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Applied Arts: Decorative Papers September 13, 2010

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts.

Decorative Papers Workshop

We hosted an Applied Arts workshop this past weekend on Decorative Papers with artist Abbie Read. At the workshop we focused on paste papers.  Paste papers involve a mixture of wheat paste, methyl cellulose, and acrylic paints. In the mixture, the methyl cellulose is the adhesive, while the wheat paste gives it the body, and the acrylic provides the color.

Decorative Papers Workshop

To create the methyl cellulose, you follow the directions to mix it on the jar.  Then the methyl cellulose sits and attains a soupy consistency. For the wheat paste, Abbie recommended using cake flour for the wheat paste.  The wheat paste created by cooking 1 cup of flour to 4.5 cups of flour; this process brings out the gluten, which it changes to it into a jelly-like substance.

After the paste paint is mixed together, the process involves painting on paper in thin layers to create a design. This allows for many directions you can go in when you apply the paste to the paper.  It’s the layering of the paste paint- a mark on a mark, a color on color, that will give richness and uniqueness to the papers.

Decorative Papers Workshop

First the entire sheet of paper is dunked into water to thoroughly soak the paper. The wet sheet of paper is laid on the table and then wiped with a sponge to create consistency in the paper. Then the paste paint is applied to the entire surface of the wet paper with a foam brush, covering the whole sheet with color.

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Next,  tools like combs, corks, old credit cards that have been cut into patterns are used to work directly into the sheets to create a range of patterns and textures. Stencils, wax paper, and aluminum foil can also be pressed into the surface with a roller to create more textures. Other items like dried pressed leaves, and carved foam blocks can create unique surfaces. You can view all of the images from this workshop on the Jewett Art Gallery’s Flickr page.

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop


1. James Day - September 16, 2010

Loved viewing your artworks and the techniques on how you made it turn out like you did. I don’t think I would have thought of doing the swirls like that, but it sooo makes sense. Pretty darn smart!!

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