Above are the first hundred sheets of ONE THOUSAND I will eventually make for the covers of my new book, The Natural History of Raleigh, which will arrive from the printer soon and be out by Mid-November 2018. The sheets are made of high quality scrap and cotton linters, with bits of dried oak leaves suspended in the pulp.
The sheets are 12 1/2 by 20 inches, formed on wove screens of medium coarse silkscreen. I use two screens for extra draining time before couching (laying off on to the wet felt) each sheet.
When I’ve got a stack of a dozen or more between felts, I slide my hands under the stack and lift it into my big press, which is framed by 4×4 lumber and powered by the lovely jack you see (another story sometime). After a good sqeeze and another later, the sheets are ready to lay on boards – or in this case, washed glass.
They dry with the pieces of dehydrated oak leaves down on the glass, which makes that outside cover surface extremely smooth and perfect for printing. Each sheets uses up a good sprinkle of oak leaves and I add pulp and fresh oak leaves between each sheet. I pick a batch of dark un-scarred leaves, sandwich them between screens in a 105 degree dehydrator for a couple of hours, then shred the pieces with my fingers. The project will require many, many pieces of oak leaves.
The Natural History of Raleigh will be published by The Paper Plant Press and includes over 30 line drawings by me, the author. I have worked on this book for over a decade and can’t wait to share it with you!
Folded cover with letterpress block for back
Cover with scored spine and polymer block for front
The finished project is HERE!
My friend Richard Butner runs a science fiction conference every summer just an hour north of me and last summer he brought a prominent up-n-coming SF writer, E. Lily Yu, to meet me and see the Paper Plant studios. She was very intrigued by the collection of wasp nests in my display of fiber materials, and I explained that the wasp was truly the first papermaker. When I investigated her online writings, I discovered the reason she was so interested in the wasp nests – her story entitled “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees.” I emailed her, saying I would probably make some wasp nest paper soon, and she asked me to letterpress print the first line of the story on some of it for a museum exhibit she was helping to curate.
E. Lily Yu at the Wing Luke Museum. pic by Amanda Chen
The show, at the Wing Luke Museum, is called Worlds Beyond Here, and runs through October 2019. I have already been inspired to make a different kind of hand-laid paper piece for Ms. Yu, and I am thoroughly enjoying reading her work. I’ll keep you apprised!
We grew lots of flowers in our Asheville garden this summer and I picked and bookpressed or dried between screens LOTS of petals for papermaking. We incorporate the sheets into the pulp, though a great deal of “cheating” – repositioning and adding petals, anchoring with bits of pulp – is done to make them look good.
The petals are fragile and vulnerable to all kinds of problems, from drying to papermaking to drying again. I used a fan to quickly dry boards of petal sheets this year, since I was in a rush to use the petals. Usually, they cure for up to a year.
The cards have a writing sheet tipped inside and come with an all-deckle edge envelope. They are $4 apiece; a set of 5 in a ribbon is $17. You can check them our on our Etsy page, or order what you see here.
bee balm card
Each type has a little foliage included. The yellow card above has regular and Mexican sunflowers, black-eyed susan, and dried leaves of artimesia. If you take my class, you may bring about any 2-D material to put in your paper; we have a few surplus jars of petals you may dip into as well.
Learn how to make paper at home in one session! Following a brief history of hand-laid papermaking and its techniques, you will make a dozen sheets or more. Session tailored to your interests. Kids 6 and up welcome!
Hand-laid Recycled Paper
The Paper Plant makes utilitarian printmaking paper for small press publishing. The paper is half cotton, half high-quality scrap. Natural fibers such as yucca, flax and okra are pounded and used as strengthening additives. We ferment and grind recycled fabrics and also use decorative inclusions such as dried flower petals, threads and confetti.
One-time intro, future production sessions same price.
After exploring papermaking around the world and seeing how our studio works, you will have at least 6 different pulps available for plain sheets or pulp painting. Production sessions may require trade or fee for supplies.
2 1/2 hour session: $30 (3 or 4 people, $25 each)
John Dancy-Jones, instructor, has been making paper since 1977. He publishes chapbooks, broadsides, and bookmark quotes as The Paper Plant, which operated as a bookstore, gallery and book arts center in downtown Raleigh, NC from 1982-1990. The Paper Plant won the Southern Book Awards prize for alternative publishing in 1987. John has taught workshops in schools and colleges, and at every age level, often assisting working artists in their exploration of papermaking.
Contact us to tour the studios or schedule a workshop:
| Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: paperplantpress.com
The new studios of the Paper Plant have opened for business just outside of Asheville, NC. John Dancy-Jones is producing paper and printing, as well as scheduling papermaking workshops.
Main work area of papermaking workshop.
I am just doing a trial run of my book arts camp in July, I hope to offer it officially summer 2017. Regular workshops are ready to go now, and I have several already on the calendar.
educational materials for teaching book arts.
I am letterpress printing handbills now and will be addressing a couple of leftover projects before doing any new letterpress projects. But if you want a unique business card…
The handbill is pictured below. Come see us!
The Paper Plant website
Screenprinting is easy and my kind of slightly crude; it was the first printing process I used on my hand-laid papers in Greensboro in 1977-78. The last screenprint I did was in 1983, when GG and I screened an image for some anti-war group she was part of. Now I have screenprinted a souvenir to hand out at the Black Mountain College conference in Asheville. The theme of the conference is craft, and my image is a detail from Anni Albers’ fabric artwork entitled Red Meander. Her work,in turn, is based on an ancient motif that appears on early pottery around the world.
after Red Meander by Anni Albers. silkscreen on hand-laid paper.
To make this, I blew up the original image (from the book Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay, by Christopher Benfey) until the lines were about an inch thick. then I darkened the dark areas and taped the image to the underside of a silkscreen. I cut roughly one inch strips of masking tape and filled in the dark areas I saw through the screen with lines of the tape. All this flipped and reversed the areas of print, but with the meander, that doesn’t really matter!
I picked up some red screen printing ink at Askew-Taylor’s and added a little aquamarine and yellow to get the brick red I wanted. I had whipped out 50 extra sheets of our hand-laid 6×9 card stock over the weekend. Laying the sheet on a registered spot (with a new scrap larger sheet under each lay), I then set the corners of the silkscreen on register corners and lay it on the paper. Spooning a generous dose of ink along the top line, I pulled my blade tool over the screen, running the print (which was slightly larger than my sheet) to the edge of the paper. Lift, separate, and lay to dry. There is a letterpress credit on back done with our small brass stamper.
I look forward to more screen printing as my new schedule allows for some projects like this one. And three cheers for Black Mountain College and the amazing presence it continues to have in the arts of our land!
These little books have 10 same-sided sheets inside – 40 pages! these collage covers are by John (larger book covers are done by Cara) Enjoy!
(click to enlarge)
These books are available for $15 plus shipping. Order here. Or catch us at the Boylan Artswalk Dec 2nd.
Our blank books at Etsy
See all blank book posts.