Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring 2012 : Papermaking

This term I took Western Papermaking, History and Technique with Timothy Barrett. It was absolutely wonderful and a lot of fun. We learned a lot about the use of the beater, different fibers, sheet formation, couching and drying. 

Starting on making a watermark for a project that I am working on.Its a book! and its going to flip a page! More on this, later

Soldering the different pieces together (6 in all) was challenging and took longer than expected.
I later discovered that the wire is coated and so it was much harder than it ought to have been!

As part of a side project I decided to use up some Pina fiber that I had acquired during my trip to the Philippines. The goal was to figure out the best possible sheet formation method for this particular fiber. What sounded simple took nearly half a semester of preparations and experimentation and eventually turned into a final project.

Soaking the Pineapple or Pina fiber before cooking

Cooking the fiber in caustic soda

After the fiber has been cooked, it is rinsed in a large bucket of water.
A stick is used to twirl the fiber in the water and lift it out clump by clump

 Beating by hand for 15 minutes

Separating the fiber into shreds before putting it into the Naginata beater

The blades of the Naginata beater tease the fibers apart

I experimented with Nagashizuki or Japanese style sheet formation as well as western sheetforming methods. To make western style sheets, experiments were first conducted to determine the proportions of PNS formation aid, pulp and water

The slurry was then mixed well and poured into the mould to make a test sheet

A deckle box was used to make these sheets. A small vat was filled with water and the box immersed halfway into it.
 The slurry was then poured in

The formation aid caused the fiber to float like a cloud in the water

This was then agitated and equally dispersed...

...and left to drain

The sheet ready to be couched

3 sheets couched onto a felt. These initial sheets helped determine the correct
quantities of water, formation aid and pulp

The Hydraulic Press

Translating the findings into proportions suitable for making larger western style sheets was tricky.
Initially I used a laid mould which proved to be difficult. The sheets were troublesome to couch

Among many other problems that were faced through this process small successes made it worthwhile. The couching issue was resolved by using a wove mould and applying water to the back of the mould in order to release the sheet during couching. The finished sheets were restraint dried as well as air dried, sized and burnished. The initial lustre was lost in the finished sheet but was brought back to some extent because of the sizing and burnishing

No comments:

Post a Comment