Community Workshop: Paste Papers (Plus Accordion Books!)

Bookbinders have been using handmade paste papers as decorative book covers and elegant endpapers for centuries. Sometimes referred to as “faux paper marbling,” paste papers are one of the oldest types of decorative paper. By building up layers of methyl cellulose-based paste and pigments onto thin sheets of paper, artisans (like you) can create rich 2 and 3-dimensional patterns.

For the first half of the workshop, students will use a variety of combs, brushes, and mark-making tools in combination with hand-mixed pigments to create a layered surface focusing on repetitious patterns, surface textures, and color layers. Through working reductively, students will use tools to scrape away layers exposing colors and patterns underneath.

During the second half of the workshop, students will learn to bind a hardcover accordion book using the paste papers that they have made. By piecing together a long sheet of paper, students will create a folded landscape that will become the “guts” of their books. Covers will be wrapped with the freshly made paste papers with each student creating a totally unique book.

This workshop is ideal for anyone interested in learning cost effective and fun ways of experimenting with materials to create decorative papers. Making paste papers is fun and addictive, so you need not be a printmaker or bookbinder to find artistic inspiration in this process. All are welcome!