(paper workbook pages 21-26)
Project 1 Molding from a surface
Sampling Paper Pulp
Moving on from papier mâché but before exploring paper clay, paper making and couching sheets to capture texture seemed a logical step, all helping to familiarise me with some of the properties of paper.
I have made paper once before under the supervision of a friend which I blogged in January, 2016 here, so it was fairly new territory to attempt home alone. A good teacher and some comprehensive notes helped, as the results were very encouraging. Using an embroidery hoop with some net curtain as a mold, the paper was couched onto various surfaces, recycled plastic netting, hessian and jute scrim. Texture was captured from all the surfaces with the most successful being the top left and right pictures of the front and back of a sheet couched onto a fairly substantial nylon net bag.
I experimented with adding colour on some less textured pieces. As the paper is unsized, it is very absorbent and most paint or ink soaked in immediately. The most effective below was the last sample where oil pastels and markal sticks gently applied and rubbed with fingertips really highlighted the texture.
The following is a cast of a piece of scrunched cotton scrim, where the surface texture is quite subtle. A new addition to my materials, ArtGraf watercolour graphite was perfect for enhancing the texture using a dry brush technique.
Attempting to capture the texture of some heavier surfaces had good results. The following is taken from a bamboo mat with a small square of cartridge paper laid onto the mat before couching the paper. The contrast of the smooth and bumpy surface is effective.
Two sink mats (which would never have found their way to my sink) were put to good use for this exercise:
My attempt to cast the inside of a scallop shell was less successful. It had been drying for three days and was considerably lighter in weight suggesting it was ready. The mold had been greased and the paper came away easily where it was fully dry but broke up in the middle where it was still damp. Had I been more patient, I think it would have made a good casting.
One of the most effective surfaces to cast so far was a Viburnum rhytidophyllum leaf.
The topside cast in soluble paper, top image, middle right in four layers of lokta tissue, second left in four layers of 9gm abaca tissue, third left and bottom two, the underside cast in paper pulp with the last images coloured with sennelier oil pastels.
I love the warmth and feel of handmade paper and would be interested in developing my paper making skills to see if I could produce finer, tissue like samples and experiment with different ways of using paper pulp. I was particularly inspired by the work of Raija Jokinen who makes fabulous lightweight, durable sculptural pieces with hand made paper pulp, paper yarn, flax and stitch.
Her Paperart gallery is particularly appealing to me. Within her artist statement, she describes her work:
My art works are made of flax and the working method can be compared to painting and drawing, but the “paint” is the fiber that is normally used e.g. as a base material for oil paintings. In addition, I use stitching to form “drawn” lines and rice starch as a binder. My methods and materials are also related with handmade paper techniques: A sheet of paper is formed of pulp consisting short bast fibres and water. Handmade paper sheets are used e.g. to print graphic art. Beside the short fibers I also use long fibers, which are normally used for example in spinning the yarn for fabric weaving. The technique I’ve developed could therefore be located in the meeting point of the techniques in painting, graphic art and textile.
Joshua Monroe prints with wood blocks and paper pulp. They are simple prints and interesting colour studies, with the feathered edge of home-made paper. A recent post on paperslurry.com discusses his work and includes an artist’s statement describing the process.
My work focuses on using handmade paper and carved wood blocks to produce cast pulp prints. Instead of creating my images using only the raised surface of the block, I place pulp on and into the block in order to draw out information from the negative space. Movement and direction occur from the channels, cuts, and gouges dug out of the wood’s surface, as well as the direction of grain revealed from tearing pieces of wood away. Using this technique I explore the relationships between color, texture, and movement while allowing my own interior, fundamental landscape to resonate within the work.