Before commencing the crumpling exercises I had a look at other paper artists and book artists who use this technique. I found the French paper sculptor Maryse Dugois via Pinterest who makes creations in silk paper inspired by nature. Her pieces are tanslucent and numinous- the light plays over the white expanses of paper that has all been manipulated. The range of her work is inspiring and encouraging. there is always space for a new voice – a new vision even using the same process and material. I was drawn to her pieces that make use of crumpled paper, namely ‘Home’, ‘Coeurs de Lotus’, each tube in ‘Ruche’ and ‘Bernique’. The crumpled surface helps the eye travel over the whole surface drawing attention both to form and texture.
Then, in ‘1,000 Artists’ Books’ I found a fascinating piece by Kirsten Demer. This piece, ‘Frustration’ played on my mind overnight. The text describes the piece as, ‘Cooked, beaten, and hand-sculpted handmade kozo paper cover, with an interior of original text on handmade kozo sheets typed with vintage typewriter. I sketched it then left it to play in my brain.
My resulting samples today for these exercise are clearly influenced by this piece.
First, ex 5: the basics.
I chose a packing tissue paper – slightly thicker than gift-wrap tissue.
I played with the techniques explored by the figures in the course notes. I varied the materials used and worked with each piece until the fabric lost its togetherness of creasability. I loved crumpling the tissue, it constantly reconfigured itself and surprised me with the forms it made. Every moment I thought it would provide no more, it revealed another potential surface.
Using a technique I picked up at the Cas Holmes’ workshop I attended the weekend before last demonstrated by another participant. The process was to continually crumple paper in your palm but moistened with oiled hands. The only oil i had on the house tonight was hair- smoothing oil. Using the sacrificial dictionary and this oil I crumpled and massaged this paper, making a series of surfaces, pushing the material until it became as soft as cloth and thereby became too smooth (or crumpled) to leave any further fold lines.
After this I went back to white printer paper. I really didn’t like this process with this material. The paper was too unyielding and creased more than it crumpled.
I then moved on to Ex 7 and chose brown wrapping paper as the first material to transform. I couldn’t get this piece to stand freely on its base, but curiously it was free-standing on the points!
Having worked with fairly unyieldy fabrics I moved to plastic and raided the recycling. Working with a plastic carrier bag I was initially frustrated by the handles and cut them off. This gave me a far more manageable form to crumple. I rotated and spun and twisted then crumpled this bag. It was quickly turned into a more opaque shade of its previous translucent self. Again I was puzzled to find the bag collapsed in on itself or fell over when orientated on its face. I therefore staged various angles from which to view it and photograph this sample.
On to colour. This very thick wrapping paper had surfaces of different colours. It crumpled like circular bellow and formed a container type structure. There was a cabbagey feel to the piece too. The crumples up close reminded me of the images of the Earth’s crust crumpled at impact zones from earth tremors and earthquakes. I liked the solid crumpling in contrast to the feel of the other samples. However, I don’t think I would have appreciated this contrast if I had not experimented with a range of weight materials.
Finally to the finest plastic i could find in the house: nappy sacks (there is a story behind the stash of this – something to do with mis-ordering 100 bags which turned out to be 100 x 100 – my youngest is in High School – perhaps they’ll serve the next generation!).
I loved the gentle whispiness of this material when it had been crumpled but felt a real aversion to the colour. On the one hand it is the hideous puce, then it reminded me of condom-pink, then it looked like those shots of the inside of alveoli or inside the umbilicus.
Finally, I continued to research. I looked at contemporary art dolls. This time I looked at the fabrics they were made from. this offered a different way to look at these works. I will collate what I found in the next post.
‘1000 Artists’ Books’, ed. Sandra Salamon, P & D Thomas, Quarry Books 2012, pg 68