A fun day making ‘paper’ from silk

By PPA member, Claire Brach

Last weekend 11 very enthusiastic Primrose Paper Arts members and friends turned up at the centre eager to learn how to turn silk fibres into paper.  Strictly speaking I shouldn’t be using the word paper, probably more pseudo-paper, but for want of something better I’ll refer to our finished sheets as paper for this article.  Purists among followers of this blog are encouraged to comment and submit their own terminology.

Starting with gummed silk hankies, silk cocoons and rods I showed them how to make yarn (and some knitted with it), soften the cocoons and stretch & shape the rods ready to go into their paper.

They then dyed each component before adding them into their sheets, which they formed from raw silk strippings.

All was concentration as people teased the fibres out …….

Then we decided to add dried plant material in as well.

It was a great day.  I had a ball introducing everyone to some new skills they hadn’t tried before.

But, better than that, I enjoyed seeing the individual ideas and pieces each person came up with.

Of course I couldn’t resist including this sampler which looks to include most of the dye colours and ALL of the silk products.

Well, that’s one way to ensure you don’t forget anything you learned on the day!

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Exhibition: The Space In-Between

Webmaster note: We are delighted that two of our very talented (and active!) members, Brenda Livermore and Dinah Beeston, are exhibiting in this exhibition.

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Chinese Art Course

This is the latest of the Institute’s practical courses, exploring the most celebrated aspects of Chinese culture.  An Introduction to Chinese Art is an eight-week course which offers insights into the essence of Chinese art and aesthetics.

The course will explore the historical development of Chinese painting, calligraphy, and paper-cutting, while learning basic skills associated with each art form.

Dr Tianli Zu is an Australian-Chinese award-winning multimedia artist.  Her art offers viewers an experience of Chinese culture, weaving history with the contemporary.

Venue: University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus
Dates & time: 22 May 2018, 6:30-8:30pm, 8 consecutive weeks
Full details and booking: Click here

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Workshop: Turning silk into ‘paper’

Working with Silk
with Claire Brach
Saturday May 12 2018

Venue:  Primrose Park Art & Craft Centre, Cremorne
Further details, more images and booking form:  Click here

In this workshop you will explore the properties of gummed silk strippings, how it can be formed into paper-like sheets and used to create books, cards, cover boxes and more.

Your experimentation will include using a range of silk products, many of which can be incorporated into your sheets as embellishments, whilst others stand alone as their own individual art piece.

You will learn how to use & set silk dyes to colour each component and how to manipulate the strippings into molded 3D shapes.

Each demonstration will give you further techniques so you can build your samples throughout the day and leave with a range of pieces incorporating all the featured products in a variety of guises.

This is designed to be a fun experimental day where each person will explore a range of items – strippings, cocoons, rods, hankies, roving, etc. – and choose how they wish to use them.

All silk materials will be supplied, so there is no extensive materials list.  No experience is necessary as this is a day to explore a new direction and learn some new skills.

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From Plant to Paper

A conservatory grows trees to turn into handmade paper

Cleveland’s Morgan Conservatory is one of the few places in the US dedicated to conserving paper-making traditions and considering the material’s artistic and functional future.

Kozo grove and garden

The Morgan’s special grove of Kozo, or Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) was planted ten years ago with the help of paper artist and MacArthur Fellow Tim Barrett, who provided the kozo cuttings from the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book.

It is the largest cultivated kozo grove in the U.S.  Kozo trees, which are native to Asia, are considered to be an invasive species in most of the US because of their highly opportunistic growing strategies which successfully colonize patches of disturbed fields.

It is also a tree highly prized for over two thousand years in ancient Asian paper-making techniques.  For the Morgan, the polymorphic and slightly hairy lobed – and unlobed-leaved trees promise sheets of valuable archival-grade artist paper, and they are the only non-profit organization in the US remaining that still produces a large volume of handmade paper for sale.

Finished sheets of handmade kozo paper

The Morgan is unique in being one of the largest book arts centers in the country to incorporate multiple disciplines of paper-making, book arts, and letterpress, in addition to extensive programming.

The founder, artist Tom Balbo, describes how early on he and a board member had contemplated how “to keep something vibrant in the arts, you know, you’ve gotta have these community places where people can have some kind of studio space to at least be able to do things or have access to equipment to do things.

The paper studio is a papermaker’s dream.  They have an extensive inventory of both Western and Eastern styles of industrial grade paper-making equipment, including beaters, a hydraulic press, piles of paper moulds and hand-crafted deckle boxes, and paper-making vats.  Among these is the first ever Hanji studio in the US built by Fullbright Scholar, Aimee Lee.

Excerpts taken from the full article at:

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Look what caught my eye

By PPA member Claire Brach

Scrolling through some of my photos I came across these images of a piece hung in Hazelhurst Gallery in October last year.  I’d completely forgotten about this art piece.

Being in a hurry on the day I unfortunately didn’t get the artist name or title of the work.  What struck me was the vibrancy of the colours and the variation in width and height of the coiled paper tubes – a bit like one of those 1970s shag-pile carpets!

A photo side-on to the piece shows the differing levels much better.

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Workshop Opportunities: Art in Action

The Combined Art Societies of Sydney Inc. bring you a range of workshops designed to improve and grow your art practice.  Click here for full details and booking form.

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