Thursday, April 5, 2007

Handmade Paper

Making your own paper can be a heady and therapeutic ride. When you can actually see something that was trash transform into something useful, right before your eyes.
My own journey on the crinkly road of paper started from my youthful need to do something to save the planet. And I wanted to literally see my efforts doing something positive. That's how I stumbled upon paper-making. Back then I thought of it as recycling. We didn't have a recycling programme those many years ago in Singapore. To be able to take things out from the waste stream and ease up pressure on our landfills was a good thing for a girl growing up in Singapore. We are a tiny island about 24km by 48km, with the scarcity of space is indelibly stamped on our psyche.

I found paper to be a very accepting medium into which you could add much. Like leaves, grass and flowers. The paper you end up with has wonderful, colourful inclusions.

Or, if you were inclined to recycled papers of different colours, you'd end up with a lighter shade of the predominant colour. So long as you don't mix too many other colours with that particular one. This sheet one is made mainly from magazine pages.

This one is from yellow pages... A fun thing to do with printed paper is to leave some of the pulp not blended beyond recognition and then sprinkle some broken words or letters on the the pulp before you pull the paper out of the vat.

And this from office waste coloured with a the crushed up pigments from dried out
poster paint tubes (recycling again!).

The pulp that forms paper when it dries also lends itself to being embossed. I did this by drying the pulp on kitschy plastic tablecloths with puffy patterns on it.

Paper pulp is a playful medium that not only lets you add things to it, emboss it, colour it. It also lets you shape it. Laura from Wildethyme used oil splatter screens as deckles to drain the water from the mushed up paper. It makes funky round paper. I've never seen anyone do that before and the results are wonderful. The very roundness of the sheet frames the paper as a work of art.

There are quite a few big box suppliers of handmade paper out there but somehow, I find the sheets from individual paper makers have a different energy to them. They are more textural and perhaps these people tell the story behind what went into the paper, these sheets are more beautiful to me.

If you are looking for special handmade papers for your crafting or scrap booking projects here are some Etsy paper makers.

Wildethyme has a brilliant and informative site with artful recycled and plant fiber papers.
Disturbedpenguinpoo has value for money sheets if you need a lot.
Lazy Sunday Crafts has great coloured embossed papers.

1 comment:

Joo Hock said...

Hmmm...Interesting stuff, on making paper. Reminds me of the time when I was in UK, doing Hairdressing. I always enjoyed visiting those countryside shops during weekends and browsing through the arts and crafts, they press flowers, and make paper. Lovely. Very creative. Will tell my Bucky Gp to check this out, on your site. Joohock