Archives for posts with tag: handmade papermaking

Many moons ago, on a few occasions, we were lucky to have Chuck Lathrop visit Paper Connection.  Back then, Chuck Lathrop lived in nearby Massachusetts and was part of the Monotype Guild of New England.  Chuck exposed us to his brave approach to  print on ANY surface, resulting in cutting-edge, bold and abstract prints, and we exposed him to traditional, Japanese, fine art  papers or washi.

A few years ago,  Chuck left our area to start his own studio in the sunny Southwest.  Let’s talk to Chuck and find out his opinion on paper, and the situation with his own handmade paper with dryer lint!  Chuck is never shied away from trying new surfaces; coffee filters, and yes, even dryer lint paper.

coffee filters, beeswax, encaustic

74 Days in the Life of the Artist as Measured in Coffee Filters (used coffee filters, beeswax)

PCI: Please tell us about what you do.

CL: Over the last 35 years my work has included printmaking, painting, mixed-media drawings and objects. The landscape has always had a huge influence on my work. At first it was through direct observation or photos, but today I work from within relying on memory, impressions, andemotion to create abstractions. Automatic mark-making is a huge part of my work as well.

PCI: Who has inspired you?

CL: My artistic influences are varied and too numerous to cite individually. Paul Cezanne and Robert Motherwell standout because my introduction to them coincided with huge changes in my style and motif.  Today, there are many contemporary artists I draw inspiration from.

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?  What do you like best about working with it?

CL: Paper is probably one of the most versatile substrates available to artists and I have enjoyed pushing it to its limits.

West Mesa (Large) mixed media drawing on Kozo

West Mesa (Large)
mixed media drawing on Kozo

 

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

CL: I was introduced to Paper Connection International through the Monotype Guild of New England when Lauren Pearlman invited MGNE members to come to PCI’s office (showroom/warehouse) to talk about Japanese paper.

PCI: How much knowledge did you have about Japanese papers before using ours?  How did we help?

CL: Until my introduction to PCI I had only used Western paper and my knowledge of Japanese paper was very limited. What my association with Lauren and PCI did for me was to expose me to a lot more possibilities regarding paper.

PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

CL: Kumohada Unryushi, (now a limited edition paper), and the various weights of Kozo are the ones I use the most frequently.  I use the Kozo for monotypes and woodcuts. The Kumohada is utilized for collagraphs and painting. Some of the work on these papers I have mounted to panel and used as a basis for encaustic work.  (Please see image below of When the Rhythm Sections Floats I Float Too, encaustic on  reduction woodcut on panel).

Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper

Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper

PCI: We are learning much about how our papers react to the encaustic process, and we’d love more of your feedback as we are novices to the application.

When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel

When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too
encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel

PCI: We’re reminded of your visit and how laundry lint inspired you?

CL: As I remember it I was learning how make paper with scraps of museum board, something of which I generally have a quite a bit of in the studio. In my research I ran across a reference to someone using dryer lint. Made sense to me since some Western papers were made from cotton rags hence term “rag paper”.  I collected a bunch of lint from the dryer and one day when I was creating paper from museum board I threw some of the lint into the mix towards the end of the day’s session. Consequently the first sheet had a little paper pulp which yielded a light blue-gray and the last sheets had no paper pulp and came out a dark blue-gray.  Though I still have some sheets of the paper (both from museum board and lint), I created at the time (the late 1990’s), and still work with it on occasion, I found the paper was weak and easily tore when I didn’t want it to tear.  Given that I now live the Southwest and water supply is always an issue, especially during the current drought we are in, and the fact that any kind of paper making takes a large amount of water, I probably won’t be making any more paper.

PCI: We commend your awareness and responsible action. What is your experience as far as the strength of Japanese papers versus Western papers?

CL:  I prefer Western paper when I create paintings and mixed drawings, but for printmaking I prefer the Japanese papers. The Japanese papers don’t hold up well with my painting techniques and tend to fur-up when I draw on them. On the other hand I appreciate the quality of the Japanese papers when I’m making prints because there is a beautiful difference on how they receive the ink regardless of the strength.  I don’t think Eastern paper is necessarily stronger than Western paper. A paper’s strength is largely dependent on the length of its fibers and what it is made of.  I suspect some of the Eastern papers maybe stronger, but on the other hand, I would also guess some of the Western papers might be stronger.  Other issues in this discussion are the questions: What will the paper used for? Will it be dampened or soaked? How absorbent is the paper dry or wet?

PCI: Those are all very good questions that one should ask before purchasing paper.  Our famous bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? And would you talk about paper?

CL: Yikes! There are so many I would like to have a conversation with that if I had the chance I would gather them around a table, if a large enough one could be found, just to talk about art.

PCI: We’ll provide the drinks!

For more on Chuck Lathrop, please visit his website: http://www.chucklathrop.com.  Chuck has recently established an online journal: www.nmartreview.com.  We enjoyed the discussion, “On Serious Art.”

An upcoming show at the Downtown Contemporary Gallery, in Albuquerque, NM, will feature Chuck along with other printmakers.  The show opens May 30th. If you are in the Albuquerque area then please go!

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Our latest paperwoman, Ms. May Babcock, certainly has been busy these days.  She has now become a regular fixture at Providence’s AS220, teaching papermaking.  This long overdue class has been filled to capacity, with eager paper newbies ready to get their hands wet and minds inspired by May’s expertise.  Using sustainable fibers, May implements traditional yet easy-for-the-beginner papermaking with good, old-fashioned recycling.

