A friend of mine set up a series of monthly art classes. Those who were interested could sign up for one or all. I obviously chose all. Today was our first day. The classes are held in a small studio located about 40 minutes north of where we live. Remember, we live in the middle of no where and everything is at least a 30 minute drive for us.
We had taken an art class at the same studio earlier in the year and it was packed! The primary focus of this artist is clay and pottery and the kids were given as much clay as they wanted to that day to create as many things as they wanted. Not bad for $10/child!
Today our focus was on papermaking. There were only seven students total so it was much easier to move around and snap photos of the process – which I did.
The artist (Karen) already had the paper pulp ready to go. She did give a short mini-lesson on the history of paper and what it was made from. Living in Maine, most of the kids understand that it’s made from trees. In fact, two of the towns we frequent often for various things have large paper mills in them and large amount of families in Maine are supported by the paper and logging industries.
She took each child through the process so that they would know how to do it. One thing I love about these classes is that she doesn’t take a lot of “talking time.” She even said that herself. She likes to show the process and then pretty much let the kids have at it. She then can go around and help as needed.
Here is Conductor going through the papermaking process….
Step #1 – Scoop up some water and pulp on to your screen.
Step #2 – Remove the top part of the frame (the deckle?) and make sure your pulp mix looks good to you. This is also where you could add larger pieces of pulp or make “windows” in the paper (i.e. holes) for added interest.
Step #3 – Flip the screen and remaining piece of wooden frame over on to a piece of scrap wood. Karen said she was trying to figure out a way for the kids to be able to take all their paper home on that day. She ended up going to the transfer station (i.e. dump) and scavenging some large pieces of wood. We all left with the back of our vehicles filled with scraps of wood with paper drying on them.
Step #4 – Rub your hands along the screen with the frame still in place to remove some of the water. (No photo of this step.)
Step #5 - Remove the other piece of the frame. Place a large piece of white felt on top of the screen and begin patting it to remove as much water as possible from the paper.
Step #6 – Check to make sure the paper will remain on the wood by lifting the screen. If not, continue patting the felt until drier. Remove felt. Slowly peel screen off.
And there you have it – a piece of paper!
This is a piece of paper that Karen passed around at the start of the class. It looks like mulberry paper (for those who scrapbook or card make) but it’s heavier.
Yes, Happy and Lego-Man had a blast making paper too. In fact, Lego-Man made about six sheets! Near the end I even got in on the act. I love doing things like this.
I can’t wait until next month. We’re going to be doing “pottery vessels” and I hear tell we get a turn at the wheel!
I forgot to mention that we also had our second piano lesson following art class. I had packed lunch and we had some time to kill so we headed to a local park to play. Some of our friends from class came with us so our "unsocialized" homeschoolers had a chance to work on those oft neglected social skills. Sorry - I know - the sarcasm just comes out like that at times.
The kids had a fantastic time as did I - getting to chat with another mom - even if it was about co-op planning. ;-)