Calligraphy Books

As many of you know from my post on history books, in which I discuss the historical development of languages (https://candeloblooms.com/2017/09/26/history-books-part-three-history/),  I have always been interested in this subject, especially the way in which we use symbols to codify oral expression with a wide variety of writing systems throughout time and place from ancient pictograms, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing to modern writing systems, based on word writing (Chinese characters), syllable writing (Japanese syllabaries) and alphabetic writing (based on phonemes or sound units). However, it is the practical application and art of writing or calligraphy, which is the subject of this post.

Calligraphy, sometimes known as the art of penmanship, derives from the Greek καλλιγραφία , ‘kalli’ and ‘graphia’, meaning ‘beautiful writing’ and refers to the design and aesthetic execution of lettering with a broad tip pen, brush or other writing tool eg quill or qalam (a reed pen used in Islamic calligraphy).

In fact, it is considered one of the highest art forms in the Islamic world, particularly during the Ottoman Era (1299-1922). Calligraphy was also the visual art form prized above all others in traditional China, especially during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). See: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chcl/hd_chcl.htm and http://www.art-virtue.com/history/tang/tang.htm. I recently bought a lovely Chinese calligraphy set, complete with two brushes, an ink stick, grinding stone, seal and sealing wax, seen in the next two photos.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.28The heyday of calligraphy in the Western world was during the Medieval Period, when scribes in monasteries copied the bible and other sacred texts by hand, producing beautiful illuminated texts like the Celtic Lindisfarne Gospels ((715–720 AD) and the Book of Kells (800 AD).

With the development of the Gutenberg Printing Press in 1454, and its subsequent popularity, the production of illuminated manuscripts declined, but fortunately, the art of calligraphy was revived by William Morris, Sydney Cockerell and William Lethaby  during the Arts and Crafts Period at the end of the nineteenth century, with an English calligrapher, Edward Johnston (1872-1944), being credited as the father of modern calligraphy, along with German calligrapher, Rudolf Koch (1876-1934).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.51I discovered calligraphy in the early 1980s before children came along and I still had unlimited personal time! I did courses with The Pen Shoppe in Brisbane, which has since expanded to include a second shop in Brisbane, as well as shops in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and a huge online store. The shop in the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, also has a Vintage Pen Museum. For more about The Pen Shoppe, see : http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/g/26656/about-us.html. It still offers calligraphy supplies (http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/c/233763/1/calligraphy-.html) and courses (for dates, see: https://www.facebook.com/penmanshipworkshop/ and http://www.themodelshoppe.com.au/files/workshops-oct17-mar18.pdf ). Here are photos of my old practice pad and a very basic sample Christmas card from the 80s!

I loved the meditative aspects and beauty of this slow and aesthetic art form, but unfortunately, with the increasing pace of life and lack of free time and the development of computers with their digitised typefaces and desktop publishing software applications like AdobeInDesign, hand executed calligraphy is very much a specialised pursuit now, but I believe it is still very valid. There are certainly some beautiful sets these days!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.55.43BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.32Given that my last post on my craft library concerned books on papercraft, I thought a good bridging book to this post would be my first book:

The Handcrafted Letter: Get Inspired, Find Your Voice and Create Unique Projects to Keep in Touch by Diane Maurer-Mathison  2001

Given that most modern communication is via email or text, it is often forgotten that ‘snail mail’ was the major form of communication for many years, especially over long distances before the age of the telephone or internet. In fact, it is quite a rarity these days to receive a hand-written letter or card, elevating its receipt to a very special event, so it is even more important to spend time on the selection of papers and cards and the presentation of the message.

In her book, Diane quotes Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who described the arrival of a letter as being’ like the bright beams of the moon on the desolate heath’ (in a letter to his daughter Mary Jefferson on  7 Feb 1799 , sourced from the Domestic Life of Jefferson, as can be seen in: http://archive.org/stream/domesticlifeofth010719mbp/domesticlifeofth010719mbp_djvu.txt), a beautiful description, which is just as apt today for such an increasingly rare event!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.58.28 I totally identify with Diane’s assertion that a handwritten letter is far more personal, special and intimate than an email or typed letter and reflects our personality, as well as being a valuable record for future generations. We really value old family letters from the 1850s, when Ross’s great grandfather John, as well as John’s brother Thomas and cousin Edmund emigrated to Australia from England, and correspondence during the First World War between those family members left at home and the boys who fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front. The last letter from Ross’s 25 year old uncle, Alf, who died at Pozières, France, on or about the 5th August 1916, was particularly poignant! However, I digress…!!BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 16.51.43In her book, Diane covers a variety of topics from simple italic handwriting and letter-writing tips to the materials themselves: Pens and writing implements; decorative stationary and artful envelopes, as well as a number of different decorative techniques including card making; handmade paper; pressed flower paper; puzzle letters; embossing; decorative borders; quilling; spatter painting; leaf printing; collages; stencilling; rubber stamping; Suminagashi marbling; and making paste paper. It’s certainly a very inspiring book with some wonderful ideas for creating beautiful letters!BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.48.17Now to the other sort of ‘letter’ with two interesting books on the development of the alphabet:

Alphabet: The History, Evolution and Design of the Letters We Use Today by Allan Haley 1995

This fascinating book tells the story of the Latin alphabet from the monumental capitals, inscribed on ancient Roman monuments, to the history of our lower case alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks.  In the beginning of the book, there is a System of Classification for Typefaces, based on nine basic groups: Old Style; Transitional; Modern;  Clarendon; Slab Serif; Glyphic; Sans Serif; Scripts; and Graphic, with descriptions of each type and examples of sub-types within each category. There is also a list of Typographic Terminology to enable understanding of the main text of the book.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.24After a discussion of the history of Capital Letters, each letter of the alphabet is described in detail, its evolution, as well as notes on its structure, design and practical presentation. Did you know that: the Capital Letter A is thought to have been derived from the Phoenecian alef, the symbol for the head of an ox, one of their most important working animals and main source of power, and that its width should be three-quarters its height, while our second Capital Letter B evolves from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph signifying shelter, the second most important ingredient for human survival, as well as correlating with the second letter of the Phoenecian alphabet beth, meaning house, as in Bethel (House of God) and Bethlehem (House of Bread).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.19The history of the lower case letters is equally fascinating from the development of three different hands by scribes for graphic communication (Square Capitals; Rustic Capitals and Roman Cursive)  to the rounded Uncial letters found in bible transcriptions and fine calligraphy from the fourth to the ninth century and Half-Uncials, an easier, more condensed and readable style for secular documents.

National Hands developed, specific to each geographical region, the Irish Hand being one of the most beautiful, as seen in the Book of Kells of 800 AD. Charlemagne further reformed writing styles in the late eighth century with the Caroline Miniscules, eliminating cursive forms and all ligatures and adapting easily to Gutenberg’s Movable Type in the mid-fourteenth century.

Again, the origin and formation of each lower case letter is described in detail. I was particularly interested in the ‘r’ and ‘s’, as I have learnt both letters in their two different forms (Cursive and Common Core) in the past and still mix them up within the same text! For younger readers, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EzdAFw2aWc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tdmbYz0O7o.

The design development of Ampersands, Arabic Numerals from 0 to 9 and Punctuation Marks, including periods, commas, colons, semi-colons, quotation marks and exclamation and question marks, are also discussed in this informative source book for typographers and calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.06Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen 2013

This highly entertaining and readable paperback also explores the history of the alphabet in a series of anecdotes covering different alphabet-related topics. Each of the 26 chapters starts with a short story about the evolution of the particular letter, its pronunciation and its use. For example, A is for Alphabet ; C is for Ciphers; D is for Disappeared Letters; J is for Jokes; M is for Music and Memory; N is for Nonsense; P is for Pitman; Q is for Qwerty; and Z is for Zip Codes. I hope these examples whet your appetite to read this very enjoyable book.

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In the back is a series of twenty challenges named The Oulipo Olympics, including Pangrams (a sentence using all letters of the alphabet eg ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’); Isopangrams ( a sentence 26 letters long using all the letters of the alphabet); Palindromes (words spelt the same forwards and backwards eg Mama or a more complex phrase: ‘A man, a plan, a canal – Panama’); Acrostics ( a poem using the alphabet letters as the initial letters of the lines of the poem) ; Word Ladders (transforming one word into another by changing one letter at a time eg Head to Tail: Head, Heal, Teal, Tell, Tall and Tail); and Homoconsonantism (a text with all vowels removed, then replace with other vowels, which still makes sense!)

For a theoretical guide to the alphabet, this is a really fun book! Now for some practical books about calligraphy in order of their publication!

The Art of Calligraphy: A Practical Guide by Marie Angel 1977

Marie Angel (1923-2010) was a British freelance illustrator, miniaturist  and calligrapher, who wrote and illustrated 25 books and was responsible for reviving interest in calligraphy in the 1980s. Some of her beautiful images can be seen on: https://www.pinterest.com.au/patsy01942/calligraphy-by-marie-angel/.

She focused on animals, lettering, and the spiritual, and her work demonstrated the very highest level of attention to detail, exquisite skill and the use of beautiful colours. If ever anyone could inspire you to take up calligraphy, she could! This photo shows some of the tools, with which I started: Pencils, brushes, fountain pens and holders with interchangeable nibs. BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.58This  guide starts with chapters on Tools and Materials (Drawing Boards; Writing Pads; Blotting Paper; Paper and Vellum; Guards; Rulers; Pencils; Metal Nibs; Fountain Pens; Inks; Watercolors; Poster Paints; Gouache; Compasses; Erasers and Pumice Powder) and Working Positions, followed by a discussion of Roman and Formal Italic Alphabets, before honing in on :

Planning a Book of One Section;

Practical Use of Calligraphy (posters; rolls of honour; certificates; greeting cards; invitations; bookplates; monograms; record books; catalogs; and decorative maps and travel journals);

The Layout and Decoration of Manuscript Books; and

The Binding of a Single-Section Manuscript Book.

Her final chapter discusses suggestions for more Advanced Studies: More complicated hands; Making versals (compound letters); cutting quills; and raised gilding, of which she was such a master!

In the back of the book are Appendices of Calligraphic Societies; Workshops and Classes; Suppliers of Calligraphic Materials and a Bibliography.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.18Using Calligraphy: A Workbook of Alphabets, Projects and Techniques by Margaret Shepherd 1979

I loved the presentation and style of this practical workbook, handwritten totally in Italic lettering. The first chapter focuses on the Five Ps: Pens, Pigments, Paper, Proficiency (the fifth one being Practice, implied but not included in the chapter title! It discusses quill pens; felt pens, Mitchell pens and fountain pens with interchangeable metal nibs of different sizes and shapes; inks (India Ink; coloured inks and water-based dyes); vellum; calligraphy papers; goldleaf; liquid paper and erasers; pencils; calligraphy books and societies; and basic calligraphy practices and workmanship.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.01.13The next section of the workbook, New Alphabets From Old,  reviews five basic scripts: Roman, Celtic, Gothic, Italic and Bookhand. It includes short lessons and master-sheets (guideline sheets) to copy for practising and attaining a firm grasp of these scripts, as well as easy experimental exercises for 50 alphabet variations.

