Pattern Print Lace ~ A Collaboration of Design & Nuance

Pattern Print Lace

Pattern Print Lace

Papermaker Bridget O’Malley and printmaker Amy Sands explore the interplay of print, paper and image.

Their work was featured in Surface Design Association’s Winter 2018 Journal “Family Matters: SDA International Exhibition in Print.”

Pattern Print Lace

Innerweave II (detail) with black background shows the translucency of the fiber.

Bridget and I created a series of laser cut patterns mixed with printmaking on handmade paper.

Remembering time spent in Tokyo, where I came across lace washi papers, we decided to continue our collaboration with this in mind.

Pattern Print Lace

After rinsing away the excess fiber through the vinyl tablecloth, the lace pattern is imparted into the paper. In this image, the stencil is being removed from the paper, revealing the design.

As a papermaker, I’ve been interested in watermarks for a long time. The thin and thick areas of watermarked paper seemed perfect for continuing our exploration.

We tried several versions of watermark screens, from screenprint emulsion to mounting lace placemats directly on the paper mould and forming paper on top of them.

Pattern Print Lace

It is amazing how this very thin paper holds together.

Blow-outs are essentially the opposite of a watermark.

You start with a full, solid sheet of paper, and place a stencil on it (in this case, vinyl lace tablecloths), then with a spray of water, rinse away the fiber that isn’t covered by the stencil.

Conceptually it seemed it should work, but technically there were many finicky issues to resolve. Some of the paper was larger than 3 x 5 feet, so just making the basic sheet evenly was a challenge.

In the end became a trial and error process of figuring out how thick/thin the paper needed to be, the correct mix of fibers (we used abaca and kozo), how much water pressure to rinse the excess fiber from the stencil, how to know when to stop rinsing and not wash away too much fiber.

Pattern Print Lace

The lace paper is translucent and flexible.

We seem to have come up with the right mixture of fiber disbursement, pressure of spray and even the shape of the spray (circular fine is best!) to produce this delicate, almost weightless paper.

While it rivals the consistency of a machine-made lace washi paper, we are enjoying the slight nuances that only a hand-made sheet can provide.

Pattern Print Lace

Innerweave I lays on the table after completion.

The fragments are also quite interesting on their own. They remind me of old and tattered linens and laces.

Perhaps they will become pages for small edition,one-of-a-kind artist book. Nothing goes to waste.

Any unused scraps can be re-pulped and made into a new sheet of paper, starting the process over again.

Pattern Print Lace

Innerweave I (detail).

Amy Sands & Bridget O’Malley


Amy’s work will be included in Winter Blues (group show) at Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY (through March 6, 2019), the 4th Global Print 2019, in Douro, Portugal (Aug 1–Sept 30, 2019), and the 10th International Printmaking Biennial Douro 2020, Douro, Portugal (Aug. 10–Oct. 31, 2020). IG: @printmaker FB: Amy Sands-Artist

Bridget’s work will be included in the Hennepin County Central Library (group show) Nature & the Book, Minneapolis, MN (Sept 10–Oct 30, 2019). Bridget is also teaching a week-long Papermaking Intensive at Minnesota Center for Book Arts June 10-14, 2019. IG: @omalleybridget

To read more about Amy & Bridget’s work, check out their Winter 2018 Journal, “Family Matters: SDA International Exhibition in Print.”

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden