Make Paper – Forming the Sheets

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,645
    Craft expert Gretchen Schermerhorn demonstrates how to make paper and how to form the sheets of handmade paper.

    Gretchen Schermerhorn: Hi, I am Gretchen and we are here at Pyramid Atlantic today and we are making paper by hand. Now we have just finished loading our pulp into the vat, but I am going to talk about an alternative if you don't have a beater and that is as mentioned before, the half-stuffs and you will want to soak this overnight and you can just put it into a blender and really get it nice and soft and pulpy and then you would just actually in the same proportions pour it into the vat and then you will be ready to go. So the next thing that you will want to do is set up your station, get everything ready. So I want to make sure that my felts are damp so I want to spray them with water or you can use your hose, I just want to get them really nice and damp. After that, you will want to take one of your pellons that have been also sitting in a vat of water and place it on top. Try not to squeeze them up and get out the water because it will actually make wrinkles that will make an impression in your paper. So I am ready here. Now I am going to take my mold and my deckle that is really important for paper making. This is called your mold and this is called your deckle and they fit together just like this and it is the screen, it is the framework for dipping or pulling your sheet of paper into your slurry. So I am going to bring it down into my pulp, pull it up just like this out of the pulp and then do what's called the shake and I am going to shake from left to right and front and back and that actually disperses the fibers evenly on the screen and it makes a nice, strong sheet of paper, really provides a lot of bonding and again, it makes your paper solid, well-formed and very strong. So before I do that, I have noticed it settled to the bottom which is pretty typical. So I am just going to agitate it a little bit. Now once again, take my mold and my deckle, make sure they are all locked in and I am going to bring it down into the pulp, pull it up and then shake it, left to right and front and back. You will see that a certain of drainage is occurring. Now I am going to patiently wait because the next part - if I take off the deckle too soon, then my paper will just slide off. I am going to set it on the side, take off my deckle. Now I am going to turn it just like this and let even more water drain off. Again, if I did that part too soon, of I took off the deckle, it will just slide back into the vat. So I want to be patient here. Now next thing I am going to do is I am going to transfer this wet piece of paper onto my pellon and this takes a little finessing so don't get frustrated if you can't get it the first time. It gets easier once your stack or post of papers are built up. So I am going to hold it on its side just like this, kind of perpendicular with my stand and I am going to turn it just like this, I am going to put my weight in to it, sort of rock back and forth then I am going to lift up almost like I was doing sort of a somersault. There is my transferred sheet of paper. Now I can put another one beside it. I am going to go ahead and do that, just like that. These look really nice. Now when you build up a stack of paper and that's called a post and basically you want to try to get the sheets that you make next right on top of the ones that you made before and that's because our next step which will be pressing, you are going to get a much more even pressing if you do this rather than just being all over the place and the pellon is actually quite nice because I can see through it so I can see where I want to transfer my next sheet. Now you want to make sure I am taking pulp out of the vat, right. I am transferring it onto here. So I am taking pulp out. So you want to make sure we talked earlier about that proportion of pulp to water. I want to make sure that I am adding pulp to the vat, I would say about after every four sheets, sometimes more, but in this case, about after every four sheets and notice how this actually was right on top of the one below. So I am going to add some more pulp just underneath here a floor with drains in it is pretty helpful. Then I am going to put another pellon on and I am actually going to do keep doing this until one -- I run out of pulp or two; I just make enough sheets I want. Now you are going to keep making sheets of paper in this fashion until one; you run out of pulp or two; maybe you have enough sheets completed. So we are going to finish up by adding a wool felt on top of your last pieces of paper that you made just like this and then we will get ready to do our next step which is load this whole post, this whole board into our jack.