Paperwork can be fun!

Adams-Excavation1-Excavation No. 1, 23 x 30 inches, ©2013 Deidre Adams
Handmade paper (cotton, abaca, and daylily fibers), pattern tissue, rayon thread, ink, acrylic paint


I have started another series I’m really excited about. This work started as just some experimentations, and it’s really still at that stage. But I’m having so much fun doing them, and after all, isn’t that a large part of what making art is all about? I’m still sorting out my thoughts regarding what these pieces are about, and I don’t even remember now what gave me the idea to do it other than seeing some things around my studio and challenging myself to figure out new ways to use them. It’s a process of layering lots of disparate kinds of paper, stitching them all together, and then going back with an X-acto knife and peeling back the layers to reveal different areas.

I’m inspired by a lot of things here: My photos of old walls with peeling stuff and layers revealed, old floors, maps. Not only that, but the evolution of things in a news story, the cycle in which day by day the layers are peeled back and more is revealed, showing that there is always more to a thing than meets the eye at first. I always love a process that involves both creation and destruction, building up and tearing down.

Here are some process photos:







And the next two in the series.

Adams-Excavation2-Excavation No. 2, 22 x 31 inches, ©2013 Deidre Adams
Handmade paper (cotton, abaca, and daylily fibers), pattern tissue, rayon thread, ink, acrylic paint
Adams-Excavation3-Excavation No. 3, 20 x 29 inches, ©2013 Deidre Adams
Handmade paper (cotton, abaca, and daylily fibers), pattern tissue, rayon thread, ink, acrylic paint


These works, plus other work from my Eye-Object-Plane series will be on display at the “Create” exhibit at the Lakewood (Colo.) Cultural Center through August 30th. More details will be forthcoming in the next post.

2017-10-15T16:15:12+00:00 June 28th, 2013|Art|5 Comments

Sometimes you just have to change it up a bit

Adams-Eye-Object-Plane-05--2 Eye-Object-Plane No. 5, 11 x 15 inches
Handmade paper (daylily, cotton, and abaca fibers), rayon thread, inkjet transfer, ink wash
©2012 Deidre Adams


Very often, limited posting on the blog is a good sign; it means I’m being productive in the studio and don’t want want to spend lots of time on the computer. Such has been the case the last couple of weeks. I had been feeling a bit stale with painting, not in the mood to do textile pieces, and looking to expand the horizons a tad. So I took a papermaking class at a small local venue here. I didn’t learn very much new after having taken a much more intensive for-credit course  several years ago (more details here and here), but when I found out we were going to have the opportunity for a show of our efforts, I was inspired to start a new series.

I’ve been interested in the idea of making artwork from natural materials available near my home, and one of these that I have in abundance is daylily leaves from my yard. I leave them in their natural state all winter, then bag them up the following spring when the new growth is ready to begin. Last summer, I got some of them out to process. Using plant materials for handmade paper requires cooking and beating to remove the non-fiber bits. Here is just one of many sources for more on the how-to. I wanted to see if our hot sun could be used for this purpose, so all I did was put the leaves into a large black canning pot and add some soda ash, and then I left it out on the deck in mostly full sun all summer.


In the fall, I rinsed it out and did some hand beating with a wooden mallet, and brought it into the laundry room for the winter. By spring it was pretty rank, but after several rinsings and more beating, and it was ready to use.

Paper made from pure daylily leaves isn’t very strong, so for this particular paper, I combined a sheet of daylily with a sheet of abaca by laminating, which simply means pressing the two sheets together right off the screen and while they’re still wet. On some of them, I layered lengths of rayon thread in between the two sheets. Also, since setting up the papermaking studio on the deck is a bit of bother, I pulled some additional sheets from some recycled map & watercolor paper pulp that I had left over from the last time I made paper – hard to believe it’s already been 5 years now!

I very rarely include anything representational in my work, but this paper seemed to me to be needing a line-drawing aesthetic. I don’t enjoy that kind of drawing (possibly because I’m terrible at it), so the question was how to get the look without ruining the paper with my own lame drawings. One of my great thrifting finds some time ago was a book called “Introduction to Engineering Drawing” from the days when it was still done by hand. It has some lovely illustrations which I’ve always wanted to use somehow, and this seemed liked a good opportunity. I scanned lots of these drawings and used the acohol gel transfer process from Digital Alchemy: Printmaking techniques for fine art, photography, and mixed media by Bonnie Lhotka to get them from the computer to my handmade paper. I was especially drawn to the illustrations that included hands or human figures – all male, of course! Then I added some ink washes and hand stitching, and there you go. I love the contrast of the handmade aspect of the paper combined with the machine aspect of these drawings.

2017-10-15T16:15:12+00:00 June 22nd, 2013|Art|4 Comments