The third section of the book explains seven different practical  projects: a Framed Favourite Quote; Artwork for an Announcement (Publicity); Designing a Logo, Letterhead and Cards; Two Designs for a Family Tree; Party Invitations and Seating; Diplomas, Awards and Scrolls; and Making a Large Poster or Standup Sign. 

The final chapter looks at Going into Business as a Calligrapher: Calligraphy Services/ Teaching/ Craft Fairs; Advertising and Promotion; and Pricing and Accounting.

It is a very useful book for both beginners and more experienced calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.27

Painting for Calligraphers by Marie Angel 1984

Another beautiful and inspiring book by Marie Angel, I bought this book in a little old corner bookshop in Rye-on-Winchelsea on my first overseas trip. I adore this book and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in calligraphy. Marie wrote this book after The Art of Calligraphy in response to an increasing number of requests for more detailed information on her method of painting miniatures, so she assumes a basic knowledge of calligraphy and focuses more on the illustration side. It is a truly beautiful book!

The first few chapters concentrate on:

Materials: Drawing Boards; Pencils; Erasers; Knives; Pens; Paint Colours (Tubes; Powders; Cakes and Gouache); Coloured Inks; Brushes; Shell Gold; Vellum; Paper; Stretching vellum and paper; Tracing Paper; Binding Media and Sundry Supplies (Palettes; Rags; Sponges; Tissues; Blotting Paper; Tape; Rulers; Compass; Dividers; Set Squares and T-Squares);

Colour: Colour Theory and Technical Terms (Hue, Tint, Tone and Brilliance; Warm and Cold Colours; Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Colours; Complementary Colours; and Induced, Local and Reflected Colours);

Pigments: Colour Permanence and Colour Testing for Fastness to Light; Selecting and Mixing Watercolours; Gouache Pigments; and Powder Colours.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.00.36The following section focuses on the Design Process: Page Design; Space; Margins; Capitals; Composition; Focal Points; Tones; Broadsheets and Broadsides; and Composition Methods, as well as Illustration Techniques: Drawing; Preparation; Watercolours; Line-and-Wash Drawings; Using Gouache, Dry Ground Pigments, Acrylics and Shell Gold; Decorated Initial Letters; and Painting Heraldry.

Throughout the text are beautiful examples of calligraphy by herself, as well as Celtic, Medieval, Islamic and contemporary calligraphers. In the back are technical notes by contemporary scribes. While this book was written pre-internet, I have included websites where appropriate. They include:

Irene Base: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1well&mtri=cscu1calig;

Ida Henstock;

Dorothy Mahoney;

Sheila Waters: https://designtraveler.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/sheila-waters-a-link-to-calligraphic-foundations/;  https://www.calligraphersguild.org/SheilaWaters.html; http://www.thepensivepen.com/2014/12/foundations-of-calligraphy-sheila-waters.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0YM_EhfUCs. I adore her Roundel of the Seasons!;

Joan Pilsbury: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1pilsbury&mtri=cscu1calig and https://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Crafts/021M-C0960X0121XX-0001V0;

Wendy Westover : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10742720/Wendy-Westover-obituary.html and https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-champion-of-calligraphy-and-illumination-20140411-zqthv.html;

Thomas Ingmire  http://www.thomasingmire.com/;

John Prestianni; and John Woodcock, as well as a list of suppliers of artists’ materials.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.37Sixty Alphabets: Selected and Introduced by Gunnlaugur SE Briem 1986

Another book, which introduces the work of sixty talented calligraphers. Each artist was invited to contribute one of their designs, along with an introduction to themselves, their artistic journey and their work. This book displays the huge diversity of styles and media used within this art form and serves as an inspiration to future calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.52.42

Calligraphy: A Handbook for Beginners by Beverley Amos 1989

This is a great book for beginners, teaching new calligraphers to use edged pens to produce letter forms in the basic styles of Roman, Foundational, Uncial, Italic and Rounded Gothic alphabets!

It begins with a discussion of Materials, common to the other books, but also specifying essential nibs, pens and inks. Also included in Part One are notes on Setting Up; Getting Started; Left-Handed Calligraphy; Handy Hints; Nomenclature; Ruling Guide Lines; and Pen Widths.

Part Two discusses Letterforms, the different lettering styles in detail: their history and evolution; letter proportions and spacings; and practice strokes and examples.

Part Three examines Design Features: Choosing the Right Style; Layout Tips; Decorative Layout; Common Errors; Texture; Backgrounds; Special Pens and Effects; Decorative Motifs, Borders and Flourishes; Decorated Letters; and Using Colour (Inks, Watercolours, Poster Colours, Designer’s Gouache, Stick Ink and Felt Pens).

The final section looks at practical applications in Part Four: Calligraphy For Every Occasion and  discusses layouts and guidelines for Posters; Letters and Envelopes; Greeting Cards; Certificates and Place Cards; Retail Tickets; Labels; Bookplates; Monograms and Ciphers; Logos and Letterheads; and Gift Ideas.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.44

Calligraphy Stroke by Stroke: A New Illustrated Guide to Calligraphy Techniques With Eleven Calligraphic Alphabets by Annie Moring 1995

My final book on calligraphy, this is another excellent and comprehensive guide for beginners with Introductory Notes on Tools and Materials; Writing Position; Ruling; Stroke Order; Pen Strokes; Geometric Forms; Slope; and Serifs (the starting and finishing strokes of letters); followed by  11 of the most commonly used Alphabets in their upper and lower case forms. They include: Foundational Hand (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Script (Miniscule and Capitals); Roman Capitals; Uncial Letters (Modern and Half Uncial); Gothic Script (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Cursive; and the elegant Versal Letters, used in the early illuminated manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.04.22Each alphabet has an Essential Information Panel covering elements like letter height, pen angles, geometric form; slope and serif forms; Photographic step-by-step sequences showing the formation of each letter, including directional arrows and angles, as well as alternative letterforms, punctuation and numerals;  a Troubleshooting Section analysing common mistakes and a Gallery of inspirational professional work. Rulers, compasses and set squares, as well as erasers and sharpeners are very useful tools for calligraphers.

The final section of the book looks at Presentation: Letter, Word and Line Spacing; Margins; and Types of Layout. I would highly recommend this book as well.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.50For more books about calligraphy, see: http://www.holoweb.net/liam/pictures/calligraphy/resources/books.html;

It is also worth exploring the following sites:

Modern Calligraphy Collection of The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. See : http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/n/nal-modern-calligraphy/;

The Edward Johnston Foundation, a research centre for calligraphy and the lettering arts: http://www.ejf.org.uk/ejfcollectiona.html;

The Society of Scribes and Illuminators: https://calligraphyonline.org/about/, which holds annual exhibitions; courses and workshops, including correspondence course, study days and masterclasses; a list of suppliers; and an excellent Links section: https://calligraphyonline.org/links/ to further sites;

The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, the largest Western calligraphy and lettering society in the world, which is based in the United Kingdom and holds regional meetings and a six-day Festival of Calligraphy over the Summer: http://www.clas.co.uk/ and http://www.clas.co.uk/pdf/CLAS%20brochure%202018%20Final.pdf;

International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH), the oldest and largest penmanship organization in the United States:  https://www.iampeth.com/home;

The Craft Study Centre at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, UK: http://www.csc.uca.ac.uk/calligraphy-and-lettering/;

The Pen Museum, Birmingham: https://penmuseum.org.uk/;

The Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering at the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the San Francisco Public Library: https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000013701 and

The Calligraphy section of the Online Resource for Visual Arts: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1calig&mtri=cscu1calig;

The Calligraphy Bookshop: http://www.calligraphity.com/;

John Neal Booksellers: http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/calligraphy-illumination and http://www.jnbooksellerblog.com/;

Scribblers Calligraphyhttps://www.scribblers.co.uk/;

The Letter Exchange: http://www.letterexchange.org/;

Quill London: https://quilllondon.com/# and https://quilllondon.com/blogs/modern-calligraphy-blog#;

Art at Clevancy, Wiltshire: http://www.artatclevancy.co.uk/; and here in Australia,

The Australian Society of Calligraphers: http://www.asoc.org.au/ and Calligraphy Supplies Australia: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/. They even have a blog: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/blogs/news, which lists owner Kerry’s top ten Calligraphy and Lettering Instagram accounts.

There are also a huge number of calligraphy blogs online. See: http://www.webdesignschoolsguide.com/library/40-fantastic-calligraphy-blogs.html; https://blog.feedspot.com/calligraphy_blogs/ and https://thepostmansknock.com/beginners-guide-modern-calligraphy/, as well as Youtube tutorials like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3phzKsXpko8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8aXoFJ1I9A; and online courses like those listed at: https://www.skillshare.com/browse/calligraphy and https://learningcloud.com.au/courses/1295/calligraphy.

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Books on Papercraft: Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making Models/ Flowers/ Toys and Decorations; Papier-mâché and Papermaking

Last week, we examined some of the wonderful books describing general paper craft, in particular, those involving cutting : Papercutting; Silhouettes and Découpage. This week, we are focusing on Paper folding and origami; Constructing models, toys, games and decorations from paper, Papier-mâché and finally, the craft of making handmade paper!

Origami and Paper Folding

When one thinks of paper crafts, one of the first ones which springs to mind is the art of origami, which derives from the Japanese words: ‘ori’ meaning ‘to fold ‘and ‘kami’ ‘meaning ‘paper’. While paper folding itself probably started earlier in China, origami originated in Japan in the 6th Century, after paper was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. In 1797, the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru Orikata by Akisato Rito, though it was more about cultural customs and the Legend of the Thousand Cranes, in which the maker of 1000 paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.14.09 I didn’t quite get there with my paper crane mobile, which I made out of Japanese papers, seen in the photo below, and hung from an old shuttle for my friend Heather to celebrate the launch of her Saori weaving business, Art Weaver, in March 2014.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 08.42.36 Saori weaving  also originated in Japan and Heather is the Melbourne agent. See: http://artweaverstudio.com.au/. Here are some photos of the finished mobile!

The modern form of origami was developed and popularised by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), including the technique of wet-folding and the use of a set of universally recognised symbols for instruction, the Yoshizawa–Randlett system. Dotted and dashed lines represented mountain and valley folds, and Yoshizawa also created symbols for ‘inflate’ and ‘round’. These symbols and folding techniques are discussed in the next book, also written by a Japanese origami expert, who originally studied under Yoshizawa, but progressed to develop his own style.

Creative Origami by Kunihiko Kasahara 1967

My first book of origami, this is a great basic guide to the artform, with 100 patterns for creating birds, animals, insects, marine life, flora, masks and people. I have used it quite a bit over the years. In the back of the book, Kasahara also discusses the nature of creativity, especially in relation to origami, as well as the basic folds, framework and compounds. For more on the author, see: http://www.britishorigami.info/academic/lister/kasahara.php.

