Monday, 24 August 2009

August part 2

Today, Helen showed us how to do Orizomegami. It's a method of dyeing folded rice paper with water-based dyes to give complex patterns. We each folded rectangles of two different weights of rice paper into small parcels. We dipped them quickly into a bowl of water to dampen the paper, and then dipped the edges or corners of the packets into bowls of ordinary food colouring. (Wear gloves! Food colouring loves to dye human skin!)

Then we pressed the packets between two small sheets of stiff cardboard and carefully unfolded the wet paper using tweezers or a paper knife. The paper can tear quite easily, depending on the weight of the paper. Then we laid the sheets out to dry.

The way the parcels were folded affected the pattern. We were also struggling with Sydney's spring winds, which chose today to arrive, and some drying sheets were splashed with falling droplets, which added to the interest. We also saved the drips from when the papers were pressed between the cardboard, and it gave interesting semi-blended colours, not always the brown that might have been expected. Although we all started with exactly the same papers and colours, it's remarkable how different they all are.

Here are Beverley's:

and Carol's:

These are Helen's own:

These were a collaborative effort for Tricia:

And these were Nola's:

See, all different! You can see the fold marks (this is a feature of this kind of paper dyeing) and how the folds affected the way the colour went into the paper. It's a very interesting technique, and easy to do with the minimum of materials. We talked about ways to use the papers. Obviously, most paper uses would be fine, but you could also adhere the paper to a cloth backing with diluted PVA glue, which would make the paper robust enough for stitch.

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