Yesterday was after-school art.
We made paper!
For that lesson, I brought in a beautiful paper wasp nest (I should know the specifics on type of wasp and how the paper is made, and what precisely the ingredients used are…but I don’t know, and don’t have time to research it), samples of paper formed by seaweed washing up over the stones at Iron Ore Bay at the south end of Beaver Island, and many paper samples made from ingredients ranging from banana peels to tulip petals and leaves.
We talked about the need for paper and the many things that were used for writing on – from clay tablets to shields to walls and towers built just to record a good story on – before we had paper, and the history and development of paper-making. We made our papers from pulp made from recycled junk mail, with additions of their choosing. I offered flowers – daylily, sedum and marigold – saved in my freezer for this purpose, pencil shavings, straw, yarn and grape skins. Each batch got a good shake of baby powder, just to make it smell good. It was a fun day.
While digging out my paper samples, I came across a stack of photos from my studio at Michigan State University.
My concentration was in ceramics; my focus was on large scale ceramic sculpture.
In whatever medium I am working in, I like to allow the materials to “have their way.” Pencil should look like pencil and paint like paint, in my mind. I appreciate those who can make a painting look just like a photograph, but that’s not for me.
In clay, I worked with wet clay, squeezed – not rolled – into coils, and let the shapes develop organically. I set it up for surprises to happen during the firing process. I planned for fissures and separations, and happily filled them with mortar and hand-made beads of silver solder.
I’m short on time this morning, so will just offer a few pictures.