You can also find excellent patterns online at sites like: https://www.origami-resource-center.com/free-origami-instructions.html; http://www.origami-fun.com/free-origami-instructions.html and https://origami.me/diagrams/.

It is also well worth looking at the art of  origami masters like Robert J Lang at : http://www.langorigami.com/, especially: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYKcOFQCeno. Absolutely mind-blowing!

The artwork of other contemporary practitioners can be seen on: https://mymodernmet.com/contemporary-origami-artists/.

I would also love to see the documentary Between the Folds one day. See: https://www.betweenthefolds.com/.

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The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book by Paul Jackson and Angela A’Court 1992

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Children may find the origami patterns in this book slightly easier to follow, as this particular book is very much directed at a younger audience. My children used this book to develop their paper craft skills, including making wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift tags, cards (see photo of my daughter’s homemade cards below) and envelopes, party hats, masks, desk sets, kites, mobiles and decorations, pantins and paper dolls, paper flowers, papier-mâché models and even Easter baskets, Christmas crackers and Advent calendars.BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.09BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.34There are also some wonderful websites on origami and YouTube clips make it all so much easier! I had a lovely day teaching Zoë to make an origami cat, fox and mice bookmarks, which can be found on the following websites:

http://make-origami.com/easy-origami-cat/;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGJv9eHwoMs;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajPnqLqvqqM.

BlogPapercraft2016-01-01 01.00.00-23 (2)Folded Secrets: Paper Folding Projects Books One to Four.

I also own a series of books based on Chinese paper folding by Ruth Smith, who describes how to make ‘Zhen Xian Bao’ or Needle Thread Pockets, an ancient traditional art in South West China practised by the Miao, Dong and other minorities. See: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1249&sid=dba0d7a0a57d924a2077acf54ca74eb0.

Ruth has an article about these pockets on: http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf, but it is well worth purchasing her books, so you can work your way through all her projects of increasing complexity. I had to email Ruth to buy this books at : eruthsmith@btinternet.com. Hopefully, the email address is still current.

I found these little pockets fascinating and the instructions very clear and easy to follow. After practising the basic technique with brown paper and making this Folded Secrets Book with 15 Compartments,BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.06.06

I made Square Mini Books for Christmas gifts (Book One),BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.49BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.40BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.52 my skills culminating in the Folded Secrets Advent Calendar for 2012 (Book Four).BlogPaperPost5012-12-01 06.59.52

Each pocket held a tiny gift or a rhyming clue for a treasure hunt to locate larger objects.BlogPaperPost5012-11-27 11.49.03

There are also instructions for making interesting cards and beautiful gift boxes in Book Two.  I would love to try making the Star Fold Pockets one day!

Paper Toys, Games, Models and  Decorations

Childhood Games and Toys

Some of our earliest experiences with paper, at least when I was growing up, are paper chains and dressing up paper dolls, so I have included the following three books.

Vanishing Animal Paper Chains: A Complete Kit by Stewart and Sally Walton 1996

Using 12 animal stencils and patterned paper provided in the book, the authors give simple instructions for making paper chains, which can then be used to make cards, masks, calendars, games, wall friezes, t-shirt stencils and even a safari game park. The inset boxes teach children about the different rare animals from rhinos, mountain gorillas and snow leopards to giant anteaters, Arabian oryx and dhole, the wild dog of East Asia and India.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.41.37

I also used to love dressing paper dolls, with their little tabs which bent over the background figure, usually at the shoulders. I don’t know that they are available anymore or if kids would still enjoy them. Remember we are talking about pre-computer days!!!

Fashion Paper Dolls From ‘ Godey’s Lady’s Book’ 1840-1854 by Susan Johnston 1977

Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in America and was the most influential women’s magazine of  the 19th century. See: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=godeylady and  http://www.accessible-archives.com/collections/godeys-ladys-book/.

It provided its readers with needlework projects, household hints and recipes, as well as hand-tinted fold-outs, showing the latest fashions. This book contains seven fashion paper dolls, each with its own wardrobe, with 50 costumes in all.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.19

Paper Doll Portrait: Antique German Bisque Dolls by Peggy Jo Rosamond 1985

Peggy Jo Rosamond is a serious antique doll collector, including the German Bisque dolls, as well as paper dolls. This book combines her interests, featuring six original paper dolls with authentic period costumes from the 1920s. Once made and dressed, they can be assembled in a ‘Portrait in the Park’ tableau.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.42.13

As children, we also used to make houses out of shoe boxes, cutting doors and four-paned windows and decorating the insides with patterned paper and homemade furniture made from matchboxes. Making cardboard models and dioramas is an excellent way to develop children’s  imagination and creativity, as well as their eye-hand coordination skills. The following two books have taken on this concept, though really are an extension of the paper doll world. I still prefer the originality of homemade versions, even though these miniature worlds are very cute!!

Mouse’s Christmas Tree : A Cutout Model Book  by Michelle Cartlidge 1985

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Instead of dressing paper dolls, this book decorates a Christmas tree for carol-singing mice, complete with decorations, candles, stockings, paper chains and gift boxes, while

Little Boxes: A Cutout Model Book by Michelle Cartlidge 1983

Is based on a collection of little boxes, each containing a miniature stand-up scene: a puppet show; sweet shop; rabbits playing by moonlight; a ballet class for mice; sailing boats on the sea; bunnies in bed; and a mouse house with four rooms.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.33

Having developed box-making skills with the latter book, the next two books extends the artform with 15 very beautiful gift boxes of a variety of unusual shapes and 8 mathematical models to cut out and assemble.

The Gift Box Book by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild 1999

This lovely book, aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but really appropriate for any age group, contains 11 gift boxes, including a Flower Basket; a hexagonal English Rose Box; Pandora’s Box; Black Diamond Box; a pentagonal Mosaic Box; a triangular Lilac Box; Green Crystal Box; Rocket Box; Tent of Paradise Box; Lady Eleanor’s Casket; and the Fibonacci Box, and four boxes to colour yourself : Cottage Box; Sailing Ship Box; Rainbow Box; and Butterfly Box; as well as instructions for designing and making your own gift boxes, including cube-shaped boxes with attached lids; treasure chests; tent boxes (like Toblerone chocolate boxes); circular boxes with a separate lid and boxes with sloping sides.

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Make Shapes: Series No. 2: 8 Mathematical Models to Cut Out, Glue and Decorate by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild  1978

If your appetite is whetted for making increasingly complex shapes, this book is ideal for you! Plans are provided for a Great Dodecahedron; a Great Stellated Dodecahedron, a Rhombicosidodecahedron; an Icosidodecahedron;  a Compound of Five Tetrahedra; an Octahedran Cross; a Third Stellation of Icosahedron; and a Faceted Cube. In the back are notes about decorating these shapes. I must admit, we never did get round to making these models, but they look stunning and maybe, I will make up the Third Stellation of Icosahedron, the Great Dodecahedron or a Great Stellated Dodecahedron for Christmas one day! There is an earlier book in the series with slightly simpler models, which might be a bit easier for us!!!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.49

Another childhood activity was making huge concertina-folded crepe paper flowers and may have more appeal than mathematical models! While my childhood blooms were very dramatic and simple, the following book has a more modern and sophisticated approach with a huge variety of paper flowers.

Fanciful Paper Flowers: Creative Techniques for Crafting an Enchanted Garden by Sandra Evertson 2007

Using 10 different techniques and the beautiful vintage papers and ephemera provided, Sandra has instructions for 30 projects from simple bouquets, garlands and wreaths, and floral baubles and window decorations; to tiaras and brooches and even shoe clips and hat pins.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.42.56The next two books are wonderful sources of inspiration for adults with the paper bug!

Paper Bliss: Projects and Musings on Life in the Paper Lane by Skye Rogers 2012

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Using 10 templates printed on the inside of the book cover, 8 handmade specialty papers, specially designed by Skye, and recycled waste paper, this lovely book describes 29 projects, including milk carton vases; papier-mâché bowls; book sculptures; paper boxes and houses; mobiles and wreaths; books, envelopes and cards; stamp artwork; paper dolls and roses; articulated figures; twirling hearts; découpage drawers; and shadow treasure boxes. Here is a photo of my decoupaged drawers, which hold all my treasures!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.03.48

In the front are notes on the basic tool kit, basic techniques and a recipe for homemade glue, while inspiring books and magazines, websites and paper artists and Australian supply sources are listed in the back. A relatively recent purchase, I look forward to making some of these projects! For more about Skye, see her website at: https://www.skyesthelimit.com.au/.

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining The Book by Jason Thompson 2010

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As an avid reader and book collector, I am in two minds about Altered Books, sometimes known as bibliovandalism, or indeed using books as a material for any paper project! My feelings are  a bit akin to the same thoughts I have about tearing colour-plates out of old vintage books and framing them as separate pictures!

Nevertheless, I still have a sneaky admiration for artworks created from old books and given the huge numbers of books, which might otherwise be tossed in the dump, especially during our love affair and transition to the digital world, it is a way of recycling them and giving them a second life. Here are some photos of the recycled paper objects I own: a flower and bird made from old music scores and wrapped pencils.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.32.45BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.34.11BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.33.27The introductory pages describe:

Materials: Adhesives, tapes and cutting tools;

Basic Techniques: Laminating; papier-mâché; decoupage; folding books; rolling and beading;

Anatomy of the Book; and Sources of Books.

After the introduction, there are instructions for 28 projects, including:

Gift Boxes, Gift Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows, Gift Tags, Cards, Postcards and Letters;

Book Bags, Pocket Books, Business Card Holders and Book Jacket Wallets;

Paper Houses; Beads; Necklaces,  Flowers and Wreaths;

Coasters;

Pencil Holders and Woven Basket Cases;

Ornaments and Mobiles;

Papier-mâché Mushrooms and Birds;

And Sculptured Apples, though I own a Paper Pear.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.36.15 The final section of the book showcases the profiles and work of a number of Paper Artists, Some of my favourites are:

Nicholas Jones: http://www.bibliopath.org/;

Su Blackwell: https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Brian Dettmer: http://briandettmer.com/;

Guy Laramee: http://www.guylaramee.com/ and http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/05/magnificent-new-carved-book-landscapes-and-architecture-by-guy-laramee/;

Jennifer Khoshmin: http://www.jenkhoshbin.com/;

Kelly Murray: https://mymodernmet.com/kelly-murray-jolis-paons-paper-dress/;  and

Tracey Bush: http://www.traceybush.com/home.

