I came to the book arts through the creation of handmade paper. I use many plant fibres (e.g., cat tail, daylily, yucca, pineapple, ornamental grasses) as well as the traditional papermaking fibres (abaca and kozo) to create archival quality paper. No batch of fibre is ever the same. Where and when it is picked, and how it is processed create subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the finished piece.
After years of practice and experimentation, I have created my own style of pouring sheets. I begin by preparing and colouring separate vats of fibre. The mould and deckle sit over a drainage tub and I carefully and slowly pour the different fibres onto the mould.
It takes much longer to pour a sheet of paper than it does to pull one, but each sheet is a unique work of art. With a fibre like kozo, I can lay down fine layers of translucent fibre to create finished pieces that change dramatically with different lighting. With other fibres, I pour large textured colour blocks to create patterns or subtle images.
It was a small step from papermaking to the other book arts. I was thrilled to discover the many different ways I could use my papers to create functional and provocative work. I also like to combine handmade paper with other organic elements, particularly gemstones.
I have been a member of the Ottawa Valley Chapter of CBBAG since its inception.