Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Perfect May Day

Today was absolutely wonderful and amazing and reaffirming. My first and last batches for hanji making were remarkably ideal. I learned so much and there's no point in writing it down, because my body remembers it. But some basics:

1. Right thinking makes right papermaking. Any hint of ambition/ego destroys good formation. Yes, I should know this by now. But I'm always amazed by how completely airtight this one is, never fails.

2. Ultra thick and gooey formation aid is a godsend. I CAN'T BELIEVE it can stay that good (unrefrigerated) over the course of 6+ months, even the synthetic stuff. Not to say all of it did, but the stuff that did made me want to live in that vat forever. For the first time ever, I started a post and evened it out to near perfection without redoing the first sheet (batang jari: the seat of the foundation) or freaking out. I was kind of holding my breath the whole time but I knew it would be fine from the first dip. GO, OLD PMP (and likely a cold winter and spring in Cleveland in a mostly unheated facility)!

3a. Never use the bits of bark that you think you could slide by on. It always screws up the whole vat. Not worth the trouble, better to use it as bark lace.

3b. Picking out paint flecks from a chipping beater is worse than picking out bark bits.

4. Five to six dry pounds of fiber is good for a solid day of pulling sheets.

5. Teaching is the best. I had intended to teach Mason for over a year now, but it was never a good time. I am so glad we got a few moments in the afternoon for a quiet one-on-one, no time pressure, no watchers, no stress. I think he's the only person I've taught so far who in his first try (this was about six times at the vat = three sheets) managed to avoid bubbles along the rib lines from air being forced up in suction. I seriously know no one, which includes me, who has not had this problem from the get go. Then again, he is a very careful papermaker and he listens to instructions.

More later. For now, I'm already behind on sleep that I need to be prepared for tomorrow's adventure: pressing, parting, drying!


  1. oooooooo I'd lurve to dip my hands into this....

  2. a good day is worth everything. a good day making hanji, even more.

  3. Anonymous11:02 AM

    happy that you had such a good day - and #1 applies to all "handmaking" techniques


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