Handmade Paper

My introduction to the book arts began when I started making paper in the mid-1990s. There was no one locally who could give me instruction in the field, so I learned from books. The one I found most useful for practical help was Helen Hiebert’s Papermaking with Plants. The book has since been re-titled, and is still available here. I also found help and inspiration in The Art of Papermaking by Bernard Toale.


Cattail/Carnation Petal/Clematis Leaf



I used pulped recycled paper as a base and experimented with various plant fibres and other inclusions.



This is a serious pain in the ass and I am p     Peacock Feather

My husband built me a mould with a deckle box. This permitted me to work with small amounts of pulp. I could simply pour a measured amount of pulp into the deckle box while it sat in a shallow vat of water and then form a sheet. It isn’t a process designed for speed, but it allowed me to play with a wide range of plant fibres.

          Cattail/Calendula Petal                                           Cotton Cord

          Asparagus/Delphinium Petal                                 Garlic Skins

          Onion Skin/Calendula                                             Cymbidium Flower and Leaves

I rarely use handmade paper in editioned books as production is relatively time consuming, but Four Seasons in a Dry Year is an exception. I produced an edition of fifty copies, half of which went to the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild exhibition and project A Book Arts Mosaic.

I produced 5 different papers for the edition. They were used in the small landscapes and for the 2-part sleeves.

This seems to be the week for talking about papermaking: Rhonda at myhandboundbooks has a post about this year’s classes at The Paper & Book Intensive with pictures showing more varieties of handmade paper.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
Image | This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Handmade Paper

  1. Hilke says:

    oh, some really nice papers with interesting visual texture. I especially like the Cymbidium Flower and Leaves paper – on first sight I thought you included a fly. And that makes me think: Have you ever considered including insect material? I have never heart about it, but it should age about the same as plant inclusions, no?


    • Byopia Press says:

      Glad you liked the papers. Yes, when we have huge infestations of Box Elder Beetles (lovely red and black wing cases) I have considered collecting the dead ones for paper. I never have actually done it though!


      • Hilke says:

        mhm, sounds interesting. I wish you had tried it. I tried to google it, but couldn’t come up with a result before I lost my patience. Looks like it would be a rather novel idea to try.


    • Byopia Press says:

      If you were looking for the beetles, there’s a picture with this article:
      The paper fibre would have to be partly over the wings or they would just fall out, since there would be no real bond between wings and pulp.


      • Hilke says:

        The link seems to be missing, I don’t know which article you mean.
        Mhm, I have no experience at all with making paper. would it be hard to embed the beetles in such a way? Wouldn’t the wings easily break off anyway, so what good would it do it attach them by their wings? I saw paper with glitter inside before, and I suppose this glitter wouldn’t form any bond and still it holds on. Maybe because it was smaller? Crushing beetles might be an idea. Isn’t scarlet colour or some other red tone traditionally gained from crushed beetles?
        The next question would be whether the paper is well enough to take a lino print. Maybe a lino print of a beetle. 😉

        P.S.: By the way, I continue to encounter problems posting comments. Often I am told “sorry this comment could not be posted” and I have to try again, sometimes several times.


      • Byopia Press says:

        Sorry about the missing link, shall I try again?


        Scarlet colour can come from the cochineal beetle. The Box Elder Beetle doesn’t produce a colour (I have tried with some already deceased ones!), but the same principle as the paper with glitter should work. A little paper fibre over an inclusion (glitter, beetle wing) should hold it in place.

        I have no idea why you are having to try multiple times to comment! Perhaps you are getting a ‘Comment awaiting moderation’ notice? I have set the filter on the comments so that I have to approve each comment as it arrives. Sometimes I don’t do that until the next day. (Contrary to local belief, I do not spend all my time on the computer!)

        Could that be it? If not, I will try to figure out what part of the program is rejecting your comments! (This could take a while: I am very new at all of this!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s