Handmade paper grants a particular kind of creative freedom for the artist—by creating your own sheets of paper, you’re able to go beyond the surface of paper as a substrate and create unique works made completely of handmade papers. These unique sheets might serve as the basis for other works on paper, or become art works all on their own.
Once you’ve made a deckle box and mastered the basic technique, you’re ready to embark on a project that incorporates your new equipment. You’re in luck, we have artistic ideas on how to use that trusty deckle box. With a few types of pulp and some inclusion materials, you’re well on your way to creating a new series of work!
If you missed the first two installments of our deckle box series, make sure to check them out (Part 1 & Part 2).
Hand papermaking’s tactile, experimental nature lends itself to applications in a variety of settings. The possibilities are seemingly infinite with potential for sculpture, wet media, book arts, and drawing (just to name a few).
At Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, art therapy students are sharing papermaking with the community through their outreach programs. Click through for the full story!
Pull out your papermaking vat and prep your fiber—it’s time to make some handmade paper sheets using your brand new deckle box! If you’re just tuning in, check out our tutorial on how to make your own deckle box.
The deckle box can be used to make test sheets, adjust sheet weight, or create unique sheets of handmade paper. While these things can also be achieved with a conventional western mould and deckle, the deckle box allows for a certain level of flexibility, since you can modify a small amount of fiber without contaminating an entire vat. Sometimes you’re one sheet away from completing a project and need the final sheet to be just so—a deckle box is a great way to control all of your variables without committing to a total vat set-up.
Hand papermaking conventionally relies on three elements: vat, fiber, screen (click over to the basic handmade paper tutorial if you’re not familiar with the process).
A deckle box combines the vat and screen elements into a single piece of equipment, and holds enough water and pulp for a single sheet—no vat required! This alternative temporarily builds up the walls of your mould and deckle.
Hand papermaking offers a colorful lexicon full of terms like kiss, hog, and slurry (obviously a favorite of ours). One term that often gets an eyebrow raise is couching (pronounced ‘coo-ching’), the term papermakers use to describe transferring a newly formed sheet of paper from the mould to the felts.
Click through to learn the history of this term and how to seal objects between wet sheets of paper!