Sunday, May 26, 2013

Marbled Paper (Process): Nothing is wasted - Project: make a greeting card

As I've mentioned before, some of my favorite marbling results have come from pressing prepared paper into the leftover paint at the bottom of the tray (after dumping out the size). Here are a few samples. Each paper in itself is lovely. These could be used in a collage or as end papers or just hung on the wall with no alteration. This first one has a big blank space in the middle. That could be filled with doodles or a drawing of a bird, for example.

PROJECT: Make a Greeting Card
After lifting up a print from the size, there has always been paint left over on the size that needs to be wiped away before adding more paint to the size. Some books and sites recommend using a wooden dowel or strips of newspaper. However, I think the paint left on the size can often create interesting designs on prepared strips of paper that can be used later for collage, bookmarks, etc. These three papers were made by laying one half the paper onto one side of the tray, then laying the other half on the other side, picking up paint from both sides and effectively creating a line in the middle of the page where the two 'designs' meet.
Here is one way to use this paper and cover up the line. Cut the marbled paper (after it dries) to 4.5" x 6.5" and glue onto a 5"x7" card base, then glue a strip of cardstock over the line and stamp on a message. Here I glued on a 1/4" x 7" strip of red cardstock to cover the line and stamped on "Happy Birthday xoxoxo".

Marbled paper (Process), book-making and a pretty flower

I've done some more marbling and made a few books since I last posted. I've been trying to figure out how to make the beautiful peacock pattern. My attempts with a homemade double-tooth comb are less than satisfactory. I've come pretty close by using two homemade rakes, passing them back and forth next to each other while moving the combs through the size to cause the nails to cross paths back and forth. I got that idea after seeing a small illustration from the 1800s of something similar in Progress of the Marbling Art by Joseph Halfer. I also skimmed the book Marbled Paper: Its History, Techniques and Patterns by Richard Wolfe, which had some good historical information but I felt it lacked any concrete recommendations for making patterns and what types of paint to use.
Here are the two "rakes" to the left of the size. To make these, I hammered nails about 2" apart into the thin edge of a ~1.5" wide strip of wood (~1/4" thick), and attached a kind of wire handle to the back of each piece to help me hold and manipulate it back and forth as I drag it through the size.
Below is the finished paper (on the right), plus some purple and blue blobs on another paper. I love the uncombed blobs as much as I love making patterns with combs and rakes.
This one is about as close as I've come so far in technical execution to the Peacock pattern, but I don't like the colors:
Then there's the "American" which I read about in The Ultimate Marbling Handbook by Diane Maurer-Mathison. I like how this one looks. There are several steps with rakes and combs, but it's not too hard to execute (this was still wet when I took this photo):
On the right is another 'American' and on the left is another attempt at the Peacock design. 
I love the vibrant colors in this orange and blue one. I especially love the part on the left side with the blobs of orange floating on the blue.
These two are actually the backs of marbled designs - these were made by fully submerging the paper after laying it down to captured the marbled design. The paint on the sides that had not been covered by paper seeped onto the back of the papers and formed these wonderful colorful designs. In both cases I liked the finished result of the back more than I liked the initial design on the front.
This was the front of that one above on the left:
I love the vibrant blue in this one. This has gray and silver paint and black paint. Blue was added last, so the silver and black were pushed inward to form the veins. The blue is an airbrush paint so it spreads a lot.
The below (the part on the right) was made using a small bundle of broomstraw dipped into a bit of paint and then flicked and spattered onto the size on top of other colors that had been dripped on with an eyedropper. Flicking the paint is really messy and gets all over the place so cover your walls and appliances accordingly.
Here are two more papers I made. I love the bold colors.

