Monday, December 31, 2012

Papermaking on the Deck

Its that time of year...Craig (my partner) has disappeared to Victoria for some bike events, I've got the house to I can safely set up my papermaking 'factory' on the deck without ruining our wonderful relationship....!

I recently collected some plant material from my brother's property at Gympie.  I wanted to try a few different plants in my papermaking, other than that collected from my own garden.

Plants used include:  Bromelaid leaves (dried and chopped up in a mulcher) - lovely dark chocolate, flecked paper but quite a bit of shrinkage so best incorporated with other fibres and recycled paper.
Lomandra, Bladey Grass, Citronella grass, Bracken Fern, Lemon Grass.

The electric cooker
Rinsing the cooked fibre

Beating/chopping the cooked fibre, with the
outdoor insinkerator.

Bracken Fern, after cooking for 4 hours.

Bracken Fern, after it has been put through the insinkerator.
Very fiberous, not much bulk. 
The resulting paper looked just like a tree fern trunk. 
Not practical paper but very interesting!

The vat, ready to pull the sheets using the mould & deckle.
I have sprinkled calendula stamens/petals and lavender
on top of the vat as decorative colour and texture when
the sheets are pulled.

My new 'toys', from Japan.  These assist me to adhere
the formed sheets of paper onto my board for drying.

Sheets of Citronella grass drying on the boards.
This paper is, well, very grassy!

Close up of the Citronella grass paper. 
Lots of texutre so I won't be using this one for printing on.....
Lovely to touch and admire though!

A sheet of dried Bladey Grass, this is my favourite.
Lovely golden colour with lots of texture (hard to see in the photo).
I think this is one I will use in some future exhibition pieces.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gelli Plate Printing - ho ho ho

WOO HOO!  The Xmas holidays are here, time to get stuck into some new projects....

...firstly just have to duck into the kitchen and start making the potato bake for Xmas lunch tomorrow, but in between peeling potatoes and chopping the onion, there's art to do!

This week I've been working on my gelli plate printing.  For those of you who don't know, for the past year I have been importing and selling Gelli Arts Printing Plates (  They're are similar to the plates you can make from gelatin but are permanent, don't have to be prepared ahead of time and can be stored at room temperature.  I think they're great because they're more practical in our hot, humid climate than gelatin given our recent 30degrees+ temperatures and sticky humidity, I put the plates to the ultimate test.

In the past I had only used acrylic paints on my plates.  So this time I tried oil paints.  Same sort of process, but slightly longer working time.  Colours of course are beautiful on the prints, but after a week, they are still not yet touch dry!  Not good if I wanted to use the prints straight away.

Never mind, its back to the fast-drying acrylic.  In the past I have used acrylic retarder medium to lengthen the working time.  This time I tried Matisse Print Paste.  This is a retarder medium used in screenprinting.  I found the print paste to be better than the retarder, mostly as its thicker and easier to roll on the plate.

From the prints I have done the past couple of days, I have made 2 small concertina books using Cotton Tree leaves.
Some of the photos below show leaf prints that I have also done for an encaustic concertina book based on the ginkgo leaf.  After Xmas I will start working on the encaustic part of the project, stay tuned to my blog for more updates on how this project progresses....

If you're interested in the Gelli Plates, let me know.  I've got another batch arriving in the next couple of weeks, I sell them for $50 each.  I can give you a free demonstration if you like, but there's plenty of YouTube videos on the net to show you how easy it is to print with them.

I hope you all have a very creative Xmas.... after all of the Xmas cheer is over, lets get stuck into some art!   ho ho ho

Gelli Plate 'ghost' print using oil paint, the
detail and colour is beautiful

More prints, both ghost and first prints using oil paint

Ready to print, gelli plate inked up with acrylic paint

Ginkgo leaves, collected on my last trip to Sydney

The plate and leaves after printing

prints hanging to dry (almost instant in this hot weather!)

One of the prints that I'll use in my encaustic book

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trip to Japan Part 3 - so many goodies, so little time

Here are some photos from Japan Trip in November, highlighting the shopping I did at various art and craft shops......

Sometimes I was so overwhelmed with excitement and sensory overload, my hands were shaking!

A shop selling the most wonderful ribbons,
a dilemma "what to buy, what would I use?"
I managed to walk away with only one piece of ribbon, but
now wishing I had bought more.....

