New Bamboo Shoots

by Robert Thompson on 07/26/13

I have meant to add this message for the past two months and something has always come up. Back in June, I was visiting my friends at Scharko Farms. They have several stands of giant bamboo and the new shoots were all coming up. Until that day I hadn't realized that new bamboo shoots are soft - almost a rubbery texture. After getting permission, I gathered a large garbage bag full of the new shoots. Some of them had been broken off or had fallen over so I gathered those first. I took them home and easily cut them into small pieces and put them in my large pot with some lye and cook my first batch. They cooked in about two hours. The result was a velvet smooth amber pulp. Since the pulp was so fine, almost gelatinous, I expected it to be difficult to work with. Using a mold and deckle with a very fine brass screen, I pulled my first sheet. It couched easily with none of the sticking problems I anticipated.

The paper dried overnight and I was amazed by the results. The paper was very smooth and translucent and seemed very strong. I didn't realized how strong until later that same day, I tested the paper by soaking it in water. The paper kept it's shape and was completely malleable. I used an ancient textured brick to emboss an image onto the paper and it dried with a very deep and clear texture. Next, I used my etching press to imprint some images of fig and river birch leaves. The paper took the ink very well and the images on the translucent paper are beautiful.

And that same afternoon, I headed back to Scharko Farms with several buckets to gather more of the shoot. I brought them home and started quickly cooking them down. It turns out that the new shoots have a very short life span and start decaying immediately after cutting them. And they have a Terrible Smell when retting. I have four bags of the cooked pulp in the frig and am looking forward to next spring when the new shoots arrive again. I will be armed and ready to harvest. See the attached photos of the results....


Welcome to 2013

by Robert Thompson on 01/01/13

2013 is off to a good start for me. I spent several hours in the Studio this morning making my New Year's Day Paper. I start every New Year making paper - for luck. This morning I made paper from Gladiola we had brought home for our kitchen a few months ago when we had a friend over for dinner. I had been saving the cooked fibers for a special occasion. I plan to imprint the paper using cocoanut palm fronds brought as a gift from Tampa last year - then create small "scrolls" that I will bind.

This New Year really is off to a good start. I already have two workshops booked for January. Now, I need to tidy things up in the Studio. It is still a mess left over from the Holiday....

All the Best in 2013....

Jar Of Rocks

by Robert Thompson on 10/16/11

When we were in New York two weeks ago,  I found this wonderful jar of rocks in a thrift store on 17th Street. We were killing some time before dinner and went into the store on impluse. Clark spotted the jar on a shelf and pointed it out to me. I grabbed it and was thrilled. The price was 4.00 and I didn't realize the beauty of the stones until getting home and empying the jar on my worktable. It was obvious that someone had lovingly collected the stones and that through some unfortunate circumstance, they ended up in a thrift store.

I have given them a loving home and plan to use them with care in some framed pieces. They were the best souveniers I brought home. Oh, and the bag of buttons bought at Mood.


Garlic Tops & Skins

by Robert Thompson on 08/28/11

My friends from Serenbe Farms brought me bags of Garlic Tops and Garlic Skins yesterday that  they had put aside for me during the week. I put the Garlic Tops on the stove in the Studio first thing this morning. See the photos here. The Garlic Tops make a beautiful rich golden paper that is very strong. The Skins - added to the blender - make a very nice textural contrast.

I plan to make some paper using the Serenbe Garlic tomorrow and will post some photos when it is dry. The paper will be part of my new work available at next Saturday's market.

The Serenbe Market continues to be a great venue and has encouraged me to make new paper every week. I have also created new framed pieces - with new frames - using small stones my Sister sent from the Oregon Coast. I have sold 5 framed pieces with the stones so far.

More to follow.....

Serenbe Saturday Market

by Robert Thompson on 06/12/11

I did my first Serenbe Saturday Market yesterday. It was a great first time and look forward to doing many more this season. There was a great crowd of shoppers and a diverse group of Vendors. We were sandwiched between the Serenbe Farms stand on one side and The Hill Bakery on the other. Couldn't have been in better company.

We will be back at the Serenbe Saturday Market on the 25th. Stop by and say hello....