Tag Archives: papermaking

on a broken art

Saturday 27 August 2011

this is one of a new series (small relics). there were originally twelve relics but now only eleven remain (this may be significant). these are close-up views of one fragmental, encrusted relic in greyscale, which reflects my concerns in the making of them…

relic fragment art

this is part of the imperfect circle project idea begun sometime in 2010, as one means of breaking away from the format of the square.

art relic fragment - mixed media art

this circle project was resurrected at easter. one could call this work quite sculptural, but it is not a sculpture, it is an object, or the fractured remains of one. i have enjoyed my virtual visits to the british museum. if i have the good fortune of selling this piece then maybe i should actually go to london for a day out, as ruralism is slowly getting to me…

broken relic fragment - art

a relic is an object or fragment from the past which has significance, meaning or value, sometimes religious. finding or unearthing fragments implies something was hidden or perhaps abandoned. fragments are retrieved and they can sometimes be pieced together to be viewed as nearly whole again in a new context – but the complete story might never be revealed. so, one might be tempted to create new stories to fill in the gaps…

art relic fragment

these relics have come to symbolise many things, the significant events which influenced my thoughts at the time, and the unique circumstances which the passage of time had offered them. they have become small reminders of the actions of the past, rediscovered and re-evaluated in the present. if i am the original creator then i am at liberty to validate them as meaningful objects – but perhaps i am being intentionally reticent here as a means of defence…

broken relic art circle - mixed media art

there are some material & ecological resonances with the series of small papier mache vessels i created earlier this year…

alongside the circle prints/experiments from last year, i have also unearthed some (possibly) related sketchbook drawings, doodles and even some etchings (connecting the past to the present)…

here are some related words that started off the imperfect circle project: liminality, on the brink, breaking point, success, failure, something, nothing, beautiful, ugly, perfect, flawed, forgotten, remembered, incomplete, whole, insignificant, valued, sacred, discarded, lost, saved, broken, mended…

broken relic fragment

detail of (a) broken (relic), mixed media, 2011

broken relic fragment

broken

artworks exhibition, blackthorpe barn, rougham, suffolk, 10 september to 2 october 2011 (10am – 5pm, open daily)

Artworks is a professional art group of thirty contemporary East Anglian artists. Each September we have an annual exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn in the heart of rural Suffolk.

some new work also currently on show at Reunion Gallery’s ‘Refresh’ tenth anniversary exhibition on now and until 22 Oct 2011

on taking a walk around the square

Wednesday 16 February 2011

it has been twenty years since my first artworks using squares. it is quite a scary thought that i haven’t (except in drawing) ever deviated from this pictorial format – as mentioned many times the concept of akind of objectification and visual containment ensues. however, i have been quietly contemplating the square’s more rounded friend for a while now… in fact, the circle within a square is something quite universal, symbolic & spiritual…

as written about in a previous post last year, i started printing lots of irregular circles (or discs as i prefer to call them as circle seems too linear as a term), taking multiple intaglio prints from some old sanding discs – even deciding to break the circle into two mismatching halves…

studio wall march 2010- intaglio prints & monoprints - eroded circles
[studio wall, march 2010]

these initial concepts gently simmered the imagination were then put on hold while i actively pursued the lichens & moulds (which, it has to be said, are also not yet ‘done’ as a series). i figure that i am on a five year cycle when it comes to resolving any of my own work so quite how art students complete projects in a couple of months is anyone’s guess (clue: they use the internet)…

myriad spots & patterned speckles of mould, and the irregular, frilly-edged crustose lichens, as photographed here on the farm in early 2008 (a ‘found painting’ that i found just as impressive as a monet at the time because they covered the whole of one side of a trailer container), also inspired a series of circular etchings (thanks go to SW for cutting the circles out for me) and these were also supposed to be loosely based on patterns of lichens or moulds…

crustose lichens growing on a blue farmyard container - abstract painting photograph
[some lichens growing on a large blue farmyard container, march 2008]

however, what turned out to be the most instantly visually gratifying way of creating lots of circles (with no blood, sweat or tears, on a very frosty morning just before christmas) was to simply take some of my small, square paintings and just digitally circle-ulise them. half an hour on the computer, scissors and some masking tape was all that was needed to create an instant wall piece… seen here with some flat farmscape paintings for visual contrast.