Papier- mâché and Paper Pulping

Paper into Pots And Other Fun Objects: Using Hand-made Recycled Paper And Papier- mâché  Techniques by Gerry Copp 1994

Papier-mâché is the ultimate recycling technique. It differs to sculpting with paper pulp in that it is a laminating technique, in which layers of torn pasted paper are slowly built up on a mould to create the object, where as with paper pulping, paper is shredded, soaked, blended and combined with wallpaper paste, then pressed or shaped over a mould. I love the papier-mâché dragon, which my youngest daughter made at school.BlogPaperPost2518-02-25 12.20.09The author discusses both  the layering and pulp methods to cast from a mould and create a base, as well as making colourful handmade paper for creating surface pattern. There are some beautiful projects in this inspiring book, including bowls, goblets, jewellery, mirrors and frames, clocks and boxes and sculptures.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.43.09

Hand-Made Paper Making

Finally, a book on making handmade paper itself !

Handmade Papermaking For Beginners by Kayes Van Bodegraven 1977/1981BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.43.37

I bought this book and my mould and deckle after a hobby course in handmade paper making during my university studies. It was great fun and very satisfying turning recycled waste paper into new handmade paper. We used an attachment to an electric drill to create paper pulp, then used a mould and deckle to collect and sieve the paper pulp out of the water to form a thin wet layer of paper, which is then dried.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.44.16

We learnt how to emboss the paper and create watermarks, as well as incorporate other natural fibres or confetti to decorate the surface.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.50 My only reservation was the texture created by the chux superwipes we used between the papers!BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.59 Here are more photos of some of the papers I made.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.33.05BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.31.17In his book, Kayes discusses the history of papermaking; the raw materials required; how to make the pulp; using a mould and deckle and pressing and drying the paper; embossing and incorporating other fibres; polishing paper; watermarks; paper absorbency; paper sizes, making envelopes (see photo of envelope moulds below); testing paper for wood components; and care of equipment, as well as including a glossary of papermaking terms.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.00Next week, it’s back to our monthly feature plants with a post on one of my favourite plants: Dianthus.

Books on Papercraft: Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage

The art of papercraft originated in China, where paper was invented in 105 AD and encompasses a huge variety of forms from papercutting and silhouettes to collage and découpage, card and book making, quilling, altered books, origami and paperfolding, making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, papier-mâché and even handmade papermaking itself. This enormous diversity, coupled with the relative cheapness of and the sheer beauty of  the materials themselves, makes it a very popular art form with many people, including myself, so I possess a number of general and specific paper-oriented books in my craft library, which I have divided into two posts:

Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage; and

Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, Papier-mâché and Papermaking.

Please note both spellings: papercutting and paper cutting are used to describe this artform. In this post, I have tended to use the same spelling as used in each book on the subject.

Below is a photo of some of the beautiful textured papers available these days for papercraft! They inspire one to start making paper projects immediately!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.11.20General Papercraft

A Complete Guide to Papercraft by Carson Ritchie 1978

This fascinating small guide traces the History of Papercrafts from Chinese, Turkish and European papercuts;  Victorian silhouettes and Mary Delaney’s floral collages to model theatres and paper sculpture. The author covers paper types and storage; tools (scissors, craft knives; punches; tweezers; rulers, set squares, compasses and brushes); and adhesives and paints in his chapter on Studio, Materials and Equipment.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.08.52Our first experiences with paper occur in childhood and Chapter Three describes a variety of Paper Toys, which you may remember: Thaumatropes (spinning pictures); Swingers and Spinners; Pantins ( with movable limbs) like the Paper Owl, which my daughter sent me from Germany, in the photo below; Trick and Illusion Pictures, including Three Way Pictures; Shadowgraphs; Pop-Up Books; and Peep Shows.

Next is a series of chapters dedicated to describing specific papercrafts in more detail:

Silhouettes ; Chinese Papercuts; Western Papercuts, which are totally different to the Chinese forms, in that they are usually symmetrical and often multi-coloured, including French Découpage and Polish Wycinanki; and Collage (Assemblages: Montages and Gravure Assemblages; Tinsel Prints; Flower Mosaics and miniature Amelias; Found Paper Collages) and Stamping.

Further chapters feature: Pin Prick; Quilling (or Rolled Paper Craft); and Tole (3-D Papercraft) eg Peep Shows; Model Theatres and Shadow Boxes.

The final chapter discusses Specialised Techniques like Paper Dyeing; Marbling; Gilding; Paper Tearing; Frottage; Paper Sculpture and Models; and Stencil Work.

While being an old book now, it is an excellent introduction to papercraft, with clear instructions, black-and-white photographs and diagrams and lots of inspiration for further exploration! It is also valuable as a guide to older, more historical techniques.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.37.50

The New Encyclopaedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown 2011

This more modern guide to papercraft is more extensive in the range of paper crafts it describes, as well as having colour photographs; examples by contemporary  paper artists; and more detailed step-by-step instructions for specific projects.

After an introduction covering the different kinds of papers for each technique and a discussion of paper weight and grain, the book is divided into 11 units, each containing a brief history, a description of paper types and materials required, specific methods and variations, examples of each technique in the artwork of contemporary artists and a project to practice the technique. They include:

Origami: Symbols; Basic Folds; Geometric Divisions; Bases; Decorative/ Functional/ Modular and Action Designs. Projects include: Cranes; Iris; Balloon; Boat; Butterflies; Snails; Egg Stand; Picture Frame; Antiprisms; Flapping Bird and Hungry Crow. Below is a photo of some paper cranes, which I made from this book, as a practice run for the paper crane mobile, which I describe in my post next week.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.08.25

Pop-Ups: Incised; Multi-Pieced; and Boxes. Project: Pop-Up Spider Card;

Paper Sculpture: Cones and Cylinders; Decorative Forms; Assembly and Armatures. Project: Owl;

Bookbinding: Book Block; Hard and Soft Covers; Single Section/ Multi-Section/ and Stab Binding; Project: Concertina Book;

Quilling: Shapes; Applications: Flowers; Combining Elements; and Glueing. Project: Keepsake Box;

Weaving: Designs: Plain/Irregular/Tumbling Block and 3-D. Project: Woven Paper Bowl;

Papercutting: Techniques: Symmetrical Cutting; Detailed Shapes; Layering; and Shadow Silhouetting. Project: Paper Cut Window Hanging;

Collage: Cutting and Pasting; Composition; and Overlayering. Project: Painted Paper Collage;

Papier-mâché: Casting From Found/ Modelling Clay and Plaster Moulds; Decorative Ideas: Sealing with Primer; Varnishes; Texture; and Gold Leaf;

Paper Pulping: Preparing Pulp; Applications: Using Cardboard Base; Casting a Plate; or Using Other Moulds; and even…

Paper-Making: Making Pulp: Recycled Paper; Plant Fibre; and Pulp Pigmentation; Making Paper: Couching Pad; Pulling a Sheet; and Couching; Pressing and Drying; and Decorative Techniques: Embedding: Laminating and Inclusions; Embossing and Painting with Pulp; and finally, Papermaking Recipes: Recycled Paper Samplers; Paper from Home; Pigmenting Papers; Embedding (Laminating and Inclusions); Embosssing; Painting with Pulp; and Plant Pulps, including grass and carrot tops!BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.37.37Papercutting and Silhouettes

I have always loved the look of papercutting, ever since we were introduced to this ancient craft in the early 1990s by the exquisite art works of Brigitte Stoddart, a number of which we bought during our time in Tasmania. I love her symmetry, intricate fine detail, her traditional style, heavily influenced by Polish, German and French papercutting, with its distinctive Australian flavour and her portrayal of the innocence of childhood, as can be seen in the photo below.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.23.43Brigitte used a scalpel and small scissors to cut her design from a single piece of black acid fast paper, occasionally using coloured paper behind the black and then, she, her husband and two daughters would each take a corner and very carefully lay it flat on the glued surface of the mount! Such painstakingly precise work requiring so much patience! I adored her papercut of the three children, who mirrored the interests of and thus represented our three children, who were at a similar age at the time of purchase.

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Brigitte’s papercut designs are also featured in a book we bought for our children:  Okra and Acacia: The Story of the Wattle Pattern Plate by Libby Hathorn  2002.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.38.03While I could not find much of an online presence, she does have some work on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/236698379/boxed-set-of-8-papercut-print-cards, which we also own and which show some of her coloured work.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.20.50She has also written her own book on the subject: Papercutting 1973, unfortunately now out-of-print, but available at: https://www.amazon.com/Papercutting-Brigitte-Stoddart/dp/0800862473.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.21.24

The photos above and below are some more of her cards, which we also own:BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.19.40Other  contemporary artists are featured in my first book on this subject:

Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists; Timeless Craft Compiled by Laura Heyenga 2011

Paper cutting started in China after 600 CE and was used to decorate doors and windows with assymetrical designs of animals; flowers; landscapes and narratives. It really developed as an art form in Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868), with symmetrical mon kiri, as well as in 11th century Turkey, where it was used to create shadow theatres. It was also practised in Poland (Wycinanki), Germany (Scherenschnitte); Holland (Knippen) and Switzerland (Marques) and is closely related to art of Silhouettes, popular in the 17th and 18th century.

It has experienced a revival worldwide with the work of the contemporary artists showcased in this lovely book, with their biographies in the back. While all of them are amazing, my particular favourites include:

Peter Callesen http://www.petercallesen.com/;

Heather Moore https://skinnylaminx.com/2008/02/12/a-cut-tut/ and http://www.molliemakes.com/interview-2/mollie-makes-meets-heather-moore-of-skinny-laminx/;

Nicky McClure http://nikkimcclure.com/;

Su Blackwell  https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Cindy Ferguson  http://papercutting.blogspot.com.au/ and http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/newsletters/volume48.pdf;

Helen Musselwhite http://helenmusselwhite.com/;

Rob Ryan http://robryanstudio.com/;

Beatrice Coron http://www.beatricecoron.com/;

Emily Hogarth http://emilyhogarth.com/;      and

Elsa Mora http://www.elsamora.net/  (current website )and http://elsita.typepad.com/elsita/papercuts-by-elsa-mora.html (older work).

Other excellent sites about paper cutting by Elsa Mora  include: http://www.allaboutpapercutting.com/;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planetelsita/sets/72157665847183751/with/25758401536/ and

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/11/cut-paper-sculptures-and-illustrations-by-elsa-mora/.

BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.12While this book and websites are so inspirational, it is also good to have some practical how-to guides on the subject and I have four suggestions for you:

Cut Paper Silhouettes and Stencils: An Instruction Book by Christian Rubi 1970

Featuring many traditional designs, floral motifs, woven designs, beautiful silhouettes and stencil designs, this lovely old book provides patterns and instructions for papercutting designs to be used for door plates and knockers; coats of arms; covers and opening pages of books and photo albums; invitations, letter paper and cards; invoices, bequests and birth certificates; and calligraphy; as well as information on sharpening mat knives; the principles of silhouette composition; and making, transferring and fixing stencils, preparing transparent glazes, stencil paintings, multi-coloured stencils and  using letters and numerals.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.25

I love the unusual designs and sense of history conveyed by this book. Below is a photo of one of the intricate designs I drew from this book.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.40The Craft of Paper Cutting by Angelika Hahn 1996

More modern in feel, this simple little book discusses the History, Materials and Basic Skills, including :

Cutting from Folded Paper;

Medallion Cuts;

Repeat-Pattern Cuts;

Negative Paper Cutting;

Silhouette Cuts; and

Framing.

