Exciting T&T opportunity for members – Mark making

Thursday 16th February
with Diana Brandt

Diana talks about mark making on Paper;

We gaze at rocks, tree bark and rivers twisting their way through the landscape, and ponder the beautiful patterns they make, the colours  exposed in layers. Mark making is a way of decorating paper to emulate those patterns on paper. They can look  mysterious and cause us to wonder how they were made as we stare into the thinly applied paint and try to analyse how they were done. I use my papers to cover the books I make, to add wistful patterns on the pages of journals that inspire me to paint or sketch, and I make cards and envelopes. Ultimate use depends upon the paper you use, so it is important to bring many different types.This workshop is really fun, experimental, messy and random. Each page you do will be different from the last. Hidden somewhere there amongst the paint will be little gems of unexpected lines and patterns that you savour or write over…

Go to our Tips & Tricks page for details and to register.

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Introduction to Indigo Dyeing – includes how to make a vat

Note: The cut off date for registration for this workshop is Friday February 3. If you have reserved a place for this workshop this is the date PPA will need to receive your payment. If the workshop does not go ahead (due to not being fully subscribed) your money will be refunded and you will be informed on Saturday Feb 4th

Indigo dyeing, a natural dyeing process from plants, produces beautiful shades of blue in natural fibres. In this workshop we will learn how to make a vat, learn how to dye paper and fabric, and start on your own project if desired.

Tutor: Alison Muir

Date: Monday 6th and Thursday 9th February, 10 am – 4 pm.
The 2-day separation is so the indigo vat can mature.

Maximum of 10 students.

The workshop will not go ahead if less than 6 people enrol; in this case full refunds will be given.

Cost:  Price per person for 2 days: members $260, non-members $280. The fee includes $20 for the cost of materials.


Day 1: make your own 1 litre natural indigo vat in the morning; in the afternoon see and make samples of different papers and different techniques using the indigo vats provided by Alison. One vat provided will be natural and one will be synthetic to contrast the difference.

Indigo vat showing dye uptake (from left to right)

Day 2: morning will be spent sampling your preferred techniques and/or materials and preparing for the afternoon; in the afternoon work on your own project from what you have learnt. Use the days between to consider your own project and come prepared with materials and intention.

Tutor will provide:

Two indigo vats, contents and instructions for students to make their own vat, ground sheets around vats, some sample cloth for experiments. Class notes and some materials to experiment with techniques.

Student materials list:

PAPER: sheets of cotton rag paper, mulberry paper, or other strong papers which will withstand being dipped multiple times in liquid.

FABRIC:  degreased (optional) natural fabric samples in silk, wool, cotton or linen; 1 litre glass or plastic container with lid – like a pail or stewing jar, rubber gloves, metric measuring spoons, wooden spoon, string for tying, spray bottle, paint brushes and cotton buds, thermometer, scissors and threads, ‘project’ paper, old vegemite/peanut butter jar with lid and three marbles (glass breaks).

Wear closed shoes and clothes that won’t matter if ‘indigoed’.  Bring your lunch and drinks as there are no shops nearby.

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Dry Point Etching

To register for this workshop, please go to Workshop tab on PPA menu bar – scroll down to registration link to access form.

Using Tetra Packs as printing plates.

Tutor: Robert Ives printmaker and member of PPA
PPA workshop Sunday 12th March 2023 10am to 2pm
Workshop limited to 8 students

Printed from a tetra pack plate

Workshop: Robert writes

As a printmaking teacher I have developed drypoint etching plates using tetra packs (milk cartons) for printing. 

Using images from your collection of collage material (magazine photos etc) you will trace an image onto the tetra pack plate using transfer paper, then with a drypoint needle scratch in the traced lines which will hold the etching ink for printing. Water based ink will be applied to the plate using a small diameter paint roller. Excess ink is wiped off using polyester fabric.

Printing will be done on the etching press. At the end of the workshop all materials will be washed with water for future use.

Things to bring:

To collect before workshop: Tetra packs eg. milk or juice cartons (washed & dried).
Images to collage onto the tetra pack plate, printed material from magazines, photos etc, if you wish to keep the magazine image photocopy them for tracing onto the tetra pack plate using transfer paper and a ballpoint pen. Disposable gloves, apron, ball point pen, scissors, masking tape, printing paper 300 x 300 mm, Robert will also have some printing paper for you to use. Bring your lunch.

Workshop fee: $50 PPA members – $70 non-members
Material cost: TBA

Posted in Print-making, Workshops: PPA | Tagged | 1 Comment

Etching Press Demonstration

Monday 5th December 2022 Primrose Paper Arts
Using the Etching Press – demonstrated by Claire Brach

In attendance were Mandy Burgess, Sara Couch, Cecelia Clarke, Angie Macgibbon, Karen Miller and new member Ann Harris.

Claire demonstrated how to use the press in response to several members wanting to understand how to make use of this great PPA resource. The following printing methods were explained.

