Decorating paper vessels

Following on from our vessel making workshop earlier this year our member Lee has been adding decoration to hers.  Choosing a minimalist design (a little Art-deco, perhaps?) and a range of coloured markers she has added interest to both the inside and out.

Great result.
Thanks, Lee, for sending us these pictures and sharing your work.

Posted in Member Activities, Paper, Techniques | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dramatic decaying flowers by Tiffanie Turner

In 2019 California-based artist, Tiffanie Turner, held a solo exhibition entitled ‘What Befell Us’ which explored the notion of aging, imperfection and perishability.  Using Italian crepe paper she created massive blossoms, many spanning more than 1 1/2 meters across.

In this recent work she looked past the perfect bloom and investigated the concept of flaws and damage.

Taking a closer look at the pieces shows the clever use of paper to indicate the slowly wilting and discolouring petals and centres.

She individually cuts thousands of segments of paper to piece together her works, which can take up to 400 hours to complete by hand.

Click here to read an interview with Tiffanie where she discusses not only how she became a paper artist but also what drives and influences her practice.  She also covers the unpleasant subject of having to cope with her work being copied and distributed without acknowledgement.

Her artist statement reads (in part):

My sculptures depict the appearance of different plants, mostly the heads of flowers, to some degree of accuracy, in paper, using both realism and preternaturally large, sometimes metastasized forms.  Through my works in paper I study scale, texture (petals sometimes reading like feathers, or fur) and color.  Each piece can take between 250-400 hours to complete.  I work with the rhythms and patterns found in nature, as well as the wonderful gestures formed by missteps and irregularities in nature like decay, rot, wilt, dormancy, death, and genetic and viral mutations like phyllody, petalody and fasciation. 

I like to bring the smallest things we take for granted or that might go unnoticed, like the shape of the smallest floret of a flower, right to the viewer’s face, when one may realize they never knew them at all.

Tiffanie Turner is also the author of The Fine Art of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals available through many booksellers online.

Find more of her work online by searching for her name and via her Instagram page.

Resources: (several pages – search for artist name) Read her full artist statement and more about her here

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2020 case Postcard Show: Voting Open

We previously posted about this challenge and are delighted to announce one of our members, Cecelia, has entered 3 pieces.  With the theme of ‘Loving the Lyric’ there is a range of wonderful interpretations from many well-known songs.  Each entry has the details of the song and the particular lines being referenced.

Here are Cecelia’s entries:

The Parrot, 15 x 15cm, mixed media collage

Inspirational Lyric: ‘He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks.’

Lyricist: Bob Dylan, Song: Simple Twist of Fate

Of Cabbages and Kings, 15 x 15cm, mixed media collage

Inspirational Lyric: ‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax –
Of cabbages and kings.’

Lyricist and Song: Lewis Carroll, Song: The Walrus and the Carpenter (music Disney Studios)

Song for the Asking, 15 x 15cm. mixed media collage

Inspirational Lyric: ‘This is my tune for the taking
Take it, don’t turn away.’

Lyricist: Paul Simon, Song: Song for the Asking

There are now well over 100 entries so Click here to vote for your favourite and start planning your own entry for next year.

Posted in Exhibitions, Exhibitions: Other | Tagged | Leave a comment

Focusing on Naomi Kobayashi

Born in 1945, Japanese artist Naomi Kobayashi uses material such as Japanese paper, cotton and paper thread to create installations that speak of cycles of life, death and regeneration.

Her education includes 4 years (1965-1969) studying textile printing and weaving at Musashino Art University and using her skills in these areas she applies them to her works by weaving and at times with shredded paintings and texts.

Naomi Kobayashi, Cube White & Red, Japanese paper, paper thread, mirror,
2.5” x 10.5” x 10.5” each, 2014

The interpretation of stillness highlights her concern with the ongoing cycles of life, and other works are representational of the link between cosmos and everyday life.

Naomi Kobayashi, Distance #113 & #114 (no further credit found)

She continues to create works with depth and substance to further illustrate the irony of life such as the positive and negative, and the unspoken.

Naomi Kobayashi, Untitled, kayori thread, paper, 99″ x 54″ x 5″ (x2), 2006

See more of her installations by clicking on the links below.
Many thanks to our member, Dinah, for bringing this artist to our attention.

Resources: including artist bio

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June Social Day

This week saw us back in the studio face-to-face although still social-distancing.  The turnout was amazing, everyone looked delighted to finally be returning to some semblance of normality.

Diana brought her latest book, a mix of handmade and commercial paper, with her own handwriting and imagery throughout.  You can get a closer look at this at our upcoming exhibition in July/August.

Patricia, new to papermaking, had some of her handmade paper with some lovely inclusions.

Bonnie recycled some waste paper from her printmaking.

She tore up a variety of pieces and soaked them well before putting the pieces through the blender.  When I (webmaster) went to see what she was up to and take some photos I was surprised to see that she still had a lot of pieces that hadn’t blended into usable pulp.

We picked up a couple and tore them in half, finding that the water hadn’t penetrated through to the centre of the paper.

This is a common issue when recycling heavyweight printing paper.  These papers are designed to soak in water to soften them and make them more malleable before etching or drypoint printing, using printing inks.  However, they don’t react the same way as watercolour paper, which soaks up water almost like blotting paper, and some print paper brands with very smooth finishes contain a substantial amount of ‘size’ which resists water penetration.

Concertina books and card making were also in evidence, with Syd showing us another of her jelly fish creations, and many others working on their individual projects.

It was good to see so many members and so much creativity going on.