It also features a Gallery of Paper Cuts with Designs for Children; Fairy Tales; Circus and Theatre; Impressions of Nature; City and Countryside; Famous Heads; People at Work; On Land and Water; Festivals; Chinese Paper Cuts; Romance; Ornamental Patterns, including rosettes, brooches and borders; Contemporary Paper Cuts; Miniatures and the Animal World.

In the back of the book are over 100 designs to trace and cut to make life easy!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.11Silhouettes by Sharyn Sowell 2009

Another excellent guide covering the Basics: Tools; Supplies; Getting Started; Design Basics; and Mounting and Making Silhouettes, using four simple methods: Casting a Shadow; Using a Digital Camera; Cutting or Drawing Your Own Freehand Design and Using Pre-exisiting Patterns.

The rest of the book contains 88 patterns and instructions for 24 projects, including: Cushion covers, lampshades and curtains; Napkin rings, place mats and coasters; Clock faces, storage jars and serving trays; Coat hooks and chalkboards; Wall and shelf friezes; Artworks and photo mats; Storage boxes; Cards and ribbon; Book pages and travel logs; Office décor; and even, Christmas ornaments. It is a great book for ideas for using silhouette designs.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.17And finally, the newest addition to my craft library concerning this subject:

Cut Up This Book: Special Occasions: Step-by-Step Instruction for Festive Occasions, Invitations and More by Emily Hogarth 2013

Written by one of my favourite contemporary artists featured in my first book on this topic, this book is also the most comprehensive, covering basic techniques, projects and 60 templates on patterned paper to be cut up, as the title implies, or photocopied for repeated use!

The first section, Getting Started, introduces basic concepts, with photographs demonstrating technique and diagrams, which illustrate important points, key skills and common pitfalls. They include:

Essential tools and useful extras;

Choosing paper;

Cutting with a craft knife or scissors: Cutting techniques, changing blades and safety tips;

Cutting multiples: Accordion folding; and stacking techniques;

Transferring templates;

Single and multi-fold designs;

Scoring and indenting;

Layering and intercutting;

Thinking backward– especially important when cutting letters and numbers or doing directional designs;

Colour;  and

Themed motifs.

There are step-by-step instructions with photographs and templates for 25 projects, with boxes indicating tool kit, materials and templates; symbols for skill level ; graphics identifying the trickiest areas to cut or take special care; and tips, variations and finishing touches.

Projects include: Invitations, cards and gift tags; gift and favour bags; Hanging, window and table decorations, party garlands and pin wheels; Lanterns; Paper wreaths and corsages; Napkin holders, place mats, coasters and place cards; Food flags and cake toppers and wrappers; and Dress-up props, birthday buttons and hair bands. There are some lovely designs and I particularly look forward to making some of the cards and the window, pompom and rosette decorations.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.31

Collage and Découpage

A talented exponent of collage was Mary Delaney, who I have already mentioned in two  previous posts: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2017/04/18/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-one-inspiring-books-and-garden-travel-books/.

I love her work and would love to own one of her books one day, but in the meantime, her images can be appreciated on:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany;

And   http://littlegreennotebook.com/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html/. As I describe in my posts, I have used her work to inspire my own paper collage floral cards.BlogPaperPost2013-06-26 18.18.25During my embroidery studies, we had to make paper collages as preliminary studies for embroidery designs like the work featured in the photos below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.15BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.27 Here is another photograph of my paper collages.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.46.43

However, I do own two books on Découpage, a specialised form of papercutting, used to decorate the surfaces of objects with printed scraps of paper, like the hat box in the photographs below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.38BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.17.17 Découpage originated in France, the name being the French word meaning ‘to cut out’, and was very popular in the Victorian Era with prints of seaside holidays, angels, children and flowers covering screens, photo frames and jewellery boxes.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.52 Used today, it gives objects an old-fashioned feel and I have two books, both based on fairies, another popular theme in the 18th century.

Nerida Singleton’s Découpage Fairies Project Book, Featuring Peg Maltby’s Fairy Images 1995

Using a specified découpage kit and the delightful colourful images created by Peg Maltby and reproduced in this book on glossy paper, Nerida gives detailed instructions for a variety of projects, including boxes, letter holders, pencil holders and albums, to illustrate the basic principles of proper surface preparation; background colour; sealing; cutting and placing; glueing the fairy images; trimming, tidying and repairing; gilding the edges; varnishing (using water-based and oil-based varnishes) and sanding; painting faux linings; and finishing with beeswax or micro mesh.

Peg Maltby (1899-1984), born Agnes Newberry Orchard in Ashby-de-la-Zouche, UK, in 1899, studied at engineering college in England, before marrying George Bradley Maltby in 1917 and having four children. They migrated to Victoria, Australia, in 1924. While living in Coburg during the Great Depression, Maltby supplemented the family income by painting commercial items such as chocolate box lids and birthday cards. She became a member of the Victorian Artists’ Society and had some successful exhibitions of her fairy paintings. She also illustrated a number of children’s books, including: Nutchen of the Forest; Meet Mr Cobbledick; Nursery Rhymes; Pip and Pepita; Ben and Bella; and

 Peg’s Fairy Book by Peg Maltby 1944, which can be viewed at :  http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2600932/view?partId=nla.obj-2656867#page/n0/mode/1up.

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The Flower Fairies Découpage Book  Based on the Original Flower Fairies Books by Cicely Mary Barker 1997

A similar book with a similar subject matter, whose  illustrations and style I personally prefer, having been reared on her books in my early childhood. While some of the projects are the same, there are also a number of different projects in this book.

Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was also born in England at a similar time to Peg Maltby and published her first flower fairy book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, in 1923. She painted in watercolours from life, using plant specimens from Kew Gardens and modelling the fairies on the children at her sister’s nursery school. Primary influences included Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites.

In this book, there is a wide selection of her images, reproduced on glossy paper, for cutting out and step-by-step instructions for 10 projects, including: Letter racks and pencil holders and pencils; Photograph album and photo frame; Dressing table set (hand mirror, comb, hair clip and powder compact); Decorative fan; Lampshade; Name plates for bedroom doors; Jewellery box; Biscuit tin and tray; and a wall clock.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.45

There are also a number of books of papers, specifically designed for use in découpage:  BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.08.41Next week, I will be describing origami and paper folding; paper toys, models and decorations; and papier-mâché and papermaking.

Victorian Foraging

In late March, we had a short minibreak for a few days to celebrate my friend’s birthday and revisit Victoria, our first trip back in three years! We crossed the Snowy Mountains through Dead Horse Gap, stopping for a picnic lunch on the upper reaches of the Murray River at Tom Groggin (first photo) and a spectacular view of the western fall of the Main Range at Scammell’s Lookout (second photo).BlogVicForaging2518-03-17 12.04.48-1BlogVicForaging2518-03-17 13.35.42By late afternoon, we reached our first destination, The Witches Garden, deep in the Mitta Mitta Valley (http://thewitchesgarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/TheWitchesGarden-Brochure.pdf and http://thewitchesgarden.com/). I had wanted to visit this garden for years, as the owners, Felicity and Lew, grow many herbs and medicinal plants. It’s a delightfully informal spot with many interesting corners and features, including a Lake and Monet Bridge, a Gallery, full of Felicity’s beautiful oils and pastels, a huge covered Vegetable Garden and a Witches’ Cottage, of course, complete with an extensive collection of broomsticks, lots of dust and cobwebs and a weird and wonderful assortment of magical accoutrements!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0363BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0370 We particularly loved the Parterre Garden with its Islamic design, its bright colours and all its arches covered with huge old climbing roses and the blowsy, romantic and informal Flower Garden, overflowing with bright colours and Autumn abundance.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0373BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0387BlogVicForaging2518-03-17 17.02.07 I was able to identify my Clerodendron bungei, which I grew from a cutting from my sister’s garden (first photo below) and was happy to see that the Abutilon (second photo below) could still be grown in a frosty climate.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0396BlogVicForaging2518-03-17 16.54.10 The chooks and dogs accompanied us on our rounds, then we had a long chat to Felicity and Lew at the end. They very kindly gave us some seeds for orange cosmos (second photo) and the delightfully named Polygonum, Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate (third photo).BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0410BlogVicForaging2518-03-17 17.02.18-1BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0395The next day, we visited the Bendigo Art Gallery to view the Marimekko Exhibition, which proved to be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable gallery experiences we have ever had. See: http://www.bendigoartgallery.com.au/Exhibitions/Now_showing/Marimekko_Design_Icon_1951_to_2018. The bright colours and bold designs of the huge fabric panels, clothing and homeware were wonderful!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0505BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0487 Being three weeks in for a three month exhibition, there was only a small audience and having booked a one-hour time slot, we were able to take our time and really appreciate it all, revisiting each section at least three times.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0501BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0428 We were also allowed to take as many photographs as we liked, so long as we didn’t use a flash, an added bonus! I adored these two panels!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0472BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0514After lunch, we visited Frogmore Gardens (https://www.frogmoregardens.com.au/), an amazing boutique mail order nursery at Lerderberg in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Their perennial display gardens are only open in Autumn from the 9th March to the 30th April each year and are well worth exploring!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0539BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0525 The Sunset Borders were jam-packed with dahlias and zinnias, calendulas and yarrow, coreopsis and rudbeckias, and celosias and lobelias, with tall red hot pokers, cannas and verbascums at the back.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0540BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0543 The garden beds were bursting with colour: hot oranges, rich golds and bright reds, which contrasted well with the purple self-sown verbena, the formal green hedges and paths, and the serene backdrop of the Wombat State Forest behind.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0531BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0530 The Bishop’s Border was a study in deep purples and velvety reds, soft pinks, blues and mauves with berberis, amaranth, dahlias, zinnias and asters.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0565BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0551 I was quite taken with the Succisella inflexa ‘Frosted Pearls’. BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0563The ethereal Pale Garden was dedicated to white and lemon blooms: Gaura and white Cosmos and Centaurea americana ‘Aloha Blanca’, Beach Sunflowers Helianthus debilis ‘Vanilla Ice’ and a variety of asters and gysophila.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0570BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0568 The informal Prairie Garden was just wonderful and full of beautiful wavy grasses and structural teasel!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0578BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0585 The owners, Jack Marshall and Zena Bethell were so generous with their time and chatted with us long after closing time! For more about this beautiful garden, please read: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/a-cornucopia-of-colour/9435514.

The following day, after a quick visit to the inspiring and highly imaginative and creative Winterwood (https://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/), where I investigated the different types of Steiner wool felt and drooled over the toys, books and other craft supplies, we celebrated my friend’s birthday with an equally inspiring visit to Alowyn Gardens (http://www.alowyngardens.com.au/).

BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0609BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0613BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0643I adored this place from its long shady Japanese Wisteria arbours (first photo above), formal Parterre (second photo above) and French Provincial Gardens (third photo above) to its Prairie Display Gardens, Birch Forest with its underplantings of bulbs, cyclamen and hellebores and succulent dry creek bed, and beautiful perennial borders, as can be seen in the photos below! There’s Birthday Girl, blending in with the amaranth!BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0630BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0647BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0709BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0721 However, the highlight for us was the bountiful Edible Garden with avenues of olive trees, underplanted with rosemary; quinces (first photo below) and persimmons; apples and pears; and crab apples, including the gorgeous Golden Hornet (second photo below),BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0680BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0663BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0704 sunflowers (third photo above) and fantastical gourds; and vegetables of every kind, including some rather  stunning Royal Purple and Danish Jester chillies.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0666BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0674BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0676BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0653BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0654 Here are some more photos of the entrance area.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0734BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0601BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0599The next day was a planthunter’s heaven with a driving tour of the nurseries beyond the Dandenong Ranges. First up, a visit to the wholesale tube stock nursery,  Larkman’s Nursery (http://www.larkmannurseries.com.au/www/home/), which fortunately sells to the public through the mail order nursery, Di’s Delightful Plants (http://www.disdelightfulplants.com.au/), from which we purchased a range of tiny lavender tubestocks, future parents of lavender plants for our future Lavender Bank: English Lavender L. angustifolia ssp angustifolia; and Dwarf English Lavender L. angustifolia ‘Hidcote’; French Lavender L. dentata ‘Monet’; Mitchum Lavender L. x allardi and a range of lavandins: L. x intermedia ‘Grosso’, ‘Seal’ and ‘Super’.BlogVicForaging2518-04-07 08.43.52It was wonderful to acquaint ourselves with all the nurseries in this area, as we had missed out on them during our time in Victoria as we were renting at that stage, so gardening was not on the agenda! We called into my favourite source of bulbs,  Tesselaars (https://www.tesselaar.net.au/);  the Wishing Well Nursery (https://wishingwellmonbulk.wordpress.com/) and Yamina Rare Plants in  (http://www.yaminarareplants.com.au/) before finishing the day with an interesting visit to the Salvia Study Group Display Gardens at Nobelius Heritage Park, Emerald.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0753BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0739And then,  it was homeward bound, calling into the wonderful rambly Jindivick Country Gardener Rare Plant Nursery, at Jindivick, south-west of Neerim South, en route (http://www.jindivickcountrygardener.com.au/)! Specialising in rare plants, David Musker and Philip Hunter will be moving the nursery to their home at the beautiful Broughton Hall nearby. See: http://www.jindivickcountrygardener.com.au/broughton-hall/ and their Instagram photos at: https://www.instagram.com/thegardenatbroughtonhall/.

As they share my love of Old Roses, I will definitely try to visit their garden on the Melbourne Cup weekend one year, when the Old Roses will be in full bloom! David suggested we pop in to say hello to Stan Nieuwesteeg of Kurinda Rose Nursery (http://www.warragulgardenclub.com/339592389),  just to the south at Warragul (photo above), but unfortunately he was not there, though we did enjoy looking at his selection of potted roses. BlogVicForaging2518-03-22 11.46.35My birthday friend had recommended a sidetrip to Mossvale Park, between Leongatha and Mirboo North in South Gippsland  (https://www.visitpromcountry.com.au/attractions/mossvale-park),  so we stopped there for a picnic lunch.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0796 This beautiful park contains some of the oldest and tallest elm trees in the Southern Hemisphere (photo above) and its sound shell (photo below) makes it a popular music venue.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0783 There is a list of all the park trees at: https://www.visitpromcountry.com.au/uploads_files/mossvale-park-2.pdf and the photo of the park board below lists the significant trees.BlogVicForaging20%DSCN0770 Fortunately, we only had one overnight stop at Marlo on the mouth of the Snowy River, a wonderful spot for birdwatching and a definite return visit one day! The photos below show the mouth of the Snowy River, where it enters the sea, and the East Cape of Cape Conran, just to the east of Marlo. BlogVicForaging2518-03-23 09.00.40BlogVicForaging2518-03-23 10.05.05 It certainly was a lovely mini-break away to recharge our batteries and discover some beautiful Autumn gardens! Next week, we are back to my craft book library with a post on some of my favourite paper-craft books!

Books on Natural Dyeing: Part Three: Dyeing Down Under

My final two books focus on Antipodean Dyeing and it’s interesting that my two books  cover both ends of the time spectrum, the early days of the revival of natural dyeing post synthetic dyes and contemporary textile dyeing using the latest innovative new techniques and ecological considerations.

Dyes From Plants of Australia and New Zealand: A Practical Guide for Craftworkers by Joyce Lloyd 1971/1978

This old book, almost fifty years old now, was one of the early guides to this artform, a time when the brighter synthetic aniline dyes were all the rage! It was written to complement the revival of interest in spinning and hand weaving during the 1960s. After introductory chapters on the ancient history of natural dyes, equipment, fabric preparation and mordants, the book focuses on :

Dye Plants Native to New Zealand;

Dye Plants Native to Australia;

Flower and Vegetable Garden Subjects;

Miscellaneous Dye Subjects; and

Weeds, Herbs and Lichens.

There is a section on using ancient dyes (indigo/ logwood/ madder/ cochineal and woad), as well as brief notes on chemical dyes, general hints and tie-dye techniques. The tiny size of both the latter subject and the source list for ancient dyes (only one supplier in Australia and one in New Zealand and only mail addresses), as well as the presentation of the book and dearth of colour photos and swatches, is an indicator of the age of this book and the infancy stage of this revival of interest in natural dyes, however this book is still valuable for its emphasis on our own native flora, as well as the inclusion of a number of dyestuffs, not mentioned in the other books. For example: Asters, Begonias, Buddleias, Gazanias, Bearded Iris, Rhododendrons, Beetroot, Mint, Passionfruit, Silver Beet, Tamarillos, Grass, Bamboo, Medlars, Pine Trees, Privet, Yew, Seaweed and Tobacco! Really the world’s your oyster!BlogNatlDyeing30%Image (6)

We have come such a long way since then! The efforts of Jenny Dean and Rita Buchanan have been responsible for a large part of this renewal, while India Flint has really popularized contemporary natural dyeing for a new generation of textile artists with her wonderful inspiring workshops and book:

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint 2008.

India is an Australian artist, writer, teacher, sheep farmer, fashion (Prophet of Bloom) and theatre costume designer, and sustainable eco-dyer with over thirty years of experience and artworks in collections and museums in Australia, Latvia and Germany. Every contemporary textile artist should own a copy of this comprehensive and detailed book.

Part One embraces the important concepts of Organic Natural Dyes vs. Toxic Synthetic Chemicals, Regionalism, Renewable Resources, Exploitation in the Logwood and Indigo Trades; Sustainable Harvesting and Recycling of Waste Products (Garbage and Windfalls).

Part Two discusses the work environment, equipment, much of which can be acquired from charity shops, and harvesting and storage of plant materials, as well as occupational health and safety rules.

Part Three focuses on Traditional Dye Materials, presented in table form on thick brown paper with Common and Taxonomic Names and the Parts Used. The use of different paper makes this section  quick and easy to find , its entries organised by colour: Black and Greys; Purples: Flora/ Fauna; Blues; Greens; Yellows and Golds (at three pages, the largest section!); Oranges; Reds: Flora/ Fauna; Pinks: Flora/ Fauna; and Browns. There are also notes about Poisonous Plants; Edible Dye Plants and Edible Plant Dyes for Culinary Magic! I much prefer the thought of using beetroot, onion, calendula, rose leaves, violets and pansies to colour cakes and biscuits rather than synthetic Azo dyes, which have been proven to cause liver cancer and are banned in Europe.

The next section, Part Four, is by far the largest in the book and covers:

Fibre Preparation: 

Wool and Other Animal Fibres, including Cashmere and Mohair (Goats); Angora (Rabbits); Alpaca; Camel; Llama; Yak; Horsehair; Dog and Cat; and even Shatoosh (an Endangered Tibetan Antelope); as well as luxurious Silk ;

Plant Fibres: Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum); Linen (Flax, Linum); Ramie (Boehmeria nivea), Nettle (Urtica), Jute, Sisal (Agave Cactus), Raffia, Pineapple, Reed, Banana and Hemp.

Mordants:

Applied at different stages of the dyeing process (Pre-Mordanting; Co-Mordanting and Post-Mordanting) to fix and enhance colour, improve colour fastness to light, washing and perspiration, prevent colour bleeding and extend the colour range of a dyepot, most mordants are highly toxic and their disposal thereby difficult. Not only is ingestion harmful, but the success of aromatherapy suggests that the presence of harmful chemical residues against our skin is also worth considering.

While alum (usually in the form of Potassium aluminium sulphate) is one of the least harmful of the traditional mordants, being used in pickling and baking powder, India has gone to great lengths to explore alternatives, which include: Urine; Blood; Gelatine; Yoghurt; Tins; Eggs; Ash; Soy Milk; Sea Water; Fermented Fruit Vinegars; Lemon Juice; Compost; Oxidized Wine; Iron Teas; Copper Coins; Cow and Sheep manure; Aqueous Paint Solutions and Seed Oils.

Any plants with ‘tinctoria’  (dyemaking); ‘officinalis’ (medicinal use) as the species name or words like oxalis (oxalic acid) and salix (salicyclic acid eg willow) are worth investigating, as well as plants rich in tannins like oak, pomegranate, spruce, chestnut, wattle,  bracken and mangroves, as well as dock, sorrel, and acorns.

Processing Plant Dyes:

After discussing the disadvantages of traditional boiling, India summarizes the following methods:

Hot Extraction-Hot Processing: Simmer and steep; Multiple extractions; Single extractions by boiling; Concentrated tinctures;

Hot extraction-Cold Processing: Solar dyeing; and Snaplock bag;

Cold Extraction-Cold Processing: Compost dyeing; Ice-flower dyeing; Cold-bundling; and Hapa-zome beating;

Cold Extraction-Hot Processing: Streaming in bundles; Long soaking and steeping; Dry extraction by fermentation before hot processing.

She also discusses Nomadic dyeing; and Plants for sequential extractions (St. John’s Wort; Safflower and Eucalyptus).

Part Five examines some very Special Dye Plant Groups:

Eucalyptus Dyes;

Other Australian Flora:

Mistletoes, Amyema;

Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos;

Indigofera australis;

Insects from the Eriococcus family;

Wattle, Acacia;

Kennedia nigricans;

Callistemons;

 Grevilleas;

Quandong, Santalum acuminatum;

Sandalwood, Santalum lanceolatum;

Bracken Fern, Pteridium esculentum;

Morinda citrifolia; and

Thryptomene calycina.

