Friday 30 October 2009

Finally¡ A decorated papers guide.


Susanne Krause is one of the paper decorators,
the technique she uses is paste papers,
more known nowadays.

I have obtained a photo of her in the fair of bookbinding of Cologne,
where she was with her papers
and with her books.

Because Susanne is versatile,she does not limit herself to paint papers,
but also she writes and publish her own books.

One of Susanne's phrases that more attracted my attention
was that one in which she mentions that
every generation loses some secret of some technique of paper decoration.
With every master who disappears
it disappears also some formidable trick that only he knew.

That's why it is so important not only to maintain the production of decorated papers,
but to spread the decorative techniques with teaching and, why not,
with the publication of works that are
the archive that we bequeath to future generations.

Susanne's first book, in collaboration with Ilona Hesse,
was a small review of the different paper decoration techniques:
On handmade decorated papers (ISBN 9783938423158),
with two editions, the first one in 2000 and the second one in 2007.

The second one a specific work on her technique:
More on paste papers (ISBN 3-938423-07-2),
published on 2005.

The third one, in 2007,
International decorated papers: beyond the sample book
(ISBN 9783938423202).
A luxurious compilation with original samples of 25 international artists.

And the fourth one …
...the fourth one is the one that I want to present to you now
and the reason of this article.

Susanne's last book,
newly published
was presented in the past Frankfurt bookfair,
a couple of weeks ago.

Decorated paper: a guide book. (ISBN 978-3-938423-17-2)

Under this simple title appears a fundamental book
for the recognition and appreciation of decorated papers,
of its diverse achievement techniques,
traditional ones and modern ones are included,
and of its designs.

The decorative techniques are not described
but the question is to recognize to which of them must belong
the paper that is possessed which could be identified
with this valuable help.

It is a field guide.

Just as a butterfly is seen in the field
and it’s made the research to identify its specie
with the help of a lepidopterous’ guide,
a decorated paper appears in the endleaves of a book,
or in another place,
that will be identified
with Susanne's new book.

The descriptions are simple and clear
and the illustrations, 113 full colored,
come from the funds of the collection of decorated papers
of the Royal Library of The Hague;
of the German Museum of the Book and Writing (Leipzig);
of the Library of the princess Ann Amalia (Weimar)
and of private collections
and artists.

The text appears in three languages:
German, Dutch and English
and was written by specialists of the mentioned institutions:
Henk Porck, Julia Rinck, Frieder Schmidt and Ida Schrijver.

Any more guarantees cannot be asked.

Nothing more than to wish an enormous success to this publication
that confirms the great interest that exists at present in this topic.

A work that should be present in any library,
private or public.

I hope that soon there could be the second edition,
with even more illustrations...

... and with the text also in Spanish,
something really easy to solve.

These books could be ordered directly to Susanne:
or by mail to

Sunday 18 October 2009

The world's most expensive book.


Some time ago I asked you to send to me photos of your works with my papers,
and there have just come to me some of them:
a wonderful work that hides a sad story.

The authors of this binding are a craftsmen's couple
living in a famous Spanish city,
one of those four or five that were more
of what they are today.

They have a small and beautiful workshop,

with a wall covered with old brick,

that enhance moreover their work.

They live of an ancient craft.

They make folders, books, diaries, agendas,

all kind of stationery objects.

Only with his hands

and with a very few things more:

paintbrushes, glue, paper, pasteboard...

They make all these objects during the year

and then they recover the investment

and slightly more to keep on living,

in the traditional Craft’s Fair

that is celebrated in its city,

as in so many others of Spain,

during Christmas.

They are doing this for years,

but every time

it is necessary to present a representative work of what they do,

and wait for the admission

and the places' draw.

This year they presented the book that you have seen,

which they protected with a coordinated box.

I love it because I know the good taste that they have,

and because I'm very proud that they were choosing one of my papers

to make this "piece".

I am sure they are artists.