art studio wall - cones - circles
[studio wall, december 2010]

now, it might at first seem that these concentric circles remind one of the work of kenneth noland, frank stella or even damien hirst’s spin paintings, but any twentieth century art reference (within my own realm of prior knowledge and understanding) would be a big, fat red herring – even if academics, critics, writers, artists & students focus on the importance of the ‘contextual reference’…

art studio wall - cones - circles
[studio wall, december 2010]

choosing to work from digital scans of my own square paintings, those with only earthy ochre, brown or grey hues (from the ‘chromatids’ series, my terminological appropriation, as in chroma and id), i was actually planning to travel much further back in history… it was just a matter of time.

bronze age shield
a bronze age shield, image © Trustees of the British Museum

i instantly want to interpret these experimental concentric forms (they are inkjet prints on paper) as shield-like, for i have been feeling very defensive of late (even the paper bowls with their interior space and rough outer surface hint at a sense of self protection), and i also felt that they are symbolic (obviously) of arming oneself, more so because i have made them slightly convex, curved and cone-like (some sculptural thoughts pondered upon a few years previously) – and now i have a personal army of protective shields on my wall! a sign perhaps of beginning to win the small battles of making art on my own terms… it is just a matter of time.

art studio wall - concentric cones - circles
[digital spin (or spun) paintings, studio wall, january 2010]

i amusingly thought they looked a little like madonna’s famous jean-paul gaultier outfit at first, or one could easily see the organic growth rings of trees, turned wood, old vinyl records or even art deco buttons – and there was also something quite oriental in their projected layout, like a wall of japanese parasols or chinese hats… but i wasn’t really happy with the geometric spin factor, i wanted something a little more organic, natural, irregular in surface and form (as with the sanding disc prints above)… it was one of those random things which i like to do on a computer and these demonstrate working through something, initial workings-out and concepts which are forever spinning around in my head, breaking away from the notion of making a conventional picture into making ‘things’ – it is just a matter of time…

the bird’s nests i found, hen’s eggs, collected pebbles & seashells, a large piece of striated agate given to me by a friend, coins, a tin of buttons, fossils, cellular structures or satelite images, looking through a lens or a magnifying glass, even the little glass ramekins that i mix paint in or a simple paint jug, have all found their way, however obliquely, into my personal visual vocabulary… so the circles, however they evolve as artworks, will have forged a new way around of seeing things square on… i am the cave artist who has just discovered the wonder of the wheel!

art studio - abstact painting found within a paint jug
[the inside of one of my plastic painting jugs]

so, the overall plan has been (for two or more years at least) to create a series of circular works to banish the square from my creative life, and it is another reason to be indecisive about which way up it should be viewed, because there is no ‘right way up’… the circle ‘project’ was beginning to take form before christmas but my hopes for it to be part of a regional group exhibition** have been thwarted… sometimes you really need an exhibition to get going with an art project…

so today i have been feeling very melancholy, on whether it is worth pursuing this art ‘project’ any further, even though i’ve already started the work for it, if there is no venue to show it, no audience to see it… tomorrow i will feel better and by the weekend i will have forgotten all about the small matter of a simple rejection…

this is probably why i started writing this blog, to stay focused and committed to my art even when i feel utterly dejected, on those dark days when there seems to be no definitive reason for making art… i quite wanted to blog a little about the ‘project’, the creation of the work leading up to the ‘exhibition’.. i will try to keep myself focused on it and hope that it does still have some creative purpose, that even though it currently looks to be a non-runner it will perhaps feature in a another exhibition… it is just a matter of time…

art studio - circular handmade paper
[a handmade paper circle – who just said pancakes*?]

