Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: The Art of Papermaking with Plants by Marie-Jeanne Lorente

And yet another book I have read this summer:

3 out of 5 Stars

The way this book is set up is that there is a chapter in the front of the book discussing supplies and materials needed to create handmade paper. Then it gives instructions on how to make handmade paper. The instructions are basic and easy to follow (of course I think paper making is one of those things that is easier said than done). After the brief introduction on how to make paper, the rest of the book, except for a concluding chapter, has recipes for how to make different types of paper. The concluding chapter features a gallery of working paper-artists and shows the diversity of what contemporary artists are creating with handmade paper. Each artists also has an artist statement and bio.

The recipes in this book are broken up into 4 sections: grasses, trees, edible plants, and non-plant papers. Examples of some of the plants found in this book are: bamboo, wheat, chestnut, elm, artichoke, mushroom, zucchini, and tomatoes. The plants under the edible plants chapter seem to be the easiest to access. Some of the plants aren't even indigenous to America (the book was originally written in French and the author is from France). There are 52 plant recipes.

Recipes include: location for where the plant can be found, when is best to harvest the plant, how to prepare it, how long to cook it for, how much bleach to use, how long to rinse it, the results of the paper (texture, look, etc), and what it can be used for. Some of the paper is so fragile that it can't really be used for anything; it is just to look at.

The thing I did not like about this book was the authors writing style. It was cheesy and random. In the first chapter of the book she gives an introduction about paper-making and the invention of making paper. I found it scattered and uninformative. But when it comes to paper-making she seems to know what she is talking about.

I was interested in this book because I'd like to try printing historic processes on handmade paper. I love the unique look and texture handmade papers offer. Plus, I love using my hands to create. I am not sure how well the emulsion will stick to the paper, but i definitely think it is worth trying. I also want to use handmade papers for image transfers and art books.

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