Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Paper Table Cover


I go round and round about how to use the dining room. It’s a dynamite work space, but using it for production displaces my social life. The long table is a good piece of wood that’s been waxed to protect the open grain. The surface is convenient, gorgeous when fresh, resilient, and easy to restore. I do not, however, want to challenge it with the ink that is my life’s blood.

In my modest neck of the arts, thick white paper is the standard for protecting work surfaces. I learned to call it butcher paper, but the nomenclature has morphed into craft paper. It’s a ritual joy to cover a work surface with a couple of layers of fresh paper. I now use double-sticky tape to adhere the paper to the edges of the work surface. I could use a gritty nail buffer along the outer edge to abrade/trim surplus paper into a soft edge, although this time I simply used an X-Acto knife.

I realized that topping the table with a fresh piece of craft paper will do for a casual meal, and any tablecloth will serve as easily over paper as it does over the wood itself. A paper cover develops a personal history, like a pair of jeans. It’s a joy to write on the tablecloth at mealtime. Doing so used to be standard procedure at business lunches served on white cotton tablecloths, until ballpoint ink replaced fount and it became impossible to get a cloth clean.

It’s bad form to eat in a studio-the risk is to the work and to the health of the eater. However, I use no toxins and plan to keep the butter, mortal enemy of paper art, under control.

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