Liz-Powell-Powell Cord Binding

Joomchi Book – paper felting in medieval form with Liz Powell

Course Overview

This 3 day fibre art workshop is all about experimenting with the interaction of paper and stitch and how far the combination can be pushed using joomchi samples to create a medieval style bound book.

Joomchi is a traditional Korean technique, a type of paper felting, that I give a distinctly Australian twist to using handmade paper of all sorts and done with the feet and power tools to make it less hard on the hands! Layering the paper and combining it with stitch and found objects, recycled artworks and threads creates new voids and shapes, combining our papers at the end to make composite books with corded medieval spines with joomchi-ied inserts and covers.

Teacher Profile


I live on the Northern Tablelands of NSW and over the last thirty five years I have been acquiring a spectrum of media and techniques I use in exhibition work and teaching. As an art educator I have a great time introducing others to the joy of “if it works use it” and I certainly follow that mantra in my own work.

I usually work with paper, my own plant fibre product as well as commercially made, but I will stitch, print, draw, paint, dye, glue, rivet or construct to communicate the idea I am working on. This can also include found objects, metal, fabric and fibre.

The process of making paper from plant fibre is labour intensive and can include exciting adventures in harvesting (braving spiders, snakes and curious council workers), washing fibre in my trusty twin tub, beating (a baseball bat is useful when the Hollander Beater is acting up) and finally forming sheets. It is immensely rewarding and is one of the many things I love to teach.

Paper makers often become book binders and I am no exception. I make Artists Book as I pursue an idea, usually with much research, but I also make books just for the joy of the materials I can mix and for fun with the form. My repertoire includes traditional forms taken with a twist, altered books changed in all sorts of ways, three dimensional and action books, and generally stretching the definition of the book.

Three dimensional construction is a natural partner with books and paper but can of course be pursued in its own right. I combine my papers with mixed media and push the idea of container as far as it will go. The ‘boxes’ may unfold into segments, expand or collapse, have drawers doors and compartments, contain other books, modelling and casting elements, combined with found objects and fibre, and be all sorts of forms from satchels to suitcases.

The range of media I work with feeds into my ‘palette’ which is in effect the walls of my studio. I may not have a specific idea in mind but I rarely throw any experiments away and eventually everything gets used. All this adds up to a wide experience in mixed media forms. Coupled with my broad experience as an art educator I am able to offer workshops for beginners and the more experienced in a variety of techniques. Click Workshop at the top of this page for an overview and more details.

It has also meant the production of a diverse body of work for exhibition but my work always has a basis of research at its core and an abiding interest in history and science, often combined. I am deeply interested in looking at the history of an idea, the growth of human knowledge and how it affects our interpretations of the world. Click Gallery tab at the top of this page for an overview.

I like to be busy which is fortunate.

Materials List

Students Requirements list: Joomchi Cover and a Medieval Book

  • A water squirt bottle (you will be using this a lot)
  • 2 pieces of core board approximately A3 size and about 3- 5 mm thick. This is the kind of plastic board with a corrugated centre that real estate agents and political parties use for signs so you might be lucky to get some for free. It can be purchased from Bunnings cheaply but may be worth asking your local art shop or real estate
  • A piece of dowel rod approximately 35mm diameter (a bit thicker than a broom handle) and about 60cm long
  • Bubble wrap – you go through a fair amount of this. If you can, bring at least 4 metres of the smaller rather than the larger bubble. If you are buying it off a roll from an office supplier (usually the cheapest way) and it is a meter or more wide, then at least 3 metres
  • A roll of packaging tape or wide sticky tape, about 5cm wide
  • Scissors
  • A heavy duty garbage bag
  • Things that you already have that you would like to experiment embedding e.g. Art works you might like to incorporate (prints, drawings), threads, fibres, old chalk pastels, dried leaves and flowers, silk and other fabric bits, feathers, rusty nails, string, found paper, handmade paper, oriental papers (often available in gift shops and handicraft stores as well as stationers and art suppliers), coloured tissue paper, handmade papers you may have bought or made yourself

Note: avoid paper with heavy textures as lumps and bumps tend to trap air bubbles

