Printed matter, including books, was cast as the sacrificial lamb in our digital revolution. Thankfully this revolution had a counter-revolution and the art form of printing and bookbinding is alive and well. Dating back to the eighteenth century, paste paper is an ancient art form used in bookbinding for the embellishment of book covers. Today paper patterns are printed by machine but originally they were hand painted, illustrating beautifully organic marbling effects. Just imagine then that each book was unique with no two in a series being exactly alike, it’s no wonder their owners considered their books a coveted treasure.
Most of us have experienced the technique of paste paper painting today in the form of finger painting. Revisiting the 400-year-old (and still counting) technique over the weekend was pure joy. The biggest challenge was holding back; it was so fun and easy to do that I had to restrain myself, otherwise I would have ended up with way more paste paper then I’ll ever know what to do with.
One part cornstarch + one part water + random kitchen tools + a pinch of paint = absolutely delicious results!