Paper Art Gifts

Due to the number of art and graphic design classes I teach as a lecturer at Mississippi State University, I do not have a lot of time to produce paper art and freelance as I’d like to. When a gift-giving event comes up, I tend to take advantage of that time to practice my craft. I love doing to produce a natural look using plant inclusions– blending up flower petals, grass, and leaves in with the pulp. I also have been experimenting with ways to apply imagery to the paper. (Excuse my photography. I need to do better at documenting my gifted art.)

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Laser-cut typography with black paper placed behind

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Laser-cut typography with black paper placed behind

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Spray-painted typography using self-produced stencils

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Close-up

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Spray-painted typography using self-produced stencils, and Sharpie dots

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Hand-painted typography

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Close-up

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Hand-painted typography // Spanish for “You are Beautiful”

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Hand-painted imagery

Published Artwork

I will be writing blog posts in the coming months to make up for the year that I failed to document due to teaching a packed college class schedule in the fall, and sickness in the spring. It was a challenge to do anything more than what was required of me! I look forward to sharing with the world what my students were capable of accomplishing this past school year.

During Fall 2014, I was contacted by a publisher in China called DesignerBooks about the possibility of being included in a paper arts book. After much emailing back and forth, it became a reality. On July 23, 2015 I received an email that my work was officially included and was sent a copy of the published book a couple months later.

My chosen paper art from undergraduate and graduate school was featured in four full spreads with detailed descriptions of my idea and creation process.

It is a beautifully designed book, and I am proud to be included with many of my paper art heroes throughout the world.

Title: Paradise of Paper Art 2: The World of Dance Paper
Dimensions: 1.4 x 8.3 x 11.2 inches
Pages: 400
Color: four-color printing
Paper: Matte paper
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9789881378217
Shipping Weight: 2.3kg (5.1 pounds)

At the moment, it’s available on the Australian book website Booktopia and other Chinese vendors, including DesignerBooks.

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The book

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Book jacket with laser-cut holes & the front cover

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Table of Contents & Biographies (see my ice cream cones on right page)

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Cloud Gazing spread 1

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Cloud Gazing spread 2

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Summer’s Day Treat & Jacks

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Eldritch Forest typeface promotional mailer undergrad project

All of these projects are featured on my portfolio website, brittanyspencer.com.

It’s amazing how the Internet makes our world so much smaller and offers connections we would not make otherwise. I’m grateful that a DesignerBooks representative found my website and offered me this opportunity!

Summer 2016 Papermaking Workshops for Kids & Teens

Hi everyone,

I haven’t posted any updates in too long. I intend to change that this summer.

I have great news! I am teaching papermaking workshops for kids and teens ages 7–14 in Starkville, MS this summer. Class size is limited, so pre-register soon to be sure to snag a seat! Each workshop is a 3-day event from 9:00 am–noon, costing each student $100. All materials will be supplied.

Students are encouraged to wear “paint clothes” as these activities can be a little messy! Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend, but are not required.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a video featuring my little buddy Shivank making his first sheet of hand-recycled paper under my instruction.


And now for the dates and workshop projects:

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The next workshop is an event for kids and teens that love Christmas so much, that they  would enjoy creating tree ornaments in July! I taught this workshop over 2 years ago while in graduate school and it was a big hit. Visit the old blog post to see those kids at work: https://brittanyspencer.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/kids-paper-pulp-ornaments-workshop-photos/.

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I will also have copies of my self-published children’s book A Girl Finds a Flower featuring my hand-recycled paper illustrations for sale at the workshops for $20. They are also for sale online at Lulu.com and Amazon.com.

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I hope you can join me to create fun, exciting art! Please contact me to pre-register at brittany.liz.spencer@gmail.com.

New Studio Video

My friend Matt Ramsaur (www.ramsaurfilms.com) is a talented videographer and photographer, so I hired him to do a short film of me in my studio.  I demonstrate a bit of my hand-recycled papermaking process, discuss why I enjoy papermaking, and what inspires my work.  Even Bailee makes her appearance throughout the film!  I will have this embedded into my portfolio website’s home page soon.  Enjoy!

My Rigged Mould & Deckle

There has been some initial experimentation happening in the studio this week, especially now that my largest papermaking contraption is ready to go!  I now have three sizes to choose from to make paper:

  1. 8.5″x11″
  2. 16″x20″
  3. 21″x32″

Continuing my quest to make paper on a grad school budget, the two larger sizes are actually 38 mesh silk screens!  I don’t know if anyone out there is also using silk screens to make paper, but it definitely works and is sweet on the wallet.  However, trying silk screens as the mould did come with a series of trial-and-error to make it work efficiently.

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The mould is what holds the paper pulp after it is lifted from the water vat (or in my case, kiddie pool).  I needed to rig up something to fit into the frame as a deckle.  Hand-made paper has a delicate, fuzzy edge to it called a deckle, due to the pulp leaking partially past its border.  Then there is the contraption “deckle” that makes the paper’s deckle.  I constructed my two larger deckles with styrofoam, white foam core board, clear tape, and duct tape.  Fancy.

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Little did I know that my deckles’ makeup would float in water.  BAD, BAD!  So, with the help of Todd Cloe in the campus workshop, I resorted to an even “prettier” addition to my contraption to make it work.

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Wood scraps were cut and placed over the styrofoam edges to keep its bottom underneath the water, so the water would filter through the mesh.  It’s pretty heavy, but hey, it works!

Torn up paper scraps are blended with water and green pigment to make the pulp….

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and it’s added into the mould & deckle, swished around to distribute the fibers, and lifted/suspended to drain the water back into the water vat.  At this point I have to remove the wood to keep it from weighing down my plastic suspenders.

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I remove the deckle, and you see a perfect wet sheet.  Then I go through a series of sponging, and using a rolling pin over a blotter sheet to couche as much moisture away from the pulp as possible.  The process up to this point can take up to 25 minutes per sheet, but I’m hoping I will speed up with practice.  Finally it goes in-between layers of felt and cardboard with concrete blocks to keep it flat, and a box fan pointed to it to dry overnight!

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I’m so excited about the new possibilities of using larger paper for my work!  More experiments to come….

-Brittany