John Babcock

Postal Codenull
Phone Number831-476-6302

First interest in hand papermaking process: 1973

First piece of handmade paper: 1973

First handmade paper artwork: 1974

Beginning of active practice: 1974


Click on an image for the full view.

John's Work in Hand Papermaking:

  1. Artist who uses handmade paper for book arts
  2. Artist who uses papermaking for three-dimensional work
  3. Artist who uses papermaking for two-dimensional work

John's Introduction to Hand Papermaking:

  1. In-house research (personal experimentation)

Influences on John's Work in Hand Papermaking:

Publications initially important to John:

Publications eventually important to John:

Countries where John's studied:

Raw materials used by John in Hand Papermaking:

Chemicals used by John for cooking fibers in Hand Papermaking:

Used Sometimes
Used Rarely

Tools and methods used by John for beating in Hand Papermaking:

Used Routinely
  1. other : Babcock/Matag Mixer illustrated in Jules Heller Book " Papermaking"1978, Babcock Bucket Beater, illustrated in Anne Vilsboll book "Papir Mageri" 1990
Used Rarely

Style of sheet forming used by John in Hand Papermaking:

Used Sometimes
Used Rarely

Years teaching hand papermaking: 1975- 2012

Teaching formats used by John:

John's Income Contribution from Hand Papermaking:

  1. some


Although I’ve always made some sheets in the traditional way with a vat of pulp, and a mould and a deckle, my main interest when I was starting out was using the pulp much like clay, laying out thick flat slabs of earth colored pulp on plastic surfaces and manipulating them while they were wet, then left to dry. This was a process I named free-casting. The pulp was cast without a mould. Over a period of years, more color was introduced to the pulp and other fibers added to my repertoire. Many new techniques of pulp manipulation have been developed over the years. The paper that I make for my artwork is made from cotton, a seed fiber, abaca, from the stalk of a certain banana tree; and kozo, from the bark of the mulberry tree. I have found that different fibered papers reflect and absorb light in dissimilar ways so I combine dissimilar fibers to take advantage of these inherent qualities when I am building an art piece of paper. The pulp is prepared by mixing the fiber in water in various mixers or beaters in the studio. The natural pulp is then pigmented with artists’ pigment in the mixer. These batches are in turn, intermixed to a specific hue. It is not unusual to have more than fifty colors mixed for a specific artwork. Then on large flat surfaces in the studio the colored pulps of various types are manipulated and the art piece is built step by step. Sometimes large 48-60 inch sheets are poured and collaged together so that the finished piece is multiple layers of multi-colored, multi-fibered sheets All these various techniques are just tools to build a pattern of reflected light and document my visual ideas in colored paper. personal discoveries of light and paper It was 1980 and I had just started working in my new Santa Cruz studio. I had bought some abaca pulp from Elaine Koretsky, which she had recently imported from the Philippines. I was preparing for a show of prints and paper works and decided to use the abaca for the border of a print using cotton pulp for the image area. When the series of papers was complete, I was awe struck on how the pigmented white cotton part of the sheet seemed to float off the surface of the surrounding abaca. This discovery of the way these different fibers reacted to light has propelled me forward. Soon after, I made my first white on white striped piece using alternate bands of white abaca and white cotton. I enjoyed the effect that in certain light the white area was solid yet if you walked past the piece the stripes became quite evident. This effect also happened when I changed the direction of the light or from morning to night when light in a room gradually shifted.