Paper making workshop at Meg Black Studios, May 23, 2016

Papermaking workshop in my studio, we had a blast and made a lot of paper.  Cant wait to see what these talented students do with their new paper.






Working with pulp. Couching the colored sheet onto the woolen felts.




Pulling pulp from the trough.  Colored pulps in the foreground.







Teaching the basics.  Garbage bags make perfect aprons for this very wet process.







Pressing the paper in my custom paper press, compliments to my husband and his friend the expert welder.

2010 Spring Sculptures

New wall relief sculptures for Spring 2010.

How to make handmade paper paintings-applying abaca

Overbeaten abaca refers to a fiber harvested from the inner bark of the banana tree, that has been beaten for approximately 20 hours.  Abaca is a gorgeous fiber, ivory in color, that will not disintegrate when wet, which is why abaca is used to make tea bags.  I strain some of the water from the abaca (the abaca is beaten in a hollander beater, which uses approximately 20 gallons of water per beating), and mix it with pure pigment, which will not fade.  I apply the abaca to the surface of the painting, shown in the pevious blog, with spoons and an old turkey baster.

Latest Creations from my studio

My latest work is a wall relief based on the symmetry of Ancient Greek art. The Ancient Greeks created intriguing compositions by balancing and counterbalancing shapes, colors and figures throughout their pottery. These designs told a story, and the viewer was welcome to “read” it according to their ability to interpret Greek mythology. This four panel work balancing color and shape on either end with the middle panels both playing off the end panels and acting as a resting area for the eye. In this way, the concept of Ancient Greek art is being imitated, even though the subject is considered “abstract” or “color field.”

Other News

I am excited to attend my upcoming gallery opening at Cove Gallery (  The opening is Saturday, August 15 from 6:00-8:00 pm.  I will be showing new works including seascapes and floral paintings such as the Hydrangeas painting shown above.  Hope to see new and returning clients at the opening!  Meg

Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and Applications. The finished painting.

After the painting is completely dry, it can be tacked to a wall for closer viewing and inspection.  The painting can be worked on even in this stage.  I mark the areas with a colored grease pencil in which I want to make changes and then replace the painting back onto the flat work surface seen in previous blogs.  I add additional PVC glue to the pulp that I will now apply in order for it to adhere to the already dried pulp.

Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and Applications. A work in progress.

Let’s pause and view the in-progress painting for a moment.  The purple toned background is created largely with over-beaten abaca and treated with a mixture of water and paper sizing to prevent the surface from absorbing stained water that might leak from the addition of any new colored pulp that is applied.  In the case of this painting, that would refer to the green toned pulps in the foreground, which are a combination of cotton and abaca, beaten for 20 to 30 minutes in a hollander beater.  The sky area is created with the same cotton/abaca mix, and pigmented in blue tones.  At this stage, the painting will be allowed to dry under weights for several days, at which point another review of its completeness will be determined. 

Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and Applications. Squirting the oops away.

Another way to remove colored water before it stains the surface of the painting is to squirt it back into the desired location with water from a squirt bottle.  Notice that the pulp I am using is green for the foreground of the painting (the green will eventually represent trees).  To accentuate the rough outline that trees would naturally make, I leave the edges of the green pulp jagged, in order to mimic the trees in nature.

Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and Applications. Controlling the oops factor.

Despite my best efforts, the pulp doesn’t always land where I want it to; it spills out from the designated area. as illustrated in the above photo.  If left untreated, the surface of the painting will absorb the colored water, thus creating a permanent stain.  To avoid the stain (I’ll never be able to avoid the recalcitrant pulp spills!), I treat the surface of the in-progress painting with a mixture of water and liquid paper sizing.  I fill a squirt bottle about 3/4 full of water, and then add a 1/4 cup of liquid sizing.  I spray the surface of the painting with this mixture and allow it to dry thoroughly.  This procedure protects the surface from absorbing the colored water as the sizing creates a tension between the water and the surface.  I simply take a rag and apply it to the colored water, and soak it up into the rag.

Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and Applications. Using the turkey baster part two.

A closer look at the painting after the turkey baster has been used to apply pulp to designated areas.  See Monday July 20 blog for photo of application of pulp.