Linocut • Solar Plate • Collagraph

Relief Printinglino or woodblock

Intagliometal plate eg. solar, copper aluminium etc and dry point etching

Collagraphyin which materials are applied to a rigid substrate such as mount board

Claire gave very detailed information which will be very helpful in encouraging use of the press. We will be producing a detailed written guide with notes and photographs which will be available to members in the new year. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Claire.

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Supplier: Handmade Paper Source

A little about Handmade Paper Source – Tim writes:

I have taught Art for over 30 years in Australia and U.K. and been supplying handmade paper products and equipment all over Australia & New Zealand and presenting workshops in TAFE colleges and schools throughout Victoria since 1986. My comprehensive workshops demonstrate how to create beautiful hand-made paper for the folio, classroom or home, following the authentic papermaking tradition going back 2000 years. Poor quality paper is usually the result of poor quality equipment or poor technique. You do not need to buy a great deal of expensive equipment to make good recycled paper, but it should be good enough to do the job. A kit with a rigid supporting grid under the mould is essential, if you want to put your paper through a printer of any sort.

Many novice papermakers make their pulp much too thick for their purpose. In my workshop we discuss the importance of diluting the pulp according to the product you wish to make. For example if you want to make envelopes, which are to be folded accurately or pages for a book, the pulp needs to be diluted at least 50/50. If, however, the paper pulp is for casting masks or other sculpture, leave the pulp thick & undiluted for strength. Pressing & drying the paper properly will enable your paper to be printed in a variety of ways, because it will be stronger and flatter. Drying your paper on wooden boards (or washi) is an ancient, but effective method, which is also very useful. By adhering to the old tried and tested methods, without great expense, good quality paper is more likely to result.

The site showcases both face-to-face and online workshops but we thought our members would be particularly interested in the shop tab where they advertise various mould & deckle sets – items that aren’t all that easy to source in Australia.

Click Here to head over to their site and have a look at what is available.

Webmaster Note: Many thanks to our member Dinah Beeston for bringing this supplier to our attention.

http://www.handmadepapersource.com.au/ – various pages

Posted in Books, Magazines, Articles, Videos & Kits, Paper | Leave a comment

Focusing on Gillian Hodes

For years now I’ve been working with translucent porcelain, experimenting and searching for a way to make work that is super-thin. I’m not after the clarity of glass, rather the translucent shadows of porcelain: the hint of what might be beyond.

I had the greatest success with paper clay, using a porcelain slip to which paper fibre had been added, and made progressively thinner and thinner pieces but I seemed to hit a brick (or porcelain) wall at 1.5-2mm thickness. Less than that, the work literally tore itself apart in the firing process.

In early 2022 I had a breakthrough and discovered flax paper clay. This clay is made in Wales, and the cost of importing 10kg was $62 for the clay, and $400 shipping! Yes, I needed to make it myself.

I was able to buy some flax fibre for spinning here in Australia, but the fibres are really long: I needed to get it into smaller pieces to add to the clay. Initially I cut it into 5mm lengths with scissors. The clay I made using this fibre worked, but I wanted to get a slightly less ‘spiky’ clay – I needed to get it pulped.

So I researched sourcing clay pulp:

  • I phoned Canada (they were very helpful, but they no longer make or ship flax pulp).
  • USA (they will ship flax fibre only, not pulp, and shipping is prohibitive. I was better off buying it here and finding someone to pulp it).
  • New Zealand (they would only sell me flax paper sheets, which I could soak and re-pulp, so very expensive).
  • It was suggested that I try abaca fibre too, from the Philippines, but I was unable to source any in small quantities (although I could buy a whole tonne…) and it would still need pulping.

About Paper Clay

The addition of paper pulp to clay strengthens the clay in the unfired state, making shapes and forms that are impossible with non-paper clay, possible. The paper burns out in the firing process, leaving behind the “pure” clay.

Paper Clay has been around for decades, and is readily available in Australia, but the only commercial varieties available here require a final kiln firing temperature of 1300°C (also known as Cone 10) to fully vitrify the clay. In my kiln, I prefer to fire to 1200°C, or Cone 6, so I use specific clays which vitrify/mature at this temperature. Unfortunately, no cone 6 paper clays are available in Australia, so I have had to make my own paper clay, a labour and time­ intensive process.

Home-made paper clay has a tendency to rot and mould fairly quickly. Once this begins, the strength-giving properties of the paper are dramatically reduced. The addition of vinegar, Dettol or Bleach slows the degradation somewhat, but realistically the clay has a shelf life (and safety life, if mould is a problem for you) of about 2 weeks. I use the clay for longer, as it’s just too hard to make a new batch of clay every two weeks, and there would be so much waste, but I suffer the consequences in a higher failure rate, and I hate to think what the mould is doing to my health…

It was clear that I needed to find someone in Australia, preferably Sydney, with a Hollander Beater. And so Google eventually led me to Primrose Paper Arts.