CLEAN, green PAPER: story by a guest paper-blogger.

At a recent demonstration, held at Jean Winslow’s studio in Lowell, Massachusetts, May helped the eager crowd to turn to invasive species as a source of fiber for papermaking.  Think codium, an invasive seaweed that is in plentiful supply along our beautiful Atlantic coast.  The goopy water that May said resembled “salsa verde”, (we were thinking a thick miso broth with extra wakame too), soon had many hands agitating the shredded seaweed to equally balance its own density in the water. Then with one swift scoop at a 45 degree angle, we were all shuffling our seaweed across a small screen. Following May’s instructions of “opening and closing a door”, we removed our newly-formed sheet on pieces of felt and pelon, with a hinge-like move that closed the screen down on the felt, and opened it up again using the same side of the deckle from which we placed it down.  After rolling and squeezing the sheet, we then proudly dried it on a sheet of plexiglass.

So we were beginners, but looked with awe as we formed our papers and watched them dry.  As we brought our sheets home, we were excited to figure out how we would use this handmade sheet. My codium paper? Safely nestled on my bookshelf along with jars of collected shells from southern Rhode Island beaches…so I caved in to the nautical theme.  At least it’s with the hope of making some space for native seaweed species along Cape Cod, one sheet at a time.

See more of May’s papermaking adventures with local local fibers at May Babcock’s blog.

Have you ever considered yourself a superstar?  A paper star, at least?  I had the privilege of spending a week around the seasoned, paper legends as well as the new generation of  paper stars at the Watermarks Conference, (the 2012 meetings for both  Friends of Dard Hunter and IAPMA.) sponsored by and held at the Morgan Art Papermaking Consevatory & Educational Foundation, in Cleveland, Ohio.

When I booked this trip, I wondered, what can I do in Cleveland for one week besides make, eat and dream paper? I realized that Cleveland, has Lake Eerie, a seriously well-deserved local pride and die-hard fans of their sports teams. Since I was still a little jetlagged, and the pre-conference workshop I signed up for hadn’t started yet, my colleague said ” why don’t you go to the legendary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame?”  So I did.

Giant guitars outside of RRHF.

My reasons for going on this Cleveland Magical Mystery Tour, started becoming clearer while inside the RRHF.

Not only did I get to learn so much about the history of the Rock n’ Roll era, I was able to surround myself with (at least simulated versions of ) Rock Star Legends.  The RRHF primed me for the rest of the entire week when I got to hang out with the Rock Stars of Paper; paper gurus and paper masters from all over the globe all came together in Cleveland, Ohio!

Tim with Carolina Larrera. Carolina is not only a Tim Barrett groupie, but Paper Rock Star from Chile.

Who Wrote the Book of Love, I mean washi?! Premier paper legend and MacArther Grant recipient, Mr. Tim Barrett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA did.  His many fans want to have their photos taken with Mr. Barrett; …dang, I didn’t get a good one of me with him!  tsk, tsk.

Asao Shimura mixes konnyaku with pigment.

There were so many Paper Rock Stars there...Mr. Asao Shimura who taught a 2-day workshop on konnyaku intaglio printing. Like waiting in line for tickets to the biggest concert of the year, I tenaciously waited for my spot in his class, and got it!  Asao hasn’t been stateside in years and he traveled from his home in the Philippines to teach in the US. I’ve been a fan for years, but finally got to meet him and take his workshop, with more of his fans.

Asao Shimura definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer, and we should thank him for it, as he trail-blazes in the world of paper arts, he teaches too, sharing his insight and skill with eager students.  He’s  a soul man of a paper culture…(I’ve got rhythm, but I AM asking for more  Paper Rock Star Fame!)

Aimee Lee: Young Paper Rock Star- crowd is starting to gather…

A fairly new talent in the group is Ms. Aimee Lee,  now an author of a new book: Hanji Unfurled, One Journey into Korean Papermaking,  I swear- when she walked into the room during my pre-conference workshop, a group of fans formed a circle around her; I heard “Aimee!, Aimee!” coming from the crowd.    I was an Aimee Lee groupie before even seeing her live.  I could catch on fairly quickly; I tried to blend in with group-playing the coy paperazzi.  I am still very much part of Aimee Lee’s fan club, and therefore so thrilled a host to her, while she’s in New England promoting her new book via artist’s talk, demo and workshop both in Boston, November 10th and Providence area, November 14th.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears, may be a RRHF inductee, but have no doubt, the vatman or vatwoman produces blood, sweat and tears on a daily basis, as they toil and create paper with their two hands, keeping the art of handmade paper true, pure, and alive-ensuring that Papermaking is Here to Stay!

At least at some level, I continue to aspire to Paper Rock Star status.  When asked: “do you make paper?” I reply: “not exactly, but I am an agent, a promoter, a paper Shake, rattle and roller and total groupie of the Dardos!”

Watermarks 2012 was more than about reuniting with friends and colleagues I haven’t seen years, and more than about discovering new Paper Rock Stars. It was a week of  Letting the Good Times Roll, a week of  re-inspiration to continue down The Long & Winding Road  to bring handmade paper to the likes of you.

My Cleveland experience was the necessary step towards attaining Hall of Fame status or at least a couple of my own fans..  I am now determined more than ever to create a (paper) hit in my hometown of Providence.  A really BIG hit.

Thank you Watermarks 2012 , the Morgan and Cleveland ,OHIO!: you keep on rockin’ me baby!

For more photos, check out our FACEBOOK page for the Watermarks album. Don’t forget to “like” us!