Posted in Activities: PPA, Member Activities | 2 Comments

Review: Online T&T 3

Eucalyptus oil print transfer

This was a challenge for some of our members and would probably work better face-to-face with Sue.


I’ve tried a number of methods of transferring photos and struggled with most of them. Sue’s clear directions made this process with the eucalyptus oil seem much easier.  Then to have her video as well to show exactly her methodology was great.  It obviously needs a lot of practice to get the lovely results that Sue has but at least I did get some results from my first try.  I think Sue needs to come down to Sydney and take us through it.

A few things that I noticed as I played : black and white photocopies didn’t work; I found that some of my handmade paper didn’t work; I needed to use a wooden spoon rather than a bone folder; the colours and shapes in the photo are very important (as Sue mentioned). I included the Opera House photo here to show the colours that weren’t transferred (yellow and green).

I was surprised how well the giraffe print worked – this is our new baby at Taronga Zoo (only 5 months old).

Thank you Sue for a great T&T.


I found this very difficult and couldn’t get my image to transfer.  Dinah might have a point about the transfer working better on some papers than others.  Certainly my handmade recycled print paper didn’t work well.

I got my husband to have a go and he achieved a bit more.  We noticed that Sue seemed to be pressing and pushing quite hard on the video, so Philippe was much rougher than I.  In fact he wore through his original image.

We alternated between using wooden spoons and bone folders.  Looking at Sue’s video I see she worked on plant fibre paper, whereas I was using cotton rag.  I wonder whether that made a difference?

Posted in Activities: PPA, Member Activities | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Online Class: Paper + Light

Helen Hiebert was a guest artist at Primrose Paper Arts back in 2009 we have kept in touch ever since.  She is currently offering a brand new online class entitled Paper + Light, which begins on July 6th.

In this 4- or 8-week class, you will create illuminated objects ranging from single-sheet lanterns to organic light structures as you explore a wide variety of techniques for working with paper and light.

Construct armatures made with paper, wood, wire, and string as you create art, lamps, lanterns, sculpture and more.

Hear what Helen has to say in this short introductory video:

Click here  for full information and great photos of what she will be covering in each of the 4 or 8 lessons (depending on which option you choose) and to register.  Note: Early bird pricing ends June 15th.

Webmaster Note: Several PPA members, including myself, have undertaken Helen’s online courses in the past. 

Each module has a great accompanying video as well as printable step-by-step instructions.  Which of us has created something, gone back to it in the future and completely forgotten how to do it?  Not in this case, as you will have written instructions to keep. 

She also has an online classroom where you can ask questions, share your work, and get feedback.  That was my favourite part because I could see all the different ways my classmates had interpreted the projects.

Posted in Activities: Other, Books, Magazines, Articles, Videos & Kits, Paper, Techniques | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vintage etching plates and eco-dyed paper

By PPA member Lee Downes

During the last few weeks I’ve become addicted to eco-dyeing paper.  Unwrapping every sopping package is like opening a Christmas present – I never know what the results will be.  Each piece of wet paper is greeted with oohs and aahs once the plant matter is removed.  The plant and flower impressions glisten, and even the least defined pieces are beautiful when wet.  However, they all unfortunately lose this striking beauty as they dry, but retain a more subtle beauty.

I scoured the internet for instructions before taking the plunge.

For my first prints, I made a stack of paper and plants sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard and tied up with twine.  I boiled them  for an hour in a pot with 1 cup of vinegar, several pieces of rusty iron and a sandstone rock.  I tried the same method, substituting copper for the iron. I was entranced with the results.

I found that rolling the paper and plant material around a piece of dowel produced the most distinct images, and tiles are better than cardboard for the ‘bread’ in the sandwich.  I’ve made several more batches without vinegar and alternating copper and iron, finding that the copper needs vinegar to produce more distinct patterns.

The question then was what to do with all of this beautiful paper?

Earlier this year, a box of vintage copper etching plates was sold at auction.  My partner attended the auction for me (I was at PPA making paper), and outbid the scrap metal merchants.  The etching plates are delightful.  Some print well, others are a little bit faint and will probably need to be reworked.

Nonetheless I love them all, and decided to print them onto my eco-dyed paper as the first stage in making a book.  Rather than black, which I thought would be too harsh against the subtle paper, I used Payne’s gray.

I’m quite pleased with the results, but I think I will make more paper and make the prints again using black and some other colours.

Posted in Activities: Other, Colour on Paper, Member Activities, Print-making, Techniques | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Online T&T 3: Update

The Joy of Eucalyptus Oil Transfer

We’re delighted to have received an update to the current Tips & Tricks challenge.  Sue has been working on a new piece and has sent the following to share with everyone.


This is an example of a photocopy that came out quite yellow at the laser copy stage.  It may have something to do with the era the photo was taken – sometime in the 1970s. Mum would have used a regular camera, sent the film away to get developed etc, etc!

I scanned the original photo (now over 50 years old) and printed it on my inkjet printer, then got a laser copy at the Post Office.

I used some coloured pastels after the transfer to try and make it more interesting and got rid of some of the yellow in Paola’s dress which was white in the original photo.  It presented creativity with an opportunity to unleash itself .. !

As a result of this new information, which you may like to try, we’ve extended the deadline for completed work to be submitted until Saturday 13th June, late afternoon.

Email your results to our webmaster, Claire, by clicking here.

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Book hinge demo with Cynthia McGuirl

This step-by-step video shows how Cynthia uses Kozo paper to make hinged book pages / covers.  What we especially like is her method of registering the pieces for measuring, cutting and assembly.  Some good tips for the bookmakers amongst us.

Youtube video link as above

Posted in Artist Reviews, Book Making & Binding, Techniques | Tagged | 2 Comments