Dinah Beeston and Claire Brach responded to my pleas for help (I was fast approaching giving up) with such kindness, curiosity and generosity, I was blown away. I am so grateful!

I came to the Primrose Centre and we pulped a small quantity of flax. It took ages, as the long fibres wrapped themselves around the machinery, and we spent more time disentangling the fibres from the “axle” (or whatever it is called) than actually beating. Next time we will cut the fibres short before adding to the beating tank. But ultimately I left with a bucket of flax fibre, which I took home, drained and I still have some in my freezer.

Claire also very kindly gave me a bag of shredded cotton fibre paper offcuts, which I pulped and have incorporated into clay too.

Fibre clay with flax still rots and moulds, but not as quickly as paper, and the flax is much stronger.

I’m now happily making the fine sculptural pieces I was trying to achieve, and my experimentation has shifted to investigating the behaviour of porcelain in the firing.

A few images of the work I’m making with fibre clay:

Artworks, words and photographs by Gillian Hodes ©

You can learn more about Gillian and see some of her amazing ceramics:
On her website here
On Instagram: @gillianhodesart
On Facebook: Gillian Hodes Artist

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Exhibition: Lost Song

PPA member Mandy Burgess and her creative partner, Ro Murray, invite you to their exhibition Lost Song in Katoomba.

Artist Talk – Ro Murray, Mandy Burgess and Felicity Wilcox

Saturday 3 Dec,
2 pm  – 4 pm

Attend an artist talk with artists Ro Murray and Mandy Burgess, and composer Felicity Wilcox. Murray and Burgess will be speaking about the inspiration and process behind their Expose exhibition Murray and Burgess: Lost Song. Felicity Wilcox will talk about her new composition, Call, And?… (a) Response. Created to accompany the exhibition this beautiful music features the call of the endangered Regent Honey Eater.

A repeat performance of Wilcox’s composition will be played on Friday 9 December at the exhibition.

Call, And?… (a) Response will be performed by Jane Sheldon (voice), Claire Edwardes (percussion), and Jason Noble (clarinet).

Click here to register to attend the artists talk.

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Exhibition: Attune

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS PRINTMAKERS harmoniously attune with their selected artisan and to the poem ‘The River Songman’ by folklorist, Keith McKenry, in this inspiring exhibition of contemporary craft.

presented by

Sturt Gallery & Studios
Cnr Range Road & Waverley Parade
Mittagong, NSW

9 December, 2022 – 29 January, 2023
Daily 10am – 5pm

The Southern Highlands Printmakers (SHP) is based in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. The group was formed in 1993 to foster printmaking in the area, and since it’s inception has exhibited regularly developing a particularly effective working relationship with Sturt Gallery.

Unlike other groups, the SHP does not have a physical base nor does it offer workshops on a regular basis. Rather the focus is on fostering opportunities for practicing artists for whom printmaking is an important part of their work. The emphasis is on mutual support for each other’s professional practice, organising exhibitions of members’ work and developing links to other printmaking groups both in Australia and further afield.

Click here to find out more about their work and members.

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Exhibition: Rhythm of Sumi Ink

The exhibition can be viewed during restaurant operating hours.

Tuesday to Friday: 12noon to 11pm
Saturday: 12noon to 3pm
Closed: Sunday & Monday

Midori writes:

Sumi-e is the Japanese art of black ink drawing. My works are created with a one-sized brush; dark & light, wide & narrow, fast & slow, high & low.
The brushstrokes have rhythms and capture the beauty of the subjects in one go. You can’t erase your strokes once they are on paper.

Learn more about Midori and her work on her website here.

Posted in Colour on Paper, Exhibitions: Other | Tagged | 1 Comment

Using an etching press

An introduction to the etching press

Primrose Park Art & Craft Centre
Monday 5th December, 10:30am

Primrose Paper Arts invites members to a presentation showing how to correctly use our etching press to achieve the best print outcomes.

Our group has many members who take part in printing workshops, both through PPA and other avenues. Some also print at home transferring imagery from print matrix to paper by hand. Many times workshop participants find the educator sets equipment up in advance and it all operates smoothly but if left on their own they aren’t quite sure how to prepare a press for their particular style of printing.

In this short presentation we will explain how to set up the etching press for relief printing (lino and woodcut), intaglio printing (etching and drypoint), solar plates and collagraphs. So whatever you want to print you will get an understanding of the process and be able to use the press whenever you need it.

We will also cover suitable types of paper to use for each type of printing and how to prepare your sheets and registration in advance.

There will be plenty of time for questions and to have a go at preparing the press for use yourself. So bring along some (clean, un-inked) print plates: linocuts, collagraphs or whatever you want to explore, and we will demonstrate how to set-up, use and store the press correctly.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday 5th December at 10:30am.

Posted in Activities: PPA, Print-making | 7 Comments