper into curriculum has unlimited possibilities in language arts, science, geography, history- and of course art!