Journal Quilt – E is for Experimentation, Expanding Network, Evolving Artwork

Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Books & Art Journals Portfolio, Featured Flag, Portfolio | 0 comments


Journal Quilt with Paper Cloth

Journal Quilt – E is for Experimentation, Expanding Network, Evolving Artwork, Paper Cloth 12×12″ © 2012 Diane Duncan


This was a month for experimentation, adding new people and organizations to my network and to time to get serious about some artwork.  One of my project this month was to explore the possibilities offered by paper fabric and to get ready to lead a workshop on the technique early next month. One of my samples is featured in my October journal quilt.

This journal quilt incorporates paper cloth – a technique that has been on my ‘try list’ for sometime. I’m moving to a more subtle inclusion of a journal ‘letter’.  Can you find the ‘E’ in the machine stitching on the right side of the piece?


The member show-and-tell at the FAN Retreat at the end of September, inspired me and I entered October charged up and ready to go.  One of the art groups I am participating in features member-led workshops each month.  In November, I have been asked to lead a workshop and suggested that I would research and lead a session that focused on making paper cloth/paper fabric. I had a double reason for doing this.  Not only was it a technique that has been on my ‘to-do’ list for some time, but paper cloth/paper fabric also offered a possible solution to a component of an art piece that I am working on for exhibition with another group.

One day of experimentation led to another, and in the end I have a stash of samples suggesting all sorts of future uses and projects.  I’ll share more of this in a future blog post featuring paper fabric.


Paper fabric is a technique in which you strengthen paper and expand its possible uses for  in mixed media and fiber artwork. It is also a technique that allows you to achieve some wonderful textured surfaces.  My goal was to create a surface that would replicate the bark of the aspen tree.

I used a PAV glue (part bottles of clear and white glue, Modge Podge) mixed 1:1 with water.  I’m not concerned about the finished art piece being exposed to water.  If I was preparing paper fabric for use in making a purse, I would use a glue identified as permanent and washable when dry, not a ‘washable’ school glue intended for ‘washing out’ when in contact with water.

The classic way to proceed is to saturate a piece of thin muslin with the glue:water mixture and place layers of paper on top, re-coating each layer with more glue. Threads, other paper items, trims, etc. may be trapped between the layers.  Cheese cloth may be used as a layer.  The goal is to prepare a piece of paper so that it can be used in the manner envisioned.

I made several samples of ‘paper fabric’ before I moved on to the sought after piece.  This allowed me to learn how different fabrics and papers would react in the glue solution.  To produce the bark I was seeking, I used a heavy dark green cotton fabric as a base (color shows through) and made sure that it was thoroughly saturated with glue solution before crumpling and placing sheets of parchment paper on the surface.  Because parchment paper is stiffer than the tissue paper often used, I used a brayer to make sure the two surfaces were uniformly in contact with each other.  At the same time I wanted to retain some of the creases and folds that occurred in the paper.  While the glue was still wet I used a green-brown ink spray to create the knots, some diluted white paint sprayed in other places and a foam brush to blend and ‘work’ the paint and ink in the glue until I achieved the desired result.

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