Pyramid Atlantic and a papermaking workshop
August 13, 2011
Silver Springs, MD
On Saturday, August 13 a group of Chesapeake Chapter members gathered at Pyramid Atlantic arts center for a papermaking workshop with Gretchen Schermerhorn. Gretchen is a printmaker and paper artist.
There were also two nice exhibitions on view in Pyramid Atlantic's exhibition space which are on until August 28 2011. The 14th Annual National Small Works exhibition contains 30 prints from artists across the nation, all under 170 square inches (approx 13x13), utilizing a variet of printmaking techniques. Running concurrently is the solo exhibition by Pyramid Atlantic's 2010 winner, Kiyomi Baird, who produces wonderfully textural monoprints.
Our group gathered to look at some handmade paper samples. Left to right: Mike Denker (who was responsible for setting up and organizing the workshop with Pyramid Atlantic), Matilde Farren, George Barnum, Jackie Coleburn, Jill Cypher, Gretchen, Bill Roberts, and Ray Nichols behind the camera.
The mission of Pyramid Atalantic is to build communities that give life to printmaking, papermaking, and the book arts with a focus on promoting excellence in printmaking, papermaking, and the book arts with access for all.
They believe that prints, handmade paper, and artist books are a source of inspiration; that experimentation leads to discovery; that collaboration leads to accessibility; that creativity is the cornerstone of the learning process.
Pyramid Atlantic carries out its mission through our three core programs areas: Artist-in-Residence Programs, Education Programs, and Exhibitions and Event Programs. These programs connect community to the arts via activities designed to spark a dialogue between professional artists and the public.
The Hollander Beater which is used to beat the pulp to a pulp.
But first, we were taken outside and shown how to do this first hand on some Kozo which comes from the inner bark of shoots of the Kozo (Paper Mulberry) plant. Prior to beating the Kozo has been cooked in soda ash. It was my first time making paper from scratch and it was surpriing how quickly the stuff that felt like slimy lisagna noodles to start became completely formless.
A closeup of Bill Roberts' technique.
These were some large sheets that were being made at Pyramid Atlantic and had been couched off onto sheets of plywood to dry.
Getting the slurry up to the right consistency.
Dipping in and pulling out the mould, which is then allowed to drain, to leave a thin layer of pulp.
The deckle (frame which had been on top) is removed, the mould is turned over and the very wet fibers are pressed against a sheet of felt. It is worked a bit to help get the separation to start and with a quick lift you have essentially a sheet of very wet (actually way wetter than that) paper.
Jackie draining the water from some chuncky orange pulp. You cn see two sheets that had been couched beside her.
George just starting to dip the mould.
Jill just starting to couch a sheet using the --- that we had beat in one of the photos above. You can see the sheet that George had just couched.
If you have too much water for the pulp, you can just dip a mould and drain off the water on the floor (they had floor drains to help get the water out).
After we finished making our paper, we took them and stacked them in a paper press. Matilda is cranking the 20-ton jack which will compress the stack and force a lot of the wettness out of the almost paper sheets.
Jill is transferring one of her sheets to a dry piece of felt which will be stacked and put into a dryer for about 48 hours.
This is a panarama shot of some of our group who gathered for lunch afterwards. Left to right: Jill Cypher, George Barnum, Mike Denker, Bill Roberts, and Ray Nichols.
This workshop event was set up by our Program Committee and Mike Denker.
Photography and text by Ray Nichols.