Ice-Flower Dyes:

Freezing flowers in snap-lock bags, then immersing them in lukewarm water with the addition of ash or alum (for blues),  vinegar (for reds) or washing soda, sodium carbonate (for greenish-blues). Suitable flowers include: Petunias, pansies, violets and violas; iris; delphiniums and pelargoniums, while berries include: blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, cherries and Berberis darwinii.

Fruits and Berries: Cold Berry Dyes: The afore-mentioned berries, as well as Mulberries; Blueberries and Solanum nigrum.

Part Six investigates Special Effects:

Cold Bundled Eco-Prints eg Eucalyptus and mistletoe foliage, acacia pods, onion skins; beetroot peelings; bark; tea leaves; coffee grounds; wilted flowers; citrus slices and even, blackberry jelly pulp!

Hot Bundled Ecoprints: Latvian Easter Egg Dyeing;

Hapa-zome Beating Colour into Cloth;

Dyeing Wool Yarn and Sliver, including Ikat Dyeing;

Multicoloured Yarns;

Printing with Plant Dyes;

Shibori and Layered Dyeing: Hexagon (Honeycomb), Tartan and Chequerboard Patterns; and Multicoloured Fabrics;

Resists: Block Printing; Batik; Flour and Egg Resists;

Solar Dyeing; and

Cow and Mud Patties.BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.22In the photos above and below are two scarves dyed using the bundling method. Because I did not dye them myself, I cannot tell you much about the plant matter used, except there was definitely the inclusion of some eucalypt leaves in the silk scarf below!BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.34BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.43Part Seven returns to the importance of ecological sustainability  in Some Other Considerations, with essays on the importance of water, time, safe waste disposal and  the correct care of silk, wool, cotton and other fabrics , so they last as long as possible. The final section, Part Eight, contains a bibliography and useful websites.BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.23.13I  really love this book, not just for its innovative approach and emphasis on the environment and sustainability, but also its thoroughness, its attention to detail, its invitation to experimentation, its simple and thoughtful explanations and above all, India’s  engaging story-telling style. If you would like to know more about her and her ecodyeing techniques, see:  https://theplanthunter.com.au/people/india-flint/, with her fashion label blog at: http://prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.com.au/.

In response to Tony last week and other readers, who may be wondering about the range of colours produced by eucalypts, here are two interesting and informative websites: https://sallyblake.com/eucalyptus-dyes-1/ and http://anpsa.org.au/APOL8/dec97-6.html!

Next week, I am featuring Flowering Salvias, whose dainty and colourful flowers could be ideal subjects for eco-printing! I have some experimentation ahead of me!!! Until then, Happy Dyeing…naturally, of course!

Books on Natural Dyeing Part Two: Traditional Dyeing

While I love indigo, there are so many other wonderful dye plants, yielding a huge variety of  natural dyes and colours and similarly, a large number of books (though not as many as the plants!) devoted to the subject, again each with a slightly different approach and style.

Jenny Dean is an English  natural dyeing expert, having worked with natural dyes for almost forty years. It is well worth reading her interview with The Wild Dyery at: http://thewilddyery.com/interview-with-jenny-dean/, as well as her blog at http://www.jennydean.co.uk/. In a post at the beginning of the year, she mentioned a tantalising One Year Natural Dyeing Course from March 2018 to February 2019 at Ditchling Museum in East Sussex, but given it started last month, I will have to contend with Jenny’s books instead, of which there are over seventy,  two of which I actually possess! I have also discovered that Wild Dyery runs 12 week online courses, which look really interesting as well. See: http://naturalfabricdyeing.com/, but back to Jenny’s books!

Wild Colour: How to Grow, Prepare and Use Natural Plant Dyes by Jenny Dean 1999

This beautiful hardcover book is divided into three sections:

Introduction: This important chapter covers the theoretical background of natural dyeing from its history:

Origins and evolution of natural dyeing techniques;

Development of medieval guilds of master dyers, trade routes and synthetic dyes;

Dye categories (substantive/ vat and adjective);

Other sources of natural colour: Tyrian or Imperial Purple from Murex and Purpura shellfish and a variety of reds: a scarlet Kermes Red, Red Lac and Cochineal from the bodies of scale insects, feeding on oak leaves/ fig and acacia leaves/ and prickly pear cactus respectively);

Specific plant dyes: Red: Madder, Brazilwood and Safflower; and Purple: Logwood and Lichens; and

Application techniques: Discharge Dyeing; Block Printing; Ikat Dyeing; and Blue Printing.

Dyeing Techniques:

Safety Guidelines: For use and storage;

Equipment: Drying and storing plant material; Camping stove; Water source; Stainless steel pots, only used for dyeing; Large bowls and buckets; Plastic containers for leftover dyes; Tongs  and log-handled spoons; Measuring jugs; Strainers or colanders; Weighing scales; Rubber gloves and oven mitts; Labels and waterproof markers; and Record book.

Water pH: Testing and adjusting it;

Materials: Animal and vegetable fibres and their preparation for the dye bath;

Mordants:

Natural: Staghorn sumac Leaves; Rhubarb leaves; and Oak galls;

Chemical Compounds: Aluminium, Iron and Copper;

Premordanting Methods:  To fix the dye to the fibres, including instructions for making mordant solutions, using crystals or your own ingredients; Calculating quantities of mordant required; Mordanting animal and plant fibres; Choosing a mordant; and the safe disposal or storage of mordants.

Preparing Plant Parts for Dyeing: Drying; Quantities; Testing; Experimenting; and Extracting colour from bark, flowers, leaves and berries;

Selecting the Best Dyeing Method: Cool Dyeing; Hot Dyeing; and All-in-One Methods;

Dyeing with Specific Plants: Safflower; Indigo; and Woad;

Colour Modifiers: To extend the range of colours from a single  dyebath to create a number of different shades, giving an example of 25 colours from the one dyebath:

Acidic Modifiers: Produce yellower tones;

Alkaline Modifiers: Usually creates pinker tones, but can change colours dramatically eg elderberry pinks and purples become green;

Copper Modifiers: Makes colours greener or browner in tones;

Iron Modifiers: Makes colours darker and more sombre, as well as improving the rastness of dyes;

Wash Fastness; and most importantly, especially if replication of results is desired,

Recording Natural Dyeing Results: Labelling fibre samples in a record book with the name of the fibre; mordant used; dyestuff; methods; and timing. Even information like the previous season and weather and location/ soil/ climate of the plant can be noted.

However, the largest section of the book is devoted to the Dye Plants themselves: all sixty species of them, with their scientific name and species, photographs, description and history of use; their cultivation and harvest; the extraction of their pigments; and dyeing procedures.

There are useful Colour Swatches for each plant entry, showing probable results when certain techniques are used: Firstly, the Dye Colour on Fabrics (black bucket symbol); Adding an Alum Mordant Before Dyeing (white bucket symbol and Using an Iron Modifier After Dyeing (shaded bucket symbol) or Combinations of all three approaches. The number of different shades and colours, which can be achieved from the same plant is amazing! While some plants like Comfrey (grey-greens), Yarrow (beige, soft yellow and soft khaki green) and Hollyhock (maroon and mauve shades) produce only a limited palette, others like Saint John’s Wort (yellow and gold, green and deep red and a range of browns); Walnut (soft browns to gold, kahaki shades and a deep brown) and Apple (a wide range of different browns and khaki golds to pure gold, scarlet and green) yield many different colours.

Some produce different colour ranges according to :

Part of the plant used : In Betula (birch) and Prunus (cherry, plum, peach, almond and apricot) trees, the leaves produce soft yellow to green shades and the bark a range of pinks, while Eucalypts yield rich rusty reds and deep browns from the leaves and a range of greys from the bark;

Method Used: The colours from dyeing with the leaves of woad vary from blues to pink skin tones and greys, while those of Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) produce a wide colour range from warm and cool browns to blues and purples, according to the method used.

Some plants are surprising. I would have expected ivy berries and leaves to produce green colours, but the berries only do so with the use of mordants and modifiers, their original unadulterated colour being a soft grey and the leaves yield a range of browns- no green at all!. I also anticipated that pomegranates to produce a red dye, where in reality the fruit and outer skins yield soft ochres and browns, so lacking in brilliance that they are often mixed with turmeric to brighten the colour, however they are rich in tannins, which improves colour fastness and can also be used as a mordant. Rhubarb is a particularly useful plant, as its leaves are a natural mordant and produce greeny-yellow shades, while its roots yield a range of yellows, golds, greens, browns and oranges.

Each page also has an inset box detailing each plant’s range, availability, growing habits, planting and harvesting times, dye stuff (as in flower/ roots/ bark/ leaves and berries) and dyeing instructions.

It is a fascinating and inspirational book, which really makes you want to start experimenting immediately!BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.25.09

The Craft of Natural Dyeing: Growing Colours From the Plant World by Jenny Dean 1994

My second guide by Jenny Dean is a simpler paperback form covering much the same subject matter: Materials; Equipment; Safety notes; Dyeing a skein of wool or cotton; Record keeping; Mordants; Mordanting techniques; Dyestuffs; Extracting dye colour, Testing for colour fastness; Dye mixing and overdyeing; Colour ranges; and Dye plants to grow.

I found the sections on Mordants and Plant Parts particularly easy to understand in this book and the colour divisions give a quick idea of suitable plants to try. For example,

Yellows and Golds: Weld, Fustic, Safflower, Onions and Nettles;

Greens: Logwood mixed with Weld; Fustic or Onion skins; or overdyeing yellow with indigo; and using an iron modifier on yellow or a copper mordant;

Blues: Indigo and Woad;

Purples, Lavenders and Greys: Cochineal, Logwood, Alkanet and Elderberries;

Pinks and Reds: Cochineal, Safflower and Madder;

Oranges, Rusts and Browns: Annatto, Cutch, Henna, Lichen, Onion skins, Weld, Cochineal, Walnut hulls and leaves, and Madder; or using an iron solution; and

Blacks and Neutrals: Logwood overdyed with indigo or premordanting with tannin (oak galls) and iron.

Overall, an easy introductory guide to natural dyeing, but if I had to make a choice and only have one of her books, it would have to be the more comprehensive Wild Colour.BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.23.47

Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook 2007

Another useful guide with a slightly different approach. While the chapter titled: How To Dye covers much of the basic information on dyeing equipment, precautions and techniques, I liked her step-by-step instructions with clear photographs of each stage for cleaning and premordanting, not just wool and cotton, but also silk, as well as the different methods of dyeing (hot water, cool water and vat).

While Jenny based her divisions on plant or colours produced, Jackie has divided the next section based on the plant part used, incorporating 30 different plants and projects, with brief descriptions, requirements and methods, as well as tips, photographs of examples and a colour chart of the effects produced by different mordants (Alum, Chrome, Copper, Iron and Tin). They include:

Roots: Madder, Alkanet, Turmeric and Rhubarb;

Woods and Barks: Brazilwood; Logwood; Cutch; Buckthorn; Sanderswood (Red Sandalwood); Osage Orange; and Querbracho;

Flowers: Gorse; Goldenrod; and French Marigold (Tagetes);

Leaves and Stalks: Henna; Weld; Tea (Thea sinensis); Stinging Nettle and Tansy;

Fruits and Vegetables: Annatto; Elderberry; Walnut; Blackberry; Red Cabbage; Onion; Avocado and Ivy.