while perusing yet another charity shop i came across a box of sewing things, and there within the jumble was a bundle of embroidery hoops – it was serendipity indeed, when thinking of making paper for my ‘circle’ project! i bought two of them and then promptly made a large stash of circular sheets of paper, because i am still fascinated by the edges of things, be they straight, precise, irregular or broken. i wanted the irregular deckle edge of the paper (naturally) and also the uneven surface, the unique character in the random slubs of paper fibres – i didn’t want these to look perfect. this handmade paper has a purpose if even if won’t explain its potential use right now… it will just be a matter of time – and time is perfectly symbolised by the universality of the circle…

*pancakes were traditionally a means to use up stored food prior to the abstinence of the period of lent in the christian calendar (this year it’s on the 8th of march, buy your maple syrup early)…

** i started writing this post in the new year, hoping that it would round off quite nicely with some related exhibition news…

*** i took the title of this post from the fictional characters in ‘eastenders’ who invariably take a walk around albert square when they have ‘issues’…

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Sunday 16 January 2011

this… it’s a very small papier mache bowl, the first one of a few that i have have been making. this paper bowl has a green-blue-grey stone-like patina with a tarnished gold interior…

paper mache bowl rustic distressed patina - papier mache wabi-sabi vessel

this paper bowl has been inspired by my interest in primitive & prehistoric art, raku ceramics & the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi – the beauty inherent in things that are unostentatious, simple, irregular, used or worn in appearance. finding birds’ nests in the garden probably had some influence in the process. birds will make their nests out of whatever is to hand – often the harmful plastics and manmade fibres littering the environment – a sign of the times. making homemade bread and soup had some relevance too. there is something so very comforting and nurturing about a simple cup shape…

paper wabi sabi art bowl - papier mache - surface texture patina

here, you can see the detail of the eroded edge of the vessel. this bowl is one of a very limited series of papier mache vessels that I have been making in the studio – it is signed and dated on the base. the distinctive patina on this bowl has been created using thin washes or glazes of water-based acrylic paint, which have been lightly ‘distressed’ to create a naturally, time-worn, aged surface – with the appearance of an ancient relic or artefact.

i suppose if one wanted to be ethically ‘green’ i would source and make my own pigments, but here i have used very small amounts of acrylic and it has the added benefit of being water resistant when dry… sometimes the wild harvesting of nature’s resources is more damaging to the environment than controlled, sustainable production (as seen in herbal medicine)… i am happy that i am reusing what i already have, rather than buying even more art materials…

paper wabi sabi bowl - papier mache vessel - textures surface

this paper bowl is about the size of a small teacup and it fits snugly in the hand  – the actual height is 4cm or 1.5” approx, diameter 9cm or 3.5” approx. i previously made some plaster casts of some of my most favourite things such an art deco teacup which became the primary mould for this particular bowl. during the drying stage the bowls warp ever so slightly, becoming more tactile and organic in character… i would like to give these an identity such as the amity bowl or verity vessel (meaning friendship and truth respectively)… the most interesting part of the process is because i have already created the ‘object’ the painting stage becomes quite intuitive…

five small papier mache wabi sabi bowls

papier-mâché is uniquely lightweight and yet surprisingly resilient as a material, made to my own special recipe of handmade paper pulp – mostly offcuts or trimmings of linen or cotton, both rag and paper, combined with recycled scraps of cellulose-based paper such as tissue, cartridge or copier paper. i also add a small amount of powdered chalk, marble or eggshells for additional strength & durability. the small amount of handmade paper that i can make mean that these very vessels are limited in their number. you can see an example of some of my handmade deckled paper here…

papier mache - handmade wabi sabi bowls with metallic patina

i have been working on making them in a range of sizes along with the possibility of creating other 3d forms, which is all mildly exciting stuff for a regular painter – watch this space over the coming weeks and months…

you can see a selection of my papier mache bowls here…

alongside the paper-making & moulding i have also created a new series of collagraph plates also using recycled materials, but i won’t be printing those for a while yet…

all photography © 2011 jazz green – please do not use, reuse or otherwise publish images of my artwork without my consent or permission, thank you…

not quite what you were looking for in the paper art department? why not try wikipedia instead…