Saturday, December 03, 2005

An illustrated tutorial

This is Louis starting to make a sheet of paper by dipping the frame (in this case, a sugeta - for Eastern-style papermaking) into a vat of pulp and water. Can you tell this was when she was still living in Hawaii and nicely tanned?
This is the machine I'm usually referring to when I talk about beaters (well, not really. I like using the Valley b/c it's easier to clean & has a capacity of one pound, so I can do a little at a time...commitment issues). This is one by David Reina with a capacity for two pounds of dry weight. The pulp in there is a bunch of rag, beaten from cotton clothing.
This is a western-style sheet being formed: the frame on top is the deckle and it sits on a frame with brass mesh sewn onto the top so water goes through but the pulp stays on top (called a mould). In this picture, I'm making a shaped sheet, so between the two tools, I have a piece of styrofoam that is cut to the shape I want. But you can see the pulp in the black vat.
This is the lovely machine I work on when letterpress printing. It's a Vandercook Universal 1 and has five rollers. This one is inked with white ink, and you can see the type in the bed of the press, all locked up (with the wooden blocks, called furniture, and the metal quoins that tighten and hold everything in place). To work the press, you stick paper in the gripper bars at the top of the machine, and then crank the handle so that the rollers move over the type, and the paper in between gets printed on.
This is me cranking, about to pull the printed sheet out of the gripper bars.

Now I can go on w/my usual blabbing. I printed 300 cards tonight...it was frustrating b/c the presses are in pretty bad shape, so I kept having to make adjustments. So don't be upset if the return address on your holiday card this year isn't evenly inked. I tried my best. The OTHER side will be the doozy b/c I am still trying to figure out how to get handmade paper on it. That will be this weekend's task.

The movie didn't make me want to move to LA, nor did it make me want to sleep w/an older man so that he could pay off my student loans (though I wonder if I'd think the same thing if the opportunity ever arose). But what is it w/men always wanting to distance themselves so that they don't feel hurt ever? I'm so sick of that. But I guess men also continue to wage war, so some really bad habits/ideas will never go out of style.

2 comments:

  1. Holy shit. I get it. Switch grass, soda ash, lye. You're making *paper*. The whole time I thought you were cooking up some healthy treat.

    Your last two entries are amazing. A total shift from how this blog has been going. I'm so glad you're sharing your art.

    Yours,
    Pauly

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  2. awww, thanks. I've been slow about the art thing b/c I am so not a camera girl - not the kind of person who always has it on me so I can shoot all the time. But tonight, as I was revving thru all the printing, I remembered that I have to DOCUMENT everything. Or else it's like it never happened. Which has pros & cons, but I can't fight it - it's just the way it is.

    [the other thing being that I can't photograph MYSELF w/o a tripod, so I have to beg other people to shoot for me while I do mundane tasks.]

    But look at that: I just packed up my camera and put it in my bag for tomorrow so I can shoot my sorry-ass switch grass paper.

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