Friday, February 9, 2018


I learned to make a post last weekend. A post? The word post has several meanings. You can post something as a notice to others, you can use wood, metal or other sturdy material to make a support structure, or, in traditional Western papermaking, you can make a stack of freshly-made sheets ready to dry under a press. That stack is called a post.  Check out the website Paperslurry for a much more in-depth understanding of the process.

Most of us don't think about the paper that's around us: tablets, pads, pages from a book, and scraps for notes. We write on paper, draw or paint on it, read from it, eventually recycle it. With the digital age, do we use less? I don't think so, though new generations may turn away from paper more and more. For now, the tactile quality of paper attracts us still. The crackle of gift wrap, the rustle of a book's pages, the response of the paper to a drawn or painted line--all create a link for us to paper. Paper even has a memory. what happened the last time you set a wet cup on a piece of paper? The paper wrinkles up and once dry, won't smooth out unless you iron it. The paper 'remembers' its wet position.

I took the Tin Can Papermaking class by Julia Goodman at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Making paper in a tin can is a simple process:

We used two tin cans, a blender to pulverize the scraps of paper and cloth, and two screens to make small circular sheets. Paper, unlike cloth, is not woven together. Instead, in the agitation process, the fibers reach out to each other and form a bond that makes paper very strong. (If agitated too much, the opposite will happen and the paper will fall apart.) The end results from the class became rough surfaced circles, more appropriate for art-making than writing. To make the paper better for lettering, the paper needed to be pressed smooth and coated with sizing. 

I worked all day, blending scraps, pouring the pulp into a tin can through two different screens, agitating the pulp, pressing out the water, and letting the pieces dry. At the end of the day, I had a small post of still wet papers to take home with me. It took three more days for the pieces to thoroughly dry.

This sheet was made from denim scraps

Check out Julia Goodman's website for some amazing art pieces made from paper:

Go to Pamela Paulsrud's site to see a wonderful way to acknowledge our relationship to trees by using paper circles to write about experiences with trees:


Still trying to find an easy project for Valentine's Day?  Here are directions for a simple origami heart:

Use lightweight paper or origami paper cut to a square  (I used 6 inch x 6 inch)

Fold the paper diagonally in both directions

Take top point and fold to center

Open out & take opposite point & fold as in photo. Open up and refold with first point inside, then second.

Fold left point along center line

In origami, there is always one fold that is crucial. Make sure the inner folds match

Turn over and fold points down

Fold side corners to inside. Turn over.

You have a heart.

I folded part of a doily in a fan shape and stuck inside the heart.
Then I sealed the opening with a sticker from Mrs. Grossman's collection.
Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. love the heart pocket! I learned to look at paper as a smalll child. My dad ran printing presses for a company in San Jose that specialized in making can labels for the canneries and fruit packers in the area. He loved to look at paper, and taught me about the difference between label papers. He'd save scaps of paper after the labels were cut from the sheets using a die-cutter, then trim them up and bind with glue to make pads. We never had to buy tablets or art paper--Dad brought it home from work! At Christmas he'd bring home a few sheets of silver or gold foil paper that some of the labels got printed on. It looked great wrapped around presents, made us feel special giving gifts in such fancy paper.

    1. teejay, that is a great story--what we learn by our parent's side. And you never know what will stick in memory. I remember going on a field trip to a newspaper and being completely mesmerized by the way the paper was printed and then cut and folded, ready for the distributors. My dad was an artist so we always had scraps of his drawing papers to draw on. Good memories.

  2. I loved your class description, sounds like a very intriguing and fun day. You’re so lucky you get to immerse yourself in your passion.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Classes are not only fun, but a good way to meet more interesting people.

  3. What a labor of love! Your thoughts on the paper we often take for granted reminded me of Emily Dickinson's "envelope poems," tiny bits of verse she wrote on recycled envelopes and other scraps. As a visual artist and writer you would love them. Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Thank you again, Teresa, for your kind words! Your comment about Emily Dickinson reminds me of the movie trailer for Phantom Thread where the designer stuck bits and pieces in the hems of the dresses he designed. I like that idea of attaching something of yourself to your work.


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