Artichoke paper – part two

The quest to make paper from what i find around me continues…


Now that the fibres have been cleaned and steeped, i gave them a bit of a jzijz, with the blender and we then pressed what water we could get out of them.


The frame was made from found fabric and wood, and fits perfectly in the sink


Then add the fibre…and after a few tries we get the fibre, mesh and paper pulp mixture correct and start to make paper.


Once the pulp is ready the making process begins!


After going through this lengthy process i reflected on the effort going into making paper and asked helena ‘why would anyone do this’, her reply ‘well i guess it’s preferable to chewing bark’, she has a point!


The rhythm of Guardia

Walking around Guardia at different times of day has given me a small insight into how the residents spend their time together.

Mornings are busy. From as early as 0600 people are going to work, doing chores, going to market and out and about. The day starts with the sound of the vegetable man calling out on his loud speaker that he is in town, bin collection trollies bump over the cobbled streets (EVERYTHING is collected on a complicated weekly rotation). I guess this early start is to do with the temperature of the day as it gets really hot in the afternoon. Ive been trying to get as much done as possible in the mornings as well as any trips outside Guardia before it gets too hot.

Around 1300 – 1330 shops close and the town changes dramatically. The streets are quiet, the crane stops moving, the builders stop shouting and the streets are only filled with sunshine.

Guardia’s people seem to have lunch and then a siesta, something i’d like to take home with me to Scotland! A bite to eat, lay down, read a book and have a snooze, a perfect way to break up the day. After siesta Guardia is beautiful, it is the best time to go out for taking photographs of the medieval town and also for getting some work done.

By 1600 it is no longer ‘bon jorno’ or ‘bon jour’, which they say in Guardia dialect, but ‘Bona sera’ and this is a great time for walking about seeing what people are up to and catching up on news of the town.

As you walk around you see the older men and women doing their hobbies, crochet for the women and botchie or petanque for the men, but equally bus stop or shop front ‘newsing’ is an art in itself.

People eat late in Guardia, often as late a 2200 if you’re out for a meal! As those who know me, they wont be surprised that i’ve yet to last until that late to have my dinner!

The town is quiet again by 2300 and the day starts again, only 6 hours to sunshine…

Painting with plants

Over the past few days i have been finishing the dyeing and watercolour experiments. It seems to be going well. The colours are surprisingly rich in both watercolour and dyeing, although it’s usually the plants you least expect to give colour that give you the best.


The growing collection of experiments.


One of the richest colours, particularly good on silk.


Watercolour painting with plants….


The next stage is to work our how i’ll bring everything together and also prepare the stones, collected from my walks, into oil paint!

Artichoke paper – part one

During my second colourful and busy trip to the market in Telese, we purchased our weekly vegetables, found and haggled for some Guardia commune crochet doilies and a table cloth and made our obligatory trip to Lidl!

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This afternoon Helena and I decided to try out making paper with plants. About a week ago, an artichoke plant was cut down and has since been drying in the garden adjacent to the apartment I’m staying in.



A very statuesque plant indeed with the purple flowers at the front.


Preparing the plant,

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Making an artichoke ‘soup’, smells a little like curry….


Next stage involves leaving to cool and preparing the fibres for paper making. I think that will be a job for tomorrow as we’re off to ‘night of the witches’ in Guardia

The colours of Guardia

Brilliant morning walking with Vittorio, our amazing guide of all things natural, he’s been a fantastic help with locating different stone types, interesting soil colours, fresh figs and plums to pick and the most beautiful walks.


Beautiful flowes and plants to dye with from maria pia’s garden last night, she also makes the most fantastic organic bread, mmmmmm chocolate, nuts and orange, mmmmm!


Results from the beetroot wars…..alkali water here in Guardia, needed a little adjustment with some vinegar!


Next thing to look at……the stones collected from our walks with vittorio, i think there are fossils and iron in them, pretty to look at but a bit hard to grind down…..i found some copper oxide on an old drain and charcoal on the gorge walk today…..the iron oxide experimenting is coming on nicely for watercolours and i’ll be preparing the soils and rusted iron for some egg tempera over the next week…


This week i’ll be experimenting, connecting with the community and the Guardia area. Next week I’m looking forward to some collaboration, painting and more exploring with the artists already here and Kim Habers, from Holland, who arrived today, have a look at her work, it is amazing!