Papermaking with Plant Fiber

There is something magical about making paper by hand. You start with a fiber: the fallen leaves from the maple tree in your yard, or the bast fiber from the milkweed sticks you harvested from the roadside. You cook it, beat it, and pull it into a layer of wet pulp that dries into the most beautiful paper — comprised of textural earth tones and feathery deckle edges. When you use this handmade paper in bookmaking, it provides one more element where you have control of the aesthetic. In addition, this plant fiber paper can be raw and open as it works its way into your collages or other artwork. It makes unique cards as well — the possibilities are endless.

We will begin by building a simple mould and deckle which we will use during the workshop. We’ll explore papermaking techniques like embedding and laminating; and compare harvesting and fiber beating options. We can look at the science of paper to the extent that you have interest. But mostly we will be making paper — from cattail, corn husk, iris, hosta, milkweed and other plant fibers.

In the process we will take the time to explore the creative spark of wet pulp. It conforms to its base and adheres to itself. We will then make a Flash Book—a book with amazing potential. When it dries, its pages will provide a landscape for your wild imagination.