Exploring paper weaving

Yesterday at our group social day I was interested in the paper weaving being done by our member Dinah.  She’s currently one of many people worldwide who are undertaking an on-line paper weaving workshop with Helen Hiebert.

Although only part way through the course I was impressed with the weaving Dinah has so far created. 

The basic concept of weaving isn’t too hard to grasp but what makes each piece unique are the papers chosen and the variety of ways the paper can be cut.  As Dinah showed, you don’t just have to cut even straight strips and combine them.  If you think a little more creatively you can come out with some extremely effective results.

In the example above left she has cleverly taken a bold plain green paper and combined it with a very regular geometric design on her second sheet.  By cutting her green sheet into straight but variable width strips and her dot paper into slightly tapering lengths she has added interest to the overall outcome; some irregularity within a contained linear whole.

Above we see the front and back of a piece where the strips have all been cut straight but at varying widths.  Dinah commented that she felt the small flower pattern had got lost amongst the weaving and when you consider the back of the piece it’s easy to see that the woven design is more evident where the papers are plain.  That’s not to say it would always be the case but it does reinforce how paper choices affect the outcome.

In this piece she has experimented with 2 heavily patterned papers cut mainly in straight but tapering lengths, some as definite long triangles, while the mottled yellow/brown paper has been cut more organically, with flowing curves.  Again, variable widths and the addition of a cut leaf as a focal point, bring added complexity.

Dinah keeps a log of all her weaving and has a book dedicated to the designs and patterns she has made both now and in the past.  It contains her working patterns and paper placement planning as well as samples.  So I thought it worth showing her initial idea and then it scaled and modified, ready to start construction.

In this piece she chose a Japanese washi paper with a distinct design which she has placed as her focal interest.  Picking up on the white and orange of this key paper she has used a full white sheet as her base with orange strips framing the central motif.  Being on the diagonal also adds to the attraction.

Hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get a ‘part 2’ to this post and see where she takes it next.

**Webmaster note: To check out upcoming on-line courses being run by Helen click here. I’ve personally done her Flexible Book Structures course which was fun and I learned a lot of new ways to manipulate paper.

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Beginners Papermaking Workshop

Last Thursday found us at the studio introducing a very creative family to the art of papermaking.  Mum, Marina, has done numerous crafts with her children and she brought them along for 3 hours of fun with paper pulp.

Jill got them started by explaining the equipment, how the pulp is made and how to create sheets; plain, patterned, hole effects, embossing, with inclusions and coloured pulp painted designs.  She had a range of finished pieces as samples and went through the different methods of achieving the results.

Above: some of Jill’s samples

This family was on the ball.  We only had to show them once, watch them pull their first sheet and they were away.

With the weather holding up, once pressed, the sheets were rolled onto boards and dried outside.

And here are some of the results.

If you are interested in arranging a 3 hour introduction to papermaking, either for a group of adults or children (or a mix), please contact us to arrange a date and time.

Photos by Claire B with permission of the parent.

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Taste for Paper workshop

It’s a new year and we have a whole host of activities for our members and visitors to enjoy.  So make your first stop our NEW Calendar page and check out some of our regular events, workshops and tips & tricks sessions.

We got off to an excellent start with our first Taste for Paper workshop last Sunday.  An enthusiastic group of people met for 3 hours to try their hand at paper-making for the first time.

We were lucky with the weather and, after pressing, the pieces were rolled onto boards to dry outside.

Having refueled with lunch the participants were shown the full range of facilities we have at our disposal; equipment such as the Holland beater were explained along with the new hydraulic press and they were able to ask questions (of Jill, our expert on the day) regarding various aspects of paper-making.

Our member, Peter, a book-binding tutor showed his work and discussed book-binding techniques and how much of an integral part of our organisation it is.  Just another way of using our handmade paper.

Rhonda and Claire unveiled our etching press and explained that many of our members are print-makers, and time in the studio each month is dedicated to this group.

Once dry, the papers were removed from the boards and here are some of their results:

Rosie included dried plant material and torn Japanese paper into her sheets, as well as experimenting with building layers of colour.

Lindsay laminated red and white layers and also tried a range of inclusions including a shimmery glitter on her paper.

Vick added a textural layer to one of her pieces and had a go at stenciling specific shapes, as well as adding a floral paper serviette inclusion.

A great day and we look forward to welcoming others to attend a similar event.  If you would like to attend a Taste for Paper introduction we offer these on demand and you can find out more on this webpage.  Scroll down to the relevant section.

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Focusing on Helen Hiebert

Helen Hiebert, from the USA – who many of us from Primrose Paper Arts follow through her various facebook groups, her website and other on-line presences – has recently returned from a trip to Japan.

Being a person with a long history and high profile in the paper making (and related activities) world, Helen has a lot of contacts throughout many countries and she was able to meet up with some of these during her trip.  She has very generously shared much of her Japan trip through 2 recent on-line posts and we are awarded a glimpse into all sorts of paper related adventures she experienced whilst there.  The majority of us will never visit many of the places she got to see, partly because she was invited privately and partly because we simply wouldn’t know where to start looking.  So this is a great opportunity to glance into hand made paper arts in a country steeped in this tradition.

