Thursday, December 23, 2010

Papier-Mache Art Bowls 2

More fine-art, completely impractical but pretty, papier-maché bowls made using the gluten-free paste formula of one part white glue to two parts water. I've been experimenting with different kinds of paper. A few of these bowls are made from my old laser-prints, pulled from my archives of old prints. A few others are made from heavy cardstock or other kinds of paper. The precise mix of glue to water is variable, and somewhat flexible; in experimenting, I've found that heavier paper stock needs a higher ratio of glue to water, such as 1 part glue to 1.5 parts water, while the lighter papers do just fine with a more dilute paste. It depends a bit on paper weight, but also on how firmly you want the papers to adhere. In a couple of experiments with heavier paper, I have found that I had to glue a couple sections when the piece was dried. Just touch-ups, to be sure, but had I used more glue originally, it might have stuck together better.

I've discovered that the best way to work with molds for making the bowls—whether the mold is a glass bowl, a cheap plastic salad bowl found at the dollar discount store, or another kind of mold such as a vase—is to use plastic wrap. Vaseline leaves a residue that is hard to get off the paper, and using no lining of the mold can mean that the paper affixes itself to the mold too readily. You line the mold with plastic wrap, then make the papier-maché form around or within the mold. When the piece is dried, the plastic wrap makes it much easier to remove the finished piece. I tried making a bowl using one of the cheap plastic salad bowls, and the paper stuck to the mold rather too well. It also made for some odd textures on the finished papier-maché, a few areas of high polish that don't look very good.

The tall cylinder was made by wrapping a thrift-store vase with plastic wrap, then wrapping that in papier-maché cardstock. It needed to completely dry before I could unwrap it from around the vase. Also, the plastic wrap around the lip had moved, so the paper was glued to the glass, and I had to use a knife to unseat the paper piece before it would come off cleanly; which it did immediately after running the knife edge around the lip.

I actually really like this tall cylinder made from the vase mold. I think it's a unique shape, and has some real possibilities for future projects. It might even be interesting to combine the tall cylinder with a more typical bowl shape, in a grouping, or as combination pieces.

I am also thinking about what series I can make using the same shapes but different papers, different images. variations on a theme; or conceptual variations that tell a narrative over several bowls in sequence.

watercolor paper bowl

I tried making this bowl using heavy watercolor paper, with the intention of drawing or painting on the bowl after it is formed, or doing brush calligraphy on it. In other words, as a blank form for future art-making, in bowl form. This paper was rather hard to work with. It required longer soaking in the glue-water mix, before it softened enough to be formable. When dried, the bowl made from this paper is incredibly firm, stiff, and strong—much stronger than most of the bowls made from other kinds of paper.

fractal paper bowl

Made from laser-prints of fractal art made in Photoshop. I've made several kinds of fractal art in Photoshop, and have designed some wrapping papers using fractals in repeating tiles. For example, here's some older wrapping-paper design I made some years ago using fractal art:


I plan to make a larger bowl, eventually, using a wider range of fractal imagery. It might be a little hard to look at, though, when it's all done.

These are still "sketches," for the most part. The bowl I think is the most lovely is the one made using the blue and gold-threaded decorative paper. That's a finished piece, compared to most of the others.

Decorative paper bowl; the best one so far, I think. (I need to find more of this rare and beautiful paper.)

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

For some reason I like the watercolour bowl in the centre here best, the one that is all white. It reminds me of an open flower, a lily without stamens.

These are progressing so well, Art. you've turned it into such an art form.

While I'm at it, I send best wishes for the season, Art. Enjoy your Christmas.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks very much, E, and the same wishes in return. :)

10:30 PM  

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