  • If you have them – Drawing mediums like chalk pastels, charcoal and water proof pens (but I will also have some available). You don’t have to think you can draw to use these successfully in this technique.
  • A small range of cords for binding across a book spine –they may be left visible so can be decorative but they need to be aprox 30 centimetres long and you need 3 or 4 depending on your design choices e.g. rattail, handmade cords or string, venetian blind cord, cotton rope (diameter aprox 1cm or smaller). If you would like to learn how to make your own cords bring along some heavy embroidery threads and /or 6 stranded cotton. It will work providing it has no stretch.
  • Aprox 200ml of a white PVA craft glue ( a small container of fast drying or 5 minute drying PVA such as Tacky Glue by Hellmar is also handy)
  • a stiff brush to apply the glue
  • Chux or similar for clean up and wiping off excess glue
  • A small assortment of junk jewellery – time to go through the bead box and jewellery chest! e.g. earrings, old neck chains, pendants, belt buckles, bracelet components, interesting buttons and beads.
  • A craft knife or scalpel with spare blades
  • A cutting board, preferably with centimetres marked on it. Small size is fine. I will have some spares
  • A good quality steel ruler, 30cm is fine. Please note: thin flimsy steel rulers are not a good safety cutting edge so a good one from a hardware shop is advised. I will have some spares.
  • An assortment of paper to make your book pages out of. This may be recycled artworks if the paper is not too thick (e.g. 300gsm water colour paper is way too thick!), photocopy paper 90gsm to 120gsm is a good general guide to useable weights and can be bought in packs of 20 if you would like parchment texture etc, wrapping paper, craft paper, prints, old book pages. Commercial or Handmade paper if you have it.
  • A sketch book or pad with a sturdy cardboard back. You will be cutting up the back for covers and using the paper for planning and possibly as book pages. Bookbinders cardboard or box board may also be available at the Traders Hall
  • A small to medium G or F clamp (I will have some spares)
  • Threads for stitching your book pages e.g. linen, cotton, hand embroidery thread
  • A basic sewing kit – a variety of needles, sewing and embroidery threads, pins, a thimble e.g. milliners straws are good and available in medium and large from Lindcraft and Spotlight
  • Scissors

You might like to bring the following if you already have it, only if you have it

  • A bone folder (I will have spares)
  • quick setting Araldite and a disposable plastic dish, plate, old tile and a paddle pop stick or similar for mixing
  • Surface finishing media e.g. metallic polishes like Treasure Gold, metallic gouaches, ink
  • 2 small pairs of pliers, the cheapest you can find will work (e.g. from the craft aisle of Lindcraft or Spotlight), so you can dismember the jewellery. I will have some spares


I will provide for a materials fee of $15

Antique Surface finishes and colouring agants -Walnut gall ink, shellac, Cold wax for polishing, pastel, gouache, watercolours

Fast drying araldite

Lohkta and kozo paper. I will also have my handmade paper available for purchase A3 for $5 per sheet

Extra scalpels, blades, rulers, cutting boards bone folders

Waxed paper and glad wrap

Use of Tools for clasps – Cord winder, cordless drill, Bench vice, jewellers saw for cutting up jewellery as necessary, pliers, wire and sheet metal cutters, hammers

The use of a simple book stitching frame for each student that will be available for purchase at the end of the workshop for $15

Workshop Terms

While our fibre art workshops are usually held in the gallery's historically significant workshop space, the workshop venue may change according to the needs and wishes of the artist tutor. Likewise, the times of the workshops may vary depending on the type of workshop and its presentation.

Timeless Textiles Gallery will, at its own discretion, where a participant is unable to attend a fibre art workshop, an exchange or credit note will be made available or a refund of the  deposit or payment in accordance with the following Workshop Refund Policy.

Major commitments must be met, and in fairness to all, the policy concerning the refund is:
Cancellations 3 months prior to workshop date - refund 80% fees paid
Cancellations 2 months prior to workshop date- refund 50% fees paid.
Cancellations 1 month prior to workshop date- no refund.


05 - 07 Dec 2020


9:30 am - 4:30 pm