And then there’s this.

You know how sometimes you have to make a neutral paper, so you can print a book? (I’m hoping I can get half of the sheets I need for my next book out of this. I don’t know what I’m going to use for the other half yet. If I can steal Julia’s leftover pulp, I know what I’m using for the covers, though…)

greyish linen/cotton

The picture is deceptively boring. It’s not nearly that plain in reality.

It will be very interesting indeed to see how it comes out texturally — half of the pulp is the same rag I used for the watermarked sheets the other day, with a much shorter beat.

Also, the first half of the rag included both pink and brown. What color did it turn? You got it: pure white. (That’s actually why I blended the two; it was too bright of a white, so I toned it down with the stuff I knew would be at least a little grey.)

This is a new one for me.

Well, sort of. I haven’t made paper like this since Alabama, and actually not even then: this is also watermarked, which I never tried down there.

The pulp:

The Pulp

(I took some excellent advice and did an almost five hour beat. It doesn’t have any knots in it, which is novel.)

The vat:

The Vat

(Almost charged. I think I dumped in another pitcher of pulp before I got started.)

The mould:

The mould

(As you can see, one of the nice ones. Man, these moulds are awesome after the first two sheets. Something weird always happens with the first two. It’s unclear why.)

The watermark:

Watermark

(Man, watermarks are fantastic.)

The failure:

The failure

(This is one of the first couple of sheets, and I have no idea why the watermark held onto the pulp, but that was the only time it happened. I bet it was something to do with my lousy shake, though.)

And the sheets in the dry box:

Thin friggin' sheet

(Surprisingly, I didn’t have any critical failures going from the post to the drying system. These might be the thinnest sheets I’ve made … uh, possibly ever.)

All in all, a pretty good day’s work, even if it is only like twelve sheets. (They drain slowly, ok?) More of the same tomorrow, and then I have another pound of the same rag to prep.

Holy crap, it’s even better than I hoped.

Would you look at how amazing this is? (The mould, if you’re curious, is an A4 from Khadi, which I have a serious love/hate relationship with.)

Wasp watermark

I actually have three watermarks to mess with, but the smaller wasp probably needs to be glued in order to function properly (guess I need to get to work making moulds) and the Marella needs a better head. But now I definitely want to make a series of Burgess Shale paper…

BLUE.

So very blue. An even more ridiculous shade than I expected, in pulp. The finished sheets should be excellent.

blue pulp

I could criticize the formation — it’s still pretty thready, and I was having a tiny bit of trouble getting even distribution. Whatever. It will be lovely anyway.

Yesterday’s paper:

blue/purple cotton

Two pounds of cotton: shredded mostly blue rag and one of the last batches of the purple stuff from a couple of years ago with a little leftover pink from the previous batch.

It was a collaborative effort, too: my studiomate J wandered over and helped with the second post. It was a good time, and she made a nice stack of very thin sheets.

I definitely need to get a different camera for this project. My phone died on Friday, and the backup I’m using is (as you can see) terrible (it’s not great as a phone, either). It may be time to start actually using a camera.

Today’s pulp is ridiculous.

Today’s paper:

Almost entirely linen, a little overbeaten, and this photo doesn’t do it justice at all. It’s gloriously minty green until you look at it closely, and then there are blue threads … no, seriously, it’s great.

Mint paper

I really need to start using a camera with a decent color sensor.

Today’s paper was pink. So pink. About half linen, half cotton, a long beat and a long time clearing, so it should be crisp and not too knotty. We’ll see.