Kawachi, art supplies shop.  Not as good as Sekaido in Tokyo,
but I still managed to spend lots of Yen here!

View from the 33rd floor of the Swissotel in Osaka.

ABC Craft, a small view of the 'shop' - rows and rows
of craft supplies.  Imagine Spotlight + Lincraft + every online
craft shop in one location.......but with only half an hour! Urrghh!

In the Sasabe Gazai art shop in Osaka.
Can you see the frenzied look in my eyes?

Just a few metres of fabric in one of the craft shops...

Couldn't resist these, furry hiking pants with built in leggings,
but no, I didn't buy them for fear of how big my butt would look in them.

Cycling fashionista

PAPER, lots of it.  Yum, luckily it doesn't weigh much!

12 Cashiers at ABC Craft + a queue controller man.
Chaotic heaven!

Toraya fabics in an Osaka alley, open till late every night!

Part of my stash when I returned home, luckily we had
extra baggage allowance!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Trip to Japan Part 2 - Indigo Dyeing

Part of our visit to Japan earlier this month involved a visit to the Aizumicho Historical Museum of Indigo in Tokushima.

This area in the northern district of Awa province, the historical origin of Awa Indigo since 794AD.  The museum is the former residence of Ai-merchant Mr Okumura, built in 1808.

The museum offers 'hands-on' experiences so Craig and I opted to each dye a cotton table runner, at the modest price of 2000Yen (approx $25AUD), I'm going to wear mine as a scarf as the material is more suited to our warm climate.

We were able to choose from a selection of designs, I chose a random crumpled look whilst Craig wanted to do stripes.

After donning apron and gloves, we proceeded to start our dyeing, dipping our bundles in and out of a large van of dark, pugent indigo.  Our tutor could only speak Japanese, but as usual we were able to communicate sufficiently using hand gestures and smiles and a modest smattering of essential Japanese words.

Indigo dyeing samples in the Exhibition Hall

The designs we could select from

Dyeing in progress

Rinsing our scarves

Hanging our finished pieces out to dry

When we returned to the city area of Tokushima, we hired bikes to explore the area.  Bike riding for commuting purposes is really popular in Japan, I guess that cars aren't practical in a country with a high population density and not much carparking space.  We hired our bikes from the bike-parking lot in the basement of the train station, its just amazing to see thousands of bikes parked like the equivalent of the underground carparks of our big shopping centres.

The bike-parking lot where we hired our bikes

 There aren't many rules about how you ride your bike in Japan...

Baskets are SO cool

 Exploring one of the shopping arcades on bike,
you can't do that in Australia!

AND don't we just LOVE the food!
I'm standing outside a typical department store restuarant,
complete with plastic food display.
...when's our next visit???? we're thinking about it already.....


Monday, November 12, 2012

Trip to Japan Part 1 - Visit to Awagami Paper Factory

I've just returned from a quick trip to Japan with my partner Craig.  Its our 4th trip in 11 years, this time we visited Osaka and Tokushima.  We love the culture and the food!

I'll be blogging about parts of my trip over the coming couple of weeks.

This blog is about my visit to the Awagami Paper Factory in Tokushima.  'Factory' is perhaps the wrong description...all papers are made by hand, and we were able to watch the papers being made by several craftspeople.

A highlight was an opportunity to go onto the factory floor and have a go at making the paper.  We did some simple sheet forming using a small mould and deckle with mulberry pulp, then decorated with coloured paper pulp.  It was interesting to be able to use their vacuum machine and steam dryer.

The wonderful lady who instructed us knew no English (and we don't speak Japanese) but its amazing how much can be communicated through hand gestures and demonstration (my knowledge of papermaking helped too!).

A most enjoyable day with some time spent in the onsite paper shop afterwards!

The Awagami Paper Factory

A beautiful garden in a neighbouring house

Couldn't resist an arty photo!

The factory floor

Picking out the impurities

Taking the sheets off the cloths and attaching to a board
for final drying

Craig looking down into the factory space

Craig and I making our paper and having fun!

Craig working the vacuum table

Above me, a huge mould and deckle

In the shop - so much paper, so little time!

washi, washi and more washi...
how much luggage allowance do I have?????

A stop at the toilet, Japanese style

Ice-cream whilst waiting for the train afterwards,
from a vending machine of course!