Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Put a little leather in your...paper.

A favourite paper-making process is that of leather (also known as brayer paper, or gesso paper), and it's dead easy to create.

Start with a brush, gesso and sheet of acid-free artist tissue paper (available here in Canada from Opus) along with a a palette paper support for easy lift-off.  If you have a textured brayer, that will be handy later on!

Paint the tissue with gesso (when I'm painting a large sheet I start from the centre and move outwards to prevent tearing), let it dry, and then paint the other side in the same manner.

Once both sides of the tissue are painted with gesso, you can add colour.  Note here that if you want a thicker, more leathery-feeling paper, you can paint each side again with gesso - the more layers of gesso, the heavier the paper.  You can see my usual subtle colour below on the second side of this sheet.  Don't worry about any transfer of colour to the back - it will just get painted over.

Once the coat of colour has dried, you can add a contrasting colour with a textured brayer (I've made my own in many different types of texturing, but you can easily wrap elastics around a 'normal' brayer to add some texture to your work).

It makes a lovely pattern doesn't it, and,

with both sides of the paper painted in complementary style/colour, it makes a wonderful folded piece as well.

Do be forewarned that over time (months and years) this paper will become dry and somewhat brittle - I recommend using it as soon as possible after you make it, especially if you're looking to achieve a soft folded look.

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