“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” — William Wordsworth
I LOVE paper. There I said it. I collect all sorts of paper because you never know when you might need it.
Reducing waste is an important part of life and part of our responsibility to care for this planet. Papermaking for me comes from this essence of reusing and elevating discarded rubbish, finding a place for it, giving it a new purpose that ennobles the materials to become beautiful, elegant and desirable. I have been making paper for some years but in recent months the practice has taken a prominent role. This has partly been born from my experience of lockdown lacking money and materials leading to noticing what is all around me that can be used instead. But also from the core essence of my practice which is to search out beauty and hope in everything. These two aspects fit wonderfully together. So this page is just a collection of the papers I am exploring at the moment and in time the things I will make with them.
So far during my explorations and experiments I have used beetroot off cuts, red cabbage (both burnt and unburnt!), red onion skins, turmeric and ginger root. My base for the paper is a mixture of old book pages, used printer paper, receipts and packaging to varying different percentages. The most recent of these experiments has used items due to be thrown out after a kitchen spring clean for instance out of date tea’s and very old dried chilli’s. Just a little warning here, if you intend to use chillis at all please please please wear gloves and (depending on the quantity) a mask, even the old ones gave off some powerful aromas! The other aspect to play around with is the size of the particles when you blitz the paper pulp. It should be fairly clear when looking at the examples below what I decided for each. Some of the papers clearly have evidence of the initial papers others do not. The final thing to experiment with is thickness of the finished sheet. This all depends on the proportion of paper pulp to water when you make it, the less pulp the thinner the paper.
All of this exploring is very much ongoing and I will update this page as I go but for now here are some examples.
The images below from left to right and top to bottom are:
- Turmeric and ginger root mixed with used printer paper
- Camomile tea mixed with used printer paper and receipts
- Chilli, turmeric and ginger root mixed with used printer paper and receipts
- Burnt red cabbage mixed with used printer paper
- Mixed packaging and wrapping paper
- Red cabbage mixed with used printer paper
- Red onion skin mixed with old book pages
- Beetroot off cuts and leaves mixed with old book pages
- Tea leaves mixed with used printer paper and receipts
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