Opening Reception: Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit remains through November 2 Burnett Gallery
The Deckle Edge Group will present a free exhibit at Gualala Arts Center from the opening October 11 through November 2, 2008. Lori Goodman, Beverly Harrington, Susan Hersey, Jim Meilander, Linda Ortiz, Joan Rhine and Andrea Tucker-Hody are each artists working in paper and/or hand papermakers.
The Deckle Edge Group was founded fifteen years ago by four artists who were using handmade paper as a fine art medium. It was not a medium that was part of the mainstream, but they saw it as a way to expand their artistic expression. They decided it would be interesting and beneficial to meet and share information while visiting each other's studios. Since that time, when Andrea Tucker-Hody initiated the idea, and she,
Joan Rhine and
Jim Meilander gathered at Susan Hersey's studio, the group has expanded and currently includes seven artists.
It continues to evolve as members focus on other artistic endeavors and new people join. The group shows their work together from time to time. Each artist has a unique way of using the medium, offering a wide diversity of artistic possibilities.
Our seven members are professional artists who come from diverse locations in Northern California. Lori Goodman lives in Eureka, Bev Harrington in Danville, Susan Hersey in Petaluma, Linda Ortiz in
Santa Rosa, and Andrea Tucker-Hody in San Anselmo. Jim Meilander and Joan Rhine moved to Gualala from San Francisco in January, 2000.
This main ingredient in papermaking, the cellulose fiber which binds
together to form the paper, is available to hand papermakers in a number of
different forms. Any natural fiber cloth, such as cotton, linen, or ramie,
is suitable for making paper from. A large variety of raw fibers can be
used for papermaking. These fall into three categories: bast or inner bark
fibers (such as kozo, the bark of the mulberry tree and flax), leaf fibers
(such as abaca and sisal), and grass fibers (such as bamboo and rice straw).
Preparing the Pulp
Most raw fibers require some treatment before they are ready to be used for
making paper. In addition to various visual and tactile properties, your
selection of fiber for papermaking will depend on the kind of equipment you
have and the effort you wish to put into preparing the pulp. Traditional
methods for breaking down cloth, plant fiber, or paper to be recycled
include soaking, fermenting, adding chemicals and beating, using either a
stamper, a Hollander beater, or by hand. By treating the plant materials,
individual fibers can be separated and suspended in water. Cooking material,
especially raw fiber, before beating also helps accelerate the process of
After the fibers are beaten into pulp, formation aid and other additives are
mixed in. Sheets and sculptural forms are formed by different methods with
very diverse results. Most flat sheets are formed with a mould and deckle.
Other methods of pulp application include pouring, spraying or painting.
Pulp can be laminated, embedded, stenciled, embossed or collaged. Texture
can be applied during formation and as part of the drying process.
While some papermakers prefer the unaffected shades of natural fibers, other
hand papermakers consider it an important element in the work. Colored paper
can be made from colored rags, but most hand papermakers use dyes or
pigments to change the color of a pulp. In general, colorants are mixed in
with the pulp before it is added to the vat. Most pigments require an
additive called a retention aid or agent to help them adhere to the fiber.
After forming the sheets of pulp, removing the water from and drying the
sheets are the next important steps in the process. This is done in a
variety of ways. In many papermaking traditions, the papermaker places a
stack or "post" of newly-formed sheets under pressure, which both
strengthens the paper by increasing fiber bonding and accelerates the drying
process by squeezing out large amounts of water. Presses range from boards
with heavy weights (easily reproduced in a simple studio setting), to
elaborate, large screw presses, to modern hydraulic presses. Most
papermakers do not fully dry sheets of paper in a press, however, as air
circulation and other considerations make alternative methods more
Sheets of paper formed Nepalese-style, in which sheets are formed in a
floating, cloth-covered mold, are dried in that same mold (and not pressed
at all). In this tradition, the papermaker needs many molds, as each mold is
in use as long as a piece of paper is drying on it. Usually sunlight and air
alone dry this type of paper.
Asian papermakers sometimes dry their sheets by simply laying them on the
ground. They use this method for papers which will become for wrapping,
stuffing, floor coverings, or other utilitarian products which do not
require a smooth, even surface.
Especially for paper made from fibers which exhibit high shrinkage, such as
linen, papermakers should dry their sheets under pressure if they want to
keep them flat. Otherwise, distortion, cockling, and other irregularities
will appear in the dried sheets. Sometimes this is desirable and done on
Most people think of paper as a writing or drawing surface, and certainly
many beautiful handmade papers are crafted for this purpose. Today paper
takes its rightful place among the other traditional fine art mediums and is
a new alternative in wall art, installation art or site specific sculpture
and other large-scale works.
The Deckle Edge Group
Burnett Gallery October 2008
The Deckle Edge Group
The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Gualala Road in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email
Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.