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What's cooking in the studio? Part 2

All the eco-dyeing I did from May through August gifted me with a heap of beautiful botanical contact printed paper. So what to do with this hoard? Some days I just enjoy looking through my stash, feeling the texture of the various papers and reveling in the colors and lovely marks – but there are endless ways to take this to another level.

The first thing I tried was making some small handmade books (and along the way, learning how to do a Coptic stitch binding!) The first one, like the first few attempts at eco-dyeing, was a little rough, but I could see the potential.

I tried some concertina books, and maze books (made with one large sheet of paper, strategically folded and cut)

And several small sketchbook/journals, with botanical contact print covers and drawing paper inside… (and my Coptic stitch technique was improving!)

Some pieces of the eco-dyed paper made nice cards

And finally, botanical contact printed paper is an amazing surface for drawing, painting, and printing. The changes that take place during the boiling process make the fibers of the paper even more receptive to ink, watercolor and other mediums. I especially liked using it with printmaking processes, and I made quite a few prints in various combinations of collagraph, drypoint, and chine-colle, with the botanical contact printed paper as the base sheet.

Most of these prints were quite small – I was preparing for a show in which all the works were

5” x 5”. (Both books and prints went over well at that show, I'm happy to say!)

As summer winds down, I still have many sheets of eco-dyed paper just waiting for something else to happen on them. I’m envisioning future works in a larger format. Imagine the possibilities!

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Kathleen Piercefield

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