I strongly recommend sitting with a cuppa and taking the time to follow these links and learn about the paper arts she found there.  She must have kept a superb log as she travelled from one place to another because each destination is supported with a bunch of photos and videos.  She has also supplied many links for further exploration.

Click here for Part 1 – the first week of her trip.

Click here for Part 2 – the second week of her trip.

Click here to visit Helen’s website and learn more about what she does.  You can also find her on facebook and other social media.

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Children’s Handmade Papermaking workshop

School holidays are here, Christmas is only a couple of days away and new year celebrations are on the horizon (and coming fast!).

So what are your children, or grandchildren, going to be doing through January, until school gets underway again?  Are you looking for a different activity for them?  Would they enjoy the magic of making paper for stationery and artworks from recycled paper?

Primrose Paper Arts

in conjunction with

Waverley Council School Holiday Program

are pleased to offer

MAKERS: Handmade Papermaking (6 – 12 years old)
@Bondi Pavilion
Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach


Enjoy the magic of making beautiful sheets of handmade paper.  There will be several colours of recycled pulp to choose from and many embellishments to incorporate into each design.  Time permitting, the children will also make simple books and dye paper. Everyone will take home a bundle of work they have done.  This is sure to be a fantastic summer workshop led by our experienced paper artists from Primrose Paper Arts.

Date and time: Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:00am – 1:00pm
CLICK HERE for more information and to book.

Can’t make it to the Bondi workshop but would like to arrange a workshop for your children and their friends at another time?  Then we would be happy to arrange a date with you.  More details are HERE.

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Workshop: Mary Hark & the Art of Papermaking

Information supplied by Lyndal Thorne, Burnie Arts Council Inc.

We (Burnie Arts Council) will be running another specialised papermaking workshop alongside paper on skin on the weekend of the 20 and 21 of June, 2020.

We are thrilled to announce that Professor Mary Hark from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be heading to Burnie to facilitate Mary Hark and the Art of Papermaking.

Mary will explore the vast potential of handmade paper looking at different fibres and processing techniques – from ‘ephemeral translucent papers to papers that are as hard as wood and as smooth as glass.’

The workshop will include the opportunity to pull sheets of paper with instruction from Mary about building textures including the use of string grids, embedment’s and the covering of simple structural forms with thin skins of translucent papers.

Participants will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of the creative possibilities of the use of handmade paper in art & design and a firm understanding of the technical processes necessary for producing high quality paper – including how to set up a simple papermaking studio at home or in a classroom.

Mary is an experienced and generous teacher with a fascinating professional legacy.  When we asked Mary to send through her CV a 25-page document arrived!  We savoured every word.  A university lecturer (now Professor) with a strong research background, Mary has also initiated many collaborative community projects and has a string of exhibition credits across the USA.  She describes her teaching style as one which ‘honours the individual student… respects the discipline’s traditions and makes room for the unexpected.’

In the late 2000’s a Fulbright Senior Research Award provided her with the opportunity to work in Sub-Saharan Africa.  This has led to the creation of the Ghana Paper Project – a sustainable papermaking enterprise which provides training and employment for the local communities.

Above: Mary tutoring in Bolgatanna (image supplied by the artist).
Click here to read more about the Ghana Paper Project.

And the good news doesn’t stop there.  Burnie Arts Council were successful in applying for a Regional Arts Fund grant which will provide a limited number of subsidised places to the workshop.  The full cost for the workshop is $270, but if you are quick to register you will receive a $70 subsidy taking the cost down to just $200.

Registrations will not open until the new year. The information here is a heads-up so you can slot this fabulous opportunity into your planning for 2020.  Best way to keep informed is to join the paper on skin mailing list via our website. Also keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Mary Hark and the Art of Papermaking is a project assisted through Arts Tasmania and by the Minister for the Arts, and also through the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.

Click here to visit Mary’s website to learn more about her, and watch this short interview below.

Text supplied by Burnie Arts Council
Images from http://www.maryhark.com/hark-handmade-paper

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Primrose in the South: Paper revelry

By PPA member Dinah Beeston

A small but enthusiastic group gathered at The Cubby House at Oyster Bay for a day of paper revelry.

Our first challenge was to make a star from one sheet of paper with no gluing.  A few folds later and there they were.

Above left: Kaye’s stars  Above right: Nerida’s box book and star

Once they were made there was discussion on what they could be used for – wrapping for a chocolate or money or some other small present, cards, place names on the table, name tags, etc.

Betty had brought a lovely little box with folded strips inside that reminded us of a Jack in the Box.

She quickly drew up the measurements for the box and took us through the steps to make it – again one sheet of paper (cut into two) and no gluing.  You could also use Christmas cards to make very decorative boxes, or use card and then cover it, paint it, or decorate it with stars.


Above left: Betty’s sample

Top right: Kaye’s box book
Right: Jennifer’s box book

After all that work we sat down to a delicious lunch.

We had a visit from Ken McEwen (Kath’s husband) who very generously donated a lot of Kath’s materials and equipment to Primrose and showed us his amazing photos of South America.  A big thank you to Ken for his generosity.

Watch out for more adventures in Oyster Bay next year.

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