East meets Wests through Paper

It’s a bit of a cliché to describe learning as a journey, but in this unique papermaking class, it’s true. Two specialist tutors, Mandy Brannan and Lucy Baxandall, will to take you across the world from east to west, and through time, following the history of this ancient skill from its earliest origins in China. If you think the Ancient Egyptians invented papermaking, and that rice paper is made of rice, this course will hold some surprises.

Mandy specialises in using traditionally east Asian fibres native to the countries where they are used. The best-known – kozo – is the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, and is traditionally used to make Japanese washi and Korean hanji papers.  Kozo forms sheets that are both delicate and strong (it is often used to make repair tissue for paper conservation). Mandy uses pigments and manipulates the long fibres to transform it into a material for colourful artworks and sheets that can then be used for collage, printmaking and book arts.

Lucy will provide a historical timeline and introduce techniques that developed as papermaking spread west across the Middle East towards Europe and North America, using the qualities of the fibres native to those regions. Students will learn embossing and also watermarking, which was developed to prevent forgeries of banknotes and stamps, and has grown into an art form in its own right. We will also learn to process traditionally western fibres (cotton and cornhusk), and pigment the cotton for pulp painting, which uses finely beaten coloured pulps as a medium for stenciling and freehand work. We’ll also explore a decorative method traditional to Northern Europe –  paste papers – which can be found in many antique bookbindings.

By the end of this 10-week papermaking adventure, you’ll have a sample book of your own creations and lots of sheets to use for your own projects.

Discover the history and skills involved in making paper from across the world.


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