Big, Beautiful Paper

I have practiced making large paper with my rigged system, and I think I’ve concocted a successful method.  I really had to experiment with how much pulp to make per page.  If I don’t prepare enough, the sheet may be too thin, have thin spots, or tear when I pull it away from the silkscreen.  But then again, I don’t want to prepare too much so that it is as thick as cardboard.  I already knew 1 light batch of pulp (fill blender halfway with torn junk paper, add 4 cups of water) was enough to make 3 – 8.5×11″ sheets.  I found 1 heavy batch of pulp (fill blender 3/4 with torn junk paper, add 4 cups of water) was enough for 1 – 16×20″ sheet.  And finally, I figured out 2 heavy batches of pulp was thick enough for my 21×32″ sheets.

I also tried different paper pulp designs, and these sheets appear to be works of art, themselves!  I mixed all sorts of colors with liquid pigments, and used a turkey baster and a cup with a small hole poked through the bottom to distribute the pulp in different ways.  I would decorate them right after the sheet base is pulled, so the water can continue to drain into the kiddie pool.  Some sheets can take up to 45 minutes to finish– from making the pulp, pulling the sheet, decorating it, and removing as much water as possible before placing it away to dry.

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Making such large paper means a lot of wet blotter sheets and felts.  So thankful I have a good bit of space to hang everything to dry!

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Below is my paper drying station in action.  The paper is sandwiched between layers of felt and cardboard, with 4 cement blocks on top for pressure.  The air from the two box fans flow through the layers and circulate back again.  The paper can take at least 2 full days to dry.  I managed to get more large cardboard so that I can switch them out to increase drying time since these photos were made.  I also bought a dehumidifier to suck up as much moisture out of this Louisiana air as possible.  Oh, what a difference it makes!  The studio was also getting a little smelly from all the wet materials, and with the dehumidifier it’s smelling nice again.

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TA-DA!  I spread my dry paper onto a table to feature the many designs I made.

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Up-close look

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I added a sheet of 8.5×11″ typing paper and a pen to give a comparison to the papers’ size.

IMG_1096I am working on some other projects with my paper, and can’t wait to finish them so I can post them on here!  Have a happy November 1st!

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