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From Pulp to Painting all the way to Dallas!

Last year was for me not only a year of learning, but also of daring to do new things. One of the "things" I did was to raise funds to travel to Dallas, Texas to take an art workshop, with artist Michelle Belto. She was offering her 3-day workshop, From Pulp to Painting: Explorations in Paper and Wax, at the Encaustic Center in Dallas and I was dying to take it. However, since I didn't have the means to do it, and was very afraid to take a plane on my own to travel by my self to a new city and meet with people that I've never met before, I decided to leave it to destiny.... In this way, I made an open call to raise funds here in my blog and on Facebook and Twitter. I figured, if I raised enough funds to go, it means it's okay to do it and everything was going to be fine, and it did!!! What an amazing experience.

The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one's self to destiny. ~Napoleon Bonaparte

So, here there are some images of my trip and workshop...

At the hotel in Dallas and ready to start the 3-day workshop!
Of course, with all those highways I got lost the first day!
Fortunately I left the hotel with plenty of time and got to the Encaustic Center with plenty of time!
With Michelle Belto (left) and Bonny Leibowitz (right) from the Encaustic Center
During the workshop we worked with two types of pulp, Cotton and Abaca:

Cotton linter pulp: Silky and short fiber
"This pulp is produced from the short seed hairs of the cotton plant, Gossypium sp and is a strong, versatile fiber that comes in many forms. When cotton is ginned, the long staple fibers are separated from the seeds (Raw Cotton) and most of this fiber is used in the textile industry to make cloth. Then the seed is further processed in a machine called a "linter", which removes the rest of the seed hairs (the closer to the seed, the shorter the fiber). The first pass of the seed through the linter machine results in 1st cut cotton linter; the next pass produces 2nd cut cotton linters. The 1st cut, therefore, is a longer fiber than the 2nd cut. Cotton linters pulp has been cooked, bleached, beaten, and then made into compressed sheets. Both types of cotton linters have a shorter fiber length than abaca, and paper made from them will show watermarking and laid & chain lines extremely well."

Abaca pulp (Manila Hemp): long fiber, strong
"Abaca is the Philippine word for Manila hemp, the fiber that comes from the stalk of a special type of banana tree, Musa textilis. This fiber came into use in the U.S. primarily for the making of tea bags, which required a thin, porous paper capable of withstanding hard use. Abaca paper has incredible "wet strength", even before the sheets of paper have been pressed and dried. This enables the artist/papermaker to pick up a wet, newly formed sheet of paper and manipulate it into any shape without tearing the sheet."

Taken from... The Carriage House Paper and Twin Rocker Papermaking Supplies . Check out their websites for more info or to order supplies.

Combining both pulps, Cotton linter and Abaca, makes a very strong paper, light weight, porous and rigid. Perfect for Encaustic. So that's what we did!

DAY 1 & 2: we made paper! We discovered ways that paper can be wrapped, glued, pulped, and pulp painted. We also learned to work sculpturally with high shrinkage paper (Abaca pulp) and found forms for casting. In the afternoon of DAY 2 and DAY 3 we applied various encaustic processes to the paper supports we have made, including wax glazes, dry brush accretion, layering and scraping. We also used mixed media techniques including collage, embedding, stamping, etc, and we gave some finishing touches to our sculptures...

To make the paper we used a combination of both, Cotton and Abaca pulps.

Fighting the 60 miles/hr wind,
getting my hands in the pulp to break it!
Once the paper was cast,
Michelle demonstrated how to glue it around the foam core board.
NOTE: It's always preferable to use archival quality foam core board.
Here are some of the supports I prepared
adding elements to the pulp when casting the paper
to get different effects and relief
Now that my supports are dried, we are ready to start waxing!!
...for this one I added green tea leaves to the pulp when making the paper
...and this is the end result after adding several layers
of beeswax, resin, pigments and oil stick
We also learned another technique for making paper to create textured surfaces, by adding the pulp directly into the form and pressing in with a sponge to remove the excess water...

Michelle explaining the process
...and this is one of the supports I made using this method:
I glued cut pieces of foam core to the board to add relief to its surface.
With this method, we can't wrap the paper around the foam core board as we did before. Instead, it's left to look like a deckle edge finish.
Oops! there goes my deckle edges!
It was the first time I used the blow torch and I almost burnt the whole thing!
Michelle demonstrating pulp painting.
At the end of DAY 2... works in different stages of completion.
On the right you can see my pulp painted piece.
In the front/center a relief piece I did pressing the pulp
directly into a mold and I embedded rusted nails too.

Here is my pulp painting as I was working on it.
I have sprayed watercolor to intensify some of the colors
and have added a few layers of encaustic medium
At my studio I finished this piece, adding a few more layers of encaustic medium. Porous paper absorbs, so we have to be careful not to fuse too much or it will absorb the medium. Here's my finish painting:
Abaca, cotton, pigments, watercolor, beeswax, resin (Damar)
(c) Corina S. Alvarezdelugo
 *This piece was sold at Perspectives/Perspectivas, the exhibition that I curated at Arte Gallery last year. 

Working sculpturally on paper using Abaca pulp:
Michelle explaining how to make 3-D pieces with paper
Abaca has a longer fiber strength than cotton and it shrinks
hence the T pins to hold the shape while it dries.
Also using Abaca pulp, I inserted crusted nails within
and pinned it to a foam core board to hold it in place while drying
Back at my studio, I combined both pieces I did using the rusted nails into one artwork...
Abaca, cotton, rusted nails, beeswax, resin, pigments on wood panel
(c) Corina S. Alvarezdelugo
...the one on top was done by pressing cotton and Abaca pulp into a form, the one at the bottom is the Abaca piece above this image.
This is the 3-D sculpture I started using Abaca pulp.
After the paper had dried I dripped Encaustic medium
while upside down. Love the end result!
I posted an image of the finished sculpture in my last post,  Wax and Sculpture since earlier times!

Michelle wrapped up the workshop with a demo on how to frame and package our works. She has everything down to a tee. Very organized and precise.
Followed by a show and tell discussion and we got see everyone's works. Love show and tell time! Don't you? You get to see not only their works but also hear them talk about their works and process.
 Back at the hotel, the restaurant chef who knew about my food allergies, kept making me the most delicious meals. Here's his Tortilla Soup, a Texas specialty!!
Just delicious!!!
Bye-Bye Dallas, thanks for everything!!!
Despite all the fears, I'm so glad I got to come!!

I had so much fun during those three days that, when Michelle Belto told me she wanted to come to CT to teach her Paper + Wax 3-day workshop, I offered her my studio. Therefore, she's coming in April to teach it, so don't miss this unique opportunity and contact me at:

CorinaStudioGalley [at] gmail [dot] com 

For more info check out my Guest Artist Workshops Tab (above)

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