Workshop: Paste Paper with Elizabeth McKee

Event Dates:
Elizabeth McKee
Judith Jaimet Bainbridge
Skill Level:
All: This event welcomes those with all levels of experience, from those with no prior instruction to seasoned scribes.
2 of 12 seats available (0 registration pending on waiting list)
Registration for this event has closed.

Paste paper had its origins about 450 years ago when book binders added paint to their paste and used it to make patterned paper, thus creating inexpensive decorated paper for end papers. Many of us first encountered paste paper in primary school where it is known as finger painting. More recently calligraphers realized that paste makes an excellent surface on which to letter.

About Elizabeth McKee

As well as being a founding member of the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa, Beth is an award-winning book artist. Her nomad’s life has carried her from New Guinea to Australia, Iowa, Japan, Zambia, Canada, Malaysia, Florida, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Maryland, Russia and Albuquerque. Not exactly in that order. In August 2015 she moved to Albuquerque, NM where she is putting down roots. She discovered calligraphy in Japan in 1970. Was happy to rediscover it in English in 1980. In 1983, encouraged by Heather Mallett, she attended the international calligraphy convention in Chicago where she took her first bookbinding class. In 1984 she helped establish the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa and was made an honorary life member in 1990. She was introduced to paste paper on Heather's back porch one summer while on a visit from Bangladesh. She has since studied with Nancy Culmone and Madeleine Durham. She had an intensive color theory education while running a marbling studio in Nairobi, Kenya for four years. Her books are included in the collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, Harvard's Houghton Library, Queen's University's Douglas Library, Kingston, Ontario, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bowdoin College's Hawthorne-Longfellow Library as well as private collections around the world.

Materials List:
  1. Bag lunch

  2. Mug for tea/coffee

  3. Apron

  4. 5-litre bucket – Hardware stores carry them in the paint department. But Halloween buckets also work and children’s beach buckets are fine. If you need to visualize how big that is, it should hold the same amount as 5 large yogurt containers.

  5. Pencil for taking notes

  6. 2 pieces of cardboard at least A4 size (two sides of a cereal box are fine or the back of a pad of paper…)

  7. A clean shallow dish – the bottom of a roast chicken container is perfect. Or a clean small aluminum roasting pan or a plastic storage box or plastic icecream container. The should be at least 18 cm long. We will be using this for dipping your paper, so cleanliness is the operative word. I run roast chicken containers through the dishwasher and they are fine.
    If you are hoping to just work on larger sheets of paper and not make a booklet you will need a tray wide enough to accommodate your paper ¼ sheet of arches text wove is about 32 cm wide.

  8. Small containers with lids — or 6 oz containers (for cream cheese, dips and other things)—as many as you can save between now and the workshop. Or something like this. They are for taking extra paste home at the end of the day.

  9. Sickly pieces of paste paper which need rejuvenation - if you have them.

  10. Sturdy scissors for cutting up credit cards and sponges.

  11. Bone folder

  12. A few old credit cards

  13. Glue stick or double sided tape. These are for putting the books and box together. One or the other is fine.

  14. 5 mm binder clip

  15. An acrylic or plexiglass sheet at least 30 cm x 60 cm x .3cm thick. Larger is great. Some frame stores have off-cuts that you can buy. If you have one for a collapsible easel that is perfect.

  16. Rags – old towels are great – something the size of hand towels or old tea towels– for wiping off your acrylic sheet.

  17. Small piece of bubble wrap 15 x 15 cm is fine. Any kind (an assortment is great).

  18. At least two all-purpose sponges like this

  19. Drying rack for laundry. They help to keep the room organized and speed up drying. Acrylic paint will dry and won’t come off on your clothes later! Something like this – though your options are great! An alternative to the laundry drying rack is a stackable sweater drying rack. Two of these from Bed Bath and Beyond are perfect and fit right under your table, thus saving space and time running around.
    Amazon has a whole raft of choices for those of you who hate to shop in stores.

I will provide basic Golden or Liquitex acrylic colors for paste – Benzimidazolone yellow light, Benzimidazolone yellow medium, Naphthol red light, Quinacridone magenta, Ultramarine blue, Phthalo blue (green shade), Phthalo green (blue shade), Titanium white, Zinc white & Anthraquinone blue. I believe that you can mix any color with these (even black). If you have an alternative palette that you want to work with then bring your own paint to mix. I’ll have extra paste.

OPTIONAL (only if you have these things – don't go out and buy them)
  • Extra Paper – Your registration fee covers the equivalent of 4 full sheets of Arches Text Wove (some will be pre-cut for the workshop) at 64.7cm x 101.6. I will have 2 of those sheets cut into book sized pages and the rest into quarter sheets so you will get 8 quarter sheets of paper. If you work on both sides of the sheets this should be enough to occupy you for the two days. However if you paste quickly, only work on one side and do not spend time making patterns you may want to bring more paper. In my experience this is more than enough for the workshop. Most people take the quarter sheets home to make more paste paper.

  • Tweezers for picking imperfections like stray hairs or paste lumps out of your wet paste.

  • Colored paper if you want to test it.

  • Odd papers that you would like to test out.

  • Spray bottles.

  • Sponge brushes — assorted sizes.

  • Brayers.

  • Rubber stamps –Just keep in mind that your space is half of table and you do need to work on a part of it.

  • Anything else you want to make marks with. By the end of day one you will probably think of things at home that you can bring on day 2.

  • If pasting paper is not new to you bring your favorite supplies that you have collected over the years.

Supply Fee: The supply fee for this workshop has been included as part of the registration fee for more convenient payment.

Member Fees:

A discounted rate for CSO Members.

This amount is payable no later than 26 days before the event. Unpaid fees may result in the forfeiture of your seat, and your deposit.

$230.00 due upon registration
Non-member Fees:

Non-members must pay the full workshop price.

This amount is payable no later than 26 days before the event. Unpaid fees may result in the forfeiture of your seat, and your deposit.

$260.00 due upon registration

Parking is available to front, right, and rear of building. An elevator is available for accessibility.