One thing leads to another
I’ve written quite a lot about process and how one thing can lead to another. Experimenting with your materials can bring some very surprising results. Suddenly old works that you have shelved for one reason or another can find a new purpose and be reactivated just by placing them into new contexts and formats.
This week I sent off my artwork Tidal Moon to be exhibited at the 2nd Shanghai International Paper Art Biennale in China. This artwork is a combination of three pieces of paper I had shelved for some years and lain dormant without a project or purpose. They were pieces surplus to my honours project Paper /Song which was all about the vibrational sounds and images formed during the paper making process.
The theme for the 2019 Biennale is ‘Characters in Paper’ so I wanted to have something actually embedded into the paper itself. We haven’t had much rain this last month, but when I felt that sudden drop in temperature and the moisture in the air, I knew rain was on its way.
I made five sheets of orange paper, pulped from the workman’s shirts I had sourced from the flood relief donations when I went to Townsville earlier this year. I then left them out in the quite heavy rain for several minutes and wondered if the rain was too heavy and the paper would not hold together. But it did and I had five beautiful sheets of ‘rain paper’.
I then thought about water, and the embedded vibrations of water and looked up what papers I still had left over from my honours project. Sure enough there were two rectangular pieces which I then carefully tore down into a half circle and a circle. One thing led to another. I placed these randomly on larger sheets of banana paper, remembered I had a larger painted indigo sheet, also remembered I had an A3 sized blur linen and kozo sheet somewhere. After much searching I found them all, laid them out together and had two artworks. All that remained was the stitching. This one (pictured) Tidal Moon made the selection process and I still have the Rain | Vessel piece to springboard further work.
I really enjoy this process-led art making. The paper talks to me, it finds where it wants to sit on other papers and the thread colours to be used. An intuitive process, but one developed over ten years of tearing up paper and stitching it together, one thing leading to another.
Today we had our collaboration day and after a slow start, we started playing with clay and paper pulp. One thing led to another. This pinky paper was made from the linen and cotton pants I wore when in the desert and is mixed with desert clay. Today we mixed some terracotta clay and painted it onto the paper then dipped the shredded cardboard into the paper pulp. The same circles appeared as a common motif. I’m not sure where it will go to but am confident in the process, one thing leading to another.