Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Paste Papers

Look what I've been up to! 

I was busy making paste papers that will end up as covers for future hand bound books.

Instead of making my own paste from flour I decided to take the easy way out and use wallpaper paste instead. 

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pretty paste paper sheets hanging in a row

The results are pretty much the same and the consistency of the paste is also pretty much the same as flour paste, only this is the quick and easy method and saved me cooking over a hot stove - so to speak:-)

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blues, purples, greens...

The paper I used was just ordinary A3 copier paper. Though next time I would use a slightly heavier paper as I found this too thin and some of the papers tore.

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oranges and reds...

You wouldn't believe it, but a pigeon actually pooped on one of my papers - cheek of it!   The little blighter could've just told me he didn't like the colour instead of  showing such literal distaste for it!

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greens, blues, lilacs...

I just mixed up the paste according to the manufacturers instructions in a margarine tub and then divided the mixture into separate boxes and added acrylic colours into each box.  I had an assortment of  tools to leave impressions into the paste - you'd be amazed at how many ordinary household objects can be used to leave impressions.  Fingers are the best for making impressions though and much more fun!

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greens and blues

Making paste papers, though thoroughly enjoyable, is extremely messy, so I made sure my work surface was covered in newspaper and had extra sheets to constantly change as they became  tacky and started sticking to the paste papers. 

Mixing the paints into one another on the paper and folding the paper onto itself and then dotting all over the reverse with my fingers resulted in a very pleasing pattern.

The patterns and colours that can be created are endless and before I knew it I'd ended up with a huge stack of patterned sheets that I know I'll be able to use in my art.

It's really important to allow the paste papers to dry thoroughly before using them, otherwise all that hard work and time put into creating them will go to waste if they've all stuck to one another and torn.

I liked the idea of my colourful sheets flapping in the breeze.


Whilst drying, the papers will naturally curl around the edges and crinkle slightly but once dry they can be ironed  between sheets of baking parchment with an iron set on dry not steam. This will flatten and smooth them and then they can be put under a pile of heavy books for further flattening if necessary.

So, this is what my stash of paste papers looked like after they'd been dried and ironed flat.  I'm so pleased with them all. 

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a colourful assortment of paste papers....

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...with a variety of patterns...

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...and stamped impressions.

Here's what I made with my last batch of paste papers

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coptic bound books

05.11.08-Austrian bound books (3) 

Austrian bound books

Stay tuned for what I'll make with my new batch of papers! :-)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


The last time we visited Long Melford, a few years back, we just drove through it really on the way to some place else - so we didn't get a chance to actually visit. This time, however, we did and though we got there late on Saturday afternoon, when all the antique shops had closed we did get to browse in and out of some quaint gift shops and stop for tea at a lovely little tea room.

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Long Melford is one l-o-n-g stretch of road...

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filled with old pubs and inns...

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The Bull - built in 1450 and has been an inn since 1570

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                        The Crown Inn

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Beautiful old buildings - Gappmaiers Restaurant

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Antique shops - Noel Mercer Antiques

Long Melford, a former wool town in the Middle Ages, is a lovely village in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.  It's claim to fame lies in being the Antiques Capital of Suffolk and it's wide, tree-lined street has a wealth of interesting gift and antique shops, some of which were featured in the 80's British TV series "Lovejoy".

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old timber framed window

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pretty shop windows displaying their wares

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shop window displaying Golly's tea party

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Fabulous gift shop - was like an Aladdin's Cave full of wonderful treasures to buy.

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pretty, dainty, beautiful things

I loved walking along the street looking at all the old buildings and wondering about their history.   There is a delight to see in every direction, from the rickety old buildings surrounded by timber framed windows and the oak beamed fronts to the charming doors and house name plaques on the walls. Some even had dates on them which was good to see.

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house names...

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and year plaques

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these buildings were built in 1868 according to the plaque

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terraced buildings painted in delicate pastel tones

Long Melford is also fortunate to have two stately homes: Melford Hall and Kentwell Hall (which often hosts Tudor weekends).  Suffolk wool towns such as Lavenham are nearby.