So Much Surface Design!

Decorative Papers is one of my favorite workshops to teach. It's engaging, fun, and participants come away with so many beautiful papers to use in their various books, collages, and other projects. This session, we did paste papers, sekkazome (orizomegami), and suminagashi marbling.

Paste papers are an accessible technique to apply a wide variety of designs to papers. You simply wet a piece of paper, then apply a starch paste (with added pigment) to the paper surface. From there you work reductively using various tools, objects, or your fingers to create your design.

Artisans have created paste papers for use in bookbinding for over 400 years. It's easy to get into the groove and start experimenting with layering color and trying different tools and objects to create patterns and designs.

One of the reasons I particularly enjoy teaching this paste papers is watching the different tools and techniques students try. I ask participants to bring objects to experiment with and one of my students in this workshop brought popcorn kernels! The kernels ended up making lovely little dots in the pattern. 


We also experimented with suminagashi marbling and sekkazome to make even more decorative papers. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in the workshop that I forgot to take photos of all of the beautiful papers we made using these Japanese techniques! But here we are applying dye to folded paper for the sekkazome papers.

Everyone left with great big stacks of beautiful and varied papers for their projects. I hope everyone sends me photos of how they ended up using their papers. I love seeing the papers out in the wild!