Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good Things

Before I get to the new toys, make that tools, I have acquired recently I want to invite you to check out all the new paste paper listed on my Etsy site. When you read on you will see why I have been so prolific. It’s the tools!!
It amazes me how long I let myself do things the hard way. All these years I have been working with paper and drying it on every horizontal surface I could find, mostly the floor. All that bending and making sure the paint didn’t get where it shouldn’t. Finally I broke down and bought a paper drying rack. I don’t have space for the big one I wanted so my criteria was that I had to be able to move it around and the shelves had to be flat, not at a slant so if there was a lot of soupy paste on the paper it wouldn’t drip. I decided on a portable table rack thinking I could keep it in the garage and carry it into the studio when I needed it. But it’s a bit heavy for me and awkward to carry so I wound up buying a cute red utility cart from Harbor Freight for it to live on. (The cart is a whole other story.)

Anyway, the whole set-up stays in the studio and it has to because I use it all the time now. The shelves are about an inch apart so getting a wet piece of paper on the shelf is tricky. They are hinged so they lift which makes it easier, but there you are with a wet, limp piece of paper which might take two hands to maneuver. So how to lift the shelf too.

My smart friend, Barbara, came up with hooking a bungee cord on to hold the shelves up so that two hands are enough.

I bought my rack from
It was about $175 with the shipping and it is worth every dollar.

The other tool I bought this year is a tear bar. They call it a draftsman straight edge at (this is a great place to get gorgeous book cloth too) I think has them too.

I think mine is the 36” one. Don’t even ask me why I waited so long to get this wonderful piece of equipment. The beveled edge makes such a nice torn edge on my paper when I tear it down for the pages of a handmade book. I have been using a carpenter’s square for years and it is adequate. But the tear bar is the right tool for the job.
Okay, this last one isn’t a tool, it is paper and a recent addition to stuff I have to have. Mostly I sourced this so that there is a paper that is readily available to my students who want to make paste paper at home. It isn’t as heavy as what I usually use but it works fine. It doesn’t have as much wet strength as the Superfine #100 I use but if you don’t work it to the point that it weakens and tears I think you will be happy with it. And it is inexpensive. It is Utrecht drawing paper, #70, 12” x 18” and comes in a pack of 100 sheets for $10.99.
Winter is on the way and it is a great time to get into your workroom and dive into all those art supplies you had to have but never used. Invite a friend over and share the bounty. Enjoy the freedom and play.