I begin by welding an armature of fine steel, then I paint the armature process1to prevent rust.  Over each armature I weave fiber to form a substrate for the paper pulp to cling to.    I apply paper pulp to the form with a pneumatic sprayer in 4 - 20 thin layers, allowing each to drain before applying the next.  Sometimes I place organic elements between layers. As paper dries, strong molecular bonds are formed between the fibers, creating enough tension to bend steel. The resulting effect is very translucent.   Without the resistance provided by the armature, the paper would be opaque.   Sometimes I apply pieces of sheet-formed (but still wet) paper over the dried paper, such as on the outside of “Furlingame”, where flax paper covers cotton.  When I want color on a finished piece, process2I usually brush pure dry pigments directly onto the dry paper.

The entire process takes over two months, sometimes much more.  I developed this process while in graduate school at the University of Iowa.  My process is described in more detail in Vol. 13, No. 2 of Hand Papermaking, and in Helen Heibert’s book The Papermaker’s Companion (©2000).

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