Papermaking for a Purpose workshop review

“Papermaking For A Purpose”

Workshop Report

For those papermakers amongst us who have been aiming to organise some of our resources more efficiently, what better way to spend a day than testing out a variety of useful pulps and creating a handsome, practical, sample book as reference for the future?

Such was the opportunity presented in this recent workshop.

Perfect papermaking conditions prevailed out at the Stables- a notably still, warm Autumn day, spent beneath blue skies and sunshine and under the guidance of our competent teacher Barb Adams. Engaging, fun, articulate and highly organised, Barb once again displayed her natural skills.


Multiple papermaking stations were ready upon arrival, information packs assembled, plus a helpful poster on display and preassembled format book, ready for easy referencing.

It was also great to meet with new and eager participants in the class. Through their curiosity and questioning, inquiring minds were able to unravel background information and thereby enhance knowledge relevant to our craft.

After brief introductions, we set about a round robin of demonstrations and making our samples so that they would be out drying before lunchtime.

Six stations were allocated to work at.

These included:

making pocket pages,

casting and embossing,

printing photos paper,

paper with inclusions,

cards with windows and

kozo for transparent laminations.

We discussed compositions of pulps to create different performance qualities, the purpose of size, use of fillers, storage of pulps, couching, cloths/felts and pressing options.

Indulged as we were, Barb had prepared all pulp varieties in advance for our workshop but nonetheless, explained the ease of beating at home by using a Café style vitamiser.

At each demonstration table, papermaking terminology was explained and a few historical anecdotes were thrown in for good measure.

This workshop proved to be an all-in-one hit, including papermaking from the basics to more sophisticated treatments with some fundamental bookbinding thrown in later in the day.

Participants enjoyed the use of Marianne Little’s tiny sets of moulds and deckles to great effect. To accompany these, Barb had thoughtfully cut up small blanket pieces for pocket making and miniature sponges which could be used to ease newly formed sheets off moulds. From string and gauze, to felted placemats, leaves, keys and feathers, we had everything we needed to play to our hearts content.

But, with a clear, time frame in place, after lunch we sat down to stitch and bind our concertina book structures. I did enjoy the intuitive approach to making covers for our books. There was not a ruler or pencil for marking to be seen. The size of the text block with lovely, deckle edges, acted as our guide. This style of binding could be used anywhere, anytime without the need for elaborate tool kits.


Into the afternoon we were encouraged to write personal notes directly into our books and glue relevant slips of printed information onto our pockets thus providing instant gratification! No blank page syndrome to overcome.

At our leisure, we expanded our sample range of sheets at the vat, so that our books could become more comprehensive.

As a student, each of us left feeling very satisfied with the day’s achievements.

With a lot of forward planning involved, special thanks to Barb from all of the attendees and to our Workshop organiser Gail along with POV helpers who made this event possible.

Text and Photographs by Christine Smith