I made some book cloth out of fabric from my stash, then marbled some papers to match the colors.
These books were all the same size: 5" tall x 3.5" wide. I found some pretty ribbons at a scrapbook store and started putting ribbons in all the books. This one was dark blue, black and gray/silver stripes. The stripes looked nice on the book running vertically and I marbled some paper to match the color scheme of the fabric.
I used a pretty green ribbon on this one. The ribbon has a light blue edge.
When I bought this fabric I grabbed it as a fat quarter from a pile, only seeing the colorful lines and floral pattern on black. I did not see the cat until I opened up the fabric to iron it out to make a book cloth from it. I sent this one to my niece since she likes cats.
My next book project will be to make an art journal from scratch. I need to select the fabric for the book cloth and decide which papers to use inside. But first I'm going to work on this quilt, Patriot's Puzzle, that I designed and cut fabrics for last summer. I put it back on the design wall today and it's time to sew it together and figure out a border.
Here is a lovely flower I saw this week:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cherry blossoms and book binding

A few months ago I saw a woman using an old large-format children's book about fish from the 1960s as an art journal. It had a hard cover and cardstock-like pages. She had painted over most of the pages, glued every other sheet together to make the pages thicker, and left some of the fish motifs and drawings and words in the book visible to incorporate into the art she was making. I decided I must have one of those books. I looked high and low for a few weeks but could not find anything with either the quality cover or the cardstock-like pages. I found a few books with the cover I wanted, but the pages were like magazine paper. At some point I decided I just needed to abandon my search and make my own book. I scoured the internet for local book-binding classes and found two. The first one was full, so I signed up for the other one and anticipated it eagerly, but it was cancelled a few days before the start date. So I went online and found several tutorials, including this one about case binding from SeaLemonDIY on YouTube as well as her tutorial on how to make book cloth. She has a few other tutorials that I liked and I made some simple book presses out of wooden cutting boards that I had on hand, plus a smaller one from some scrap wood to press the signatures (the little booklets of paper) while I glued the spine. I watched a few different tutorials on how to stitch signatures together using thread, and then I made this book (it's ~3"x5").
I used book cloth (Lineco) purchased from the art supply store. I also used some of my marbled paper for the end papers! I was so excited to put the marbled paper to functional use. Plus I used hot pink thread to stitch the signatures together, which is visible if you were able to look closely inside the pages.

Overall the first one turned out well, except the spine of the paper block (the stack of signatures) is not attached to the spine of the book cover. I fixed that in the second one, which turned out (technically speaking) much better than the first. For the second one, I decided to make my own book cloth, because my head was filled with ideas of the things I could use for the cover. I took a piece of fabric from my stash and followed the SeaLemon DIY tutorial on making book cloth (referenced above). I also got a few hints from LizzieMade's tutorial on making book cloth using the heat bonding method. I got some Pellon Wonder Under and ironed a piece of it to the fabric. Then, because I did not have any Yasutomo Kozo rice paper on hand, I ironed a piece of tracing paper to the Wonder Under. Rest assured, I will acquire some Yasutomo Kozo rice paper at my earliest convenience. The book cloth was a little thick when I was mitering the corners on the inside of the book, likely due to the relative thickness of the tracing paper.
But overall it went well together, the spine of the book cover adhered to the spine of the paper block this time, and I added a thin ribbon to the spine before gluing it to the cover. Here you can see the signatures in the paper block (I only used 4 signatures of 4 sheets of paper each).
The PVA glue really works wonders. It dries faster than any glue I've ever used before. And using a bone folder to smooth the pages helps them to lay flat. To glue the spine of the paper block after stitching the signatures together, I put the signatures stacked neatly into a small press with the spine sticking out about an inch, then painted on some glue with an old paintbrush and let it dry, then added two more coats on top of two small pieces of 'super cloth' (like a loosely woven cheesecloth) that covered the spine, plus a larger piece that wrapped around the spine and onto the outside pages of the paper block. Then I glued that into the book cover, which I prepared according to the tutorial by adhering the book cloth to the chipboard. Then I let the thing sit in the press overnight to smash it all together and make it nice and flat.
This was a fun project and though the first one was time consuming while learning the process; stitching the signatures together is tedious; and figuring out how to cut several pieces of chipboard for the covers without cramping my hand working the box cutter (I actually ended up using a jigsaw...); overall it was very satisfying to have such a fun end product. I am already envisioning making some more marbled papers to complement several pieces of fabric that I will use to make book cloth. And maybe I'll add a little paper pocket in the back like in Moleskines. Yes, I think that's a good idea.

Also, I have a new favorite tree (in addition to aspens). It's an oriental cherry tree (Japan - rose family). The blossoms are lovely and so soft.