Monday, March 15, 2010

Swatch Swap

And now on to the other swap that I just got back in the mail...

You may remember the scraps I posted about last month that I was so excited about.  I had made them for the 10th Swatch Swap (or in its more refined, sounds-like-a-real-book form A Papermaker's Sampler) with the Yahoo Papermaking Group. This is the third time I've participated.

Back in October 2009, I mailed in small 2" x 3" swatches of handmade paper that I painted using house paint, bitumen and oil pastels. So, why did I work at only 2" x 3"? Actually, I didn't. I worked larger and then cut up the larger pieces of paper into small swatches. Even at only 2" x 3", they still show off the texture of the handmade paper and the possibilities of work at a larger scale.

Here's how it works: the handmade paper artists send in a specific number of swatches (in this case 72) to the hostess. In return, each artist gets back a most amazing and beautiful book that contains swatches made by each of the other handmade paper artists. The "recipe" on how each swatch was made is also included. Most of the paper artists that participate in this are more into the natural possibilities of paper. They harvest and cook (often smells pretty bad) various things found in the wild or in a garden like cattails, hostas, corn husks, and more exotic goodies then turn the pulpy concoctions into wonderous paper.

If you're a regular reader of mine you'll have guessed that I'm not really into that.  Or, said differently, it is doubtful that I would gather plant materials and cook them (cooking dinner is more than enough of a chore).  But, I definitely appreciate the effort and beauty that the process brings to life. And, I know that it is more than possible that the other paper artists might look at my brightly colored swatches and think to themselves "well, I'm not really into that" but I hope they will appreciate the effort and beauty too.  Papermaking presents endless possibilities and this book is just one indication of that.

The four Canadian hostesses, calling themselves The Paper Dreamers, put in an incredible number of hours to get this labor of love put together and mailed to papermakers in seven different countries. And each papermaker put in lots of hours to get their swatches made. It would be completely impossible to count the time involved. Think of this: more than one papermaker wrote something like "let plant material ret for 2 years", or "soaked for 2 months under weights" or "beat in Hollander for 18 hours" or "paper was stacked and dried in a dry box for 24 hours". This is craziness! This is devotion! This is wonderful!



Kathy L said...

or This is a treasure. I am with you, I don't ever see myself getting into it like that but boy can I appreciate the end result. I would give my right arm for some of those homemade sheets!
ANd I love your scraps...

Joanne Huffman said...

What a wonderful book and resource you have from this swap!

martha brown said...

What a beautiful sample book you have now! I used to make paper....and sell it..... almost 20 years ago (that can't possibly be right, I swear that I'm only 28...)

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