Perhaps his hands, could be her inspiration.

Look at the wide band of red cloth of the box.

It is in one of the sides of the case...

... but not in the other.


Very easy.

There was no paper for any more.

Although they did not say this to me, I am sure.

So much,
as that the way of solving the problem
was a brilliant idea.

It happens many times...

the weakest point turns

into the most elegant detail.

You still ask where the sad story is

The sad story is that they could not enter the Fair,

because the admission jury stated that...

... this book with his box is not a "craft" work.

Can you can understand this?...


Certainly not.

You think the same than me.

There is no justice.


The craftsmen of this history, which only,

and neither more nor less than craftsmen it is what they are,

they have to look now for another city that receives them,

and where its bread could be gained.

In the following photo you can see one of its folders,

and a good heap of the agendas

that provides its sustenance.

I wish them to find soon the solution to its quandary.

Very happy will be the inhabitants of the city that admits them,

because they will be able to enjoy the objects of its craft.

But, if any thing twists

and bad destiny appears,

these craftsmen will have to close its workshop.

And its book and box,

the work that they presented as

the better one that could go out of its hands,

will have turned for them into


Thursday 15 October 2009

For Diane Maurer, the origin of the universe.


A very simple idea:
to throw only one drop of ox gall in the center of a tray full of colors and...
see what happens.

The drop is transformed, stretches up and down, and the result, frankly,
is not especially attractive.

But after doing the previous paper, I remembered at once the book of Diane Maurer:

(ISBN: 0823055752 / 0-8230-5575-2)
It is a fabulous book on marbling and its diverse techniques and also a guide for the achievement of diverse patterns. It is very much known in the United States, but also here, a student took it to one of my classes and asked me if it knew it.

Yes, of course, and not only I knew it, but, I must confess it and ask for excuses to Diane, for whom I wait that she should not bother for what I am going to say, I was distributing to my pupils photocopies of two pages that have me fascinated since I saw them.

Diane tells there how to turn a round drop of paint into diverse figures.
A butterfly, a fish, a hummingbird, stars and plants.
Step by step, like a cooking recipe.

I do not dare to repeat here my misconduct, but I include a sample so that you see of what I am speaking of.

This is what I wanted to do.
To throw a few drops of paint and to turn them into stars.
But with my ox gall instead of black.
I proposed myself to repeat all the forms that were appearing on these two pages and then to show them to Diane.

The star was not very complicated to make.


But when I tried the fish... what a pity.
The fact is that these things do not go out for me even with the drawing ahead.

What it went out for me looks like a stuck-up beetle.
An armoured monster.
Anything, except a fish.

You can laugh. It was what I did.
And also, after my "fish" I abandoned my photocopies.

But I kept on doing. Marbling is addictive. One cannot stop.
And better that one cannot stop, because far away from the diagrams,
figures began to appear.

A few variations on the spiral movement.

Up to arrive to something similar to a sun emerging from a blue horizon.

Of course, I went crazy with the spirals.




I couldn’t stop doing them until galaxies were appearing.

Big ones...

... little ones...

... or doubles.


Now it was to my taste.
As a "fish" in the water.

I then tried with the typical concentric circles of the marbling "test".

My wife calls this paper "the kiss", she will know why.


Spirals also can be done with this technique.


But, when one get a move on, everything is possible.
I tried with my trees, my version of the "Art Nouveau " design, now different.



And, making experiments, a tree and a spiral.

I am interested in the ox gall, I like playing with it.
It was necessary to try to paint the background that fascinates me in white,
because it could be that a soft background will heightening the figures.

Yes, it is like the magma where life floats.
Amoebae and protozoan.
Natural sciences of primary school. Almost I do not even remember.


As everything goes and comes, I kept on painting strange figures.


Combining the first model with which I began this text with figures in its interior...

... I realized how could be the origin of the universe...

... everything was born from floating colors...

... !marbling is the origin of the universe¡