There is also a section for Special Colours: Indigo, Cochineal and Lac.

In the back is a simplified chart for quick easy reference of all the material covered, including common and Latin names; their suitability for dyeing silk, wool and cotton; and the form of their dye eg fresh,  dried  or frozen roots/ berries/ tops/ skins, powder; concentrated extract; chips;or teabags, as well as a colour chart showing the colours obtained by using five different mordants (alum, chrome, copper, iron and tin) with each of the 30 dyestuffs.

A useful addition to the library, as it covers slightly different plants (eg Red Cabbage, Avocado, Sanderswood, Osage Orange, Querbracho, Gorse, Tea and Lac) and mordants (chrome and tin).BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.25.14A Dyer’s Garden: From Plant to Pot: Growing Dyes for Natural Fibres by Rita Buchanan 1995

If you are a keen natural dyer with a large garden, this little pocket guide  is perfect for you! I think that often one of the hardest things about gardening is having the space and the right requirements (sun/ shade; damp/ dry; soil type etc) to fulfill all your needs from aesthetics (garden design) and productivity (fruit, vegetables and herbs) to fragrance, recreation areas, floristry, and of course, dye plants!

Rita is an American dyer with a similar natural dyeing pedigree to Jenny Dean, with over forty years of experience.

The first part of the book is devoted to chapters on :

Plant Choice;

Propagation and Cultivation;

Planning a Dye Garden, including plans for a Daisy-Shaped Bed; a Raised Bed; a Mixed Border; and a Production Garden, as well as a guide to the spacing and yield of dye plants;

Basic Plant Dyeing: Equipment and Materials; Mordanting; Harvesting and storage; Making a dye bath; Dyeing yarn; Additives and afterdips; and Dyeing with indigo and woad; and

Colour and Colours: In this section, Rita explains the myriad reasons for colour variations, including:

Soil type;

Moisture and temperature during the growing season;

Stage of maturity and growth;

Plant part gathered;

Used fresh or stored;

Length of soaking or simmering time for the dyebath;

Mineral content and pH of the water used;

Amount and type of mordant and when and how it was applied to the yarn;

Type of fibre;

Ratio of dye plant to fibre;

Temperature and length of simmering or soaking time for the yarn,

and how this great variation allows for extended experimentation and constant awe, interest and inspiration. It’s certainly a very exciting field and is easy to see why my retired chemist mentor got hooked, line and sinker!

The last and major part of the book presents a portfolio of dye garden plants, suitable for the home garden, including their photo with brief details of Common and Latin names; Climatic Zone; Height; Spacing; and Yield, followed by longer descriptions and notes on related species, cultivation, propagation and dyeing, complete with side panels of colour swatches of the results from using different fibres,  different parts of the plant, different mordants, unusually short or long simmering /soaking times; and different additives or afterdips. Again, a slightly different list of plants, including Garland Chrysanthemum; Sunflower; Zinnias; Purple Basil; Purple Loosestrife; Marjoram, Hops, Bronze Fennel; Peppergrass; and Broom Sedge. In the back is a list of Mail Order Suppliers of Dye Plants and Seeds, though this is possibly out-of-date by now!BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.24.55With regard to the history of colour, it is also worth reading Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, which I have already reviewed in: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/. Next week is my final post on this subject : Dyeing Down Under!

Books on Natural Dyeing Part One: Books on Indigo Dyeing

I have always been fascinated with the use of plant dyes to magically transform the colour of cloth. I love the history of their use, their softer, more muted colours, their complementary nature to each other and the fact that they are organic rather than chemically manufactured.  I also love the fact that you are never quite sure what colour you are going to get, as it varies between plants, soils, growing conditions and the process used. Indigo is particularly magical as the main indigo pigments, Indicant (indico plants) and Iastin B (woad plants) are actually  invisible and insoluble, being extracted by a complicated reduction process, and after the material has been dipped in the dye vat, the cloth changes from a greenish-yellow colour to an indigo blue, as the dye pigment oxidises and precipitates directly onto the fibres.

Consequently, I have bought a number of books on the topic of natural dyeing over the years. I even participated in a course at Dorrigo with a retired chemist, who now devotes her life to this very specific area, this involvement resulting in a most amusing and memorable repercussion. When I told my poor friend over the phone that I had just done a course in ‘natural dyeing’, there was a hushed silence, followed by: ‘But Janey, I didn’t know..!’ Sorry Liz!!!

In my last post on Books on Textile Printing, I finished with a book on Shibori, an ancient resist-dyeing technique used to create pattern on cloth, often using indigo dyes, so I thought I would start this post with two fantastic books on Indigo Dyeing, one theoretical and one highly practical, and both essential additions to the craft library, especially for those interested in natural dyeing. Because this post is so long, I am dividing it into three parts over the next 3 weeks, so today’s post features books on Indigo Dyeing; next week’s post is about General Natural Dyeing books and the third week focuses on books on Natural Dyeing with Australian Plants.

Indigo: The Colour That Changed the World by Catherine Legrand 2012

Indigo dyeing is a universal practice, found from Japan (Ai), Southern China (Landian), Laos and Vietnam (Cham), India (Nila), Africa (Gara) and Central America (Anil). There is even an Indigo Trail from Central Asia to West Africa. Other terms for indigo include: Indigotin; Indicant; and Xiquilite.

There are many different plant varieties that yield blue dye, including the

Indigofera family: Indigo;

Isatis family: Dyer’s and Chinese Woad;

Lonchocarpus family: Yoruba Indigo or Gara and Gambian Indigo;

Wrightia family: Pala Indigo or Dyer’s Oleander; Lan Shu and Mok;

Polygonum tinctorium (now called Persicaria tinctoria): Japanese Indigo, as seen in photo below;

Strobilanthes cusia, the Rum or Assam or Golden Triangle Indigo; and

Others:  Tarum Akar  (Broad-Leafed Indigo); Mohuitli (Sacatinta) and Azul (Panciga or Tinta); and

Urubu-retigma and Yangua (Llangua).

BlogNatlDyeing3014-12-20 10.58.10-2No matter which area of the world the indigo is produced or which species is involved, the basic process involves exactly the same steps:

Cultivation and/or wild harvesting of the plant;

Extraction of the pigment by steeping or crushing, drying or composting the  leaves;

Preparation of the dye bath; and

Dyeing of the cloth or yarn.

It’s quite a complicated chemical process, involving reduction and oxidisation, which is explained really well in this lovely coffee-table book, along with the fascinating history and contemporary production of woad and indigo, amply supported with over 500 beautiful colour illustrations.

It focuses in-depth on the production of indigo in Europe, Japan, China, Laos and Vietnam, India, Africa and Central America. I learnt so much from this book about indigo and indeed, the different cultures and countries themselves! Did you know that:

There was a Blue Triangle (It is in the Haut Lauragais in South-West France and has been the main producer of woad since the early Middle Ages) and a Blue Mutiny (by Indian indigo growers against their British overlords in Bengal, India in 1859)

That the art of indigo extraction is extremely ancient, with woad found in Neolithic burial sites and the ink used to write the Dead Sea Scrolls; and

That denim jeans were originally made from the indigo-dyed Serge de Nimes?

In the back is a list of museums displaying woad and indigo textiles, as well as contemporary artists and studios working with woad and indigo and an extensive bibliography.BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.23.23For lovers of indigo and textile historians, in fact anyone interested in textiles or ethnic fashions, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s a truly beautiful book!

A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing by Vivien Prideaux 2003

Equally fascinating and essential, this paperback guide is the practical equivalent to the previous book. Starting with a Brief History and Health and Safety Guidelines, it progresses to:

Materials:

Natural Fibres: Cellulose and protein;

Indigo: Plants, Dried Indigo: blocks, cakes, balls or sheets; Powder; and Synthetic Indigo;

Dyeing Chemicals:  Sodium hydroxide, Sodium hydrosulphite, Calcium hydroxide, Washing soda, Ammonia, Zinc and Methanol; and

Other ingredients: Soap, Gelatin, Vinegar, Sugar, Urea and Bran;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 15.50.15Tools and Equipment: Weighing scales; Measuring jugs; Bowls; Timer; Plastic vat; Stainless steel Buckets; Thermometer; pH paper; Measuring spoons and stirring sticks;  Mortar and pestle;  Masking tape; Printing blocks; Clamps and Pegs; Rubber bands; String/rope; Needle and thread; Poles; Paste resists; and Found objects : Screws, corks, shells, rocks, marbles and coins;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 10.32.09-1and Fabric Preparation: Pre-washing fabrics and yarn, before getting down to the nitty-gritty of:

Specialised Shibori Techniques: With detailed and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. I know, as I used this book extensively in my indigo workshop, documented in the photos above and below in 2014, practising the techniques marked with an asterisk.

Itajime or Board Clamping, including Kikko Folding *;

Stitched and Gathered, including Mokume (wood grain) by hand or pleating machine*;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 15.51.26

Binding Objects into Fabric, using shells, beads, rice, marbles, screws *, peas, sticks;

or just pinched fabric bound with rubber bands or plastic ties *;

Folded and Stitched, including Ori Nui (Running stitches parallel to fold of fabric) *;

Maki Nui or Chevron Stripes (Over-stitching the fold)*

Karamatsu or Japanese Larch (Concentric half-circles) *;

Bomaki or Pole Wrapping *,

BlogNatlDyeing2514-12-22 16.18.01

though I also tried wrapping and binding a rope *;

Katano (fabric folded and sandwiched between two polyester layers, which act as a resist) ; and

Paste Resist (Including the Nigerian adire-eleko) with flour and water applied with sponges, brushes, potato prints, wood blocks or stencils.

Methods of Dyeing: Reduction is necessary to make the insoluble indigo soluble, so it yields its wonderful colour. It does so by extracting oxygen from the dyebath, filled with a brackish-yellow liquid, streaked with blue and topped with a blueish-bronze flower. After cloth is dipped into the vat and hung out in the air, its colour changes from yellow-green to indigo blue, as oxidation occurs, bonding the colour to the fibres. Reduction is achieved by:

Chemical Fermentation with a Zinc Lime Vat;

Chemical Reduction with a Hydrosulphite Vat; and

Natural Fermentation, using a Bio Vat or a Urine Vat.

This book explains each process so well:

Making the basic bath and stock solution;

Combining the two;

Dyeing the fabric; and

Maintaining the vat, including recipes for dyeing the different natural fibres .BlogNatlDyeing2514-12-20 12.30.01-1

Post-Dyeing Treatments: Steaming; and Overdyeing and Discharging.

The author also describes a number of projects from scarves and jackets to tea cosies and cushions.BlogNatlDyeing25%Image (5)

Next week, I am continuing with some inspiring books on traditional natural dyeing.