Monday, December 27, 2010

Papier-Mache Art Bowls 3: Gifts

Two papier-maché bowls made specifically as gifts for family and friends for Xmas. I've already given these two bowls away, although I forgot to sign them. They were made after some thought about what to give as gifts, after a year in which I had made a lot of art but hadn't made much money. I like giving hand-made gifts for the occasions in which one gives gifts: there is something personal about making one's gifts, something special especially when one can give of one's artistic self. A lot of family and friends appreciate this. I like receiving such hand-made gifts, too.

Bowl of Type II

A refinement of the first bowl made of images of typewriters and type. I made this as a gift for my sister, who is an artist and book-binder, and who this past autumn took a class in setting type by hand. This classical skill, which I value highly, spawned a couple of typography-related gifts for my sister, including this bowl. The outer skin of the bowl is made from my own laser-print photos of my collection of vintage typewriters. The inside of the bowl is paper strips with random typewriter impressions printed on paper.

I like the end result here. I think it's one of the better bowls I've made so far. I particularly like the shape of this bowl, it feels very classic.

Bowl of Music

A larger bowl, made of various kinds of paper, cut with scissors into both triangular shapes and long strips, all with musical notation printed on them. These papers have been collected by me over some time from various craft stores in their scrapbooking departments. One particularly interesting paper was translucent vellum printed with gold music notation. I made this bowl for my friends in Chicago who run a recording studio, where I sometimes work as well as record, and since it was gifted during the annual studio Xmas party, I filled the bowl with chocolates and Xmas ornaments, and a few other little goodies. The last photo here shows the bowl filled with gifts, to be given as a gift.

The construction of this bowl is looser, even a little random, and deliberately sloppy. The mold was a large square plastic salad bowl. When I removed the piece from the mold (it came out easily because I used plastic wrap to line the mold) it had not yet fully dried. So even though I kept the base flat while it finished drying, so that the piece would stand properly, I allowed the side walls to deform as they dried, and did not try to preserve the perfectly square form. As a result, the bowl is oddly-shaped, neither fully square nor fully rounded, with some paper fragments shooting up along the sides almost architecturally. One or two connecting structural pieces in the bowl's base had to be reglued after the bowl was completely dried, as they had pulled apart meantime.

I tried to use the scrapbook music papers in an interesting design pattern, both inside and out. I also used two small prints of Photoshop pieces I'd made earlier, on opposite sides of the bowl's exterior rim, each one symbolizing music in some way. One image contains my photos of New Mexico, with cave art, including Kokopelli the flute player, superimposed. The other image involved a piano, and other musical symbols. Perhaps the music bowl will end up in the studio, holding chocolates or other snacks for those late-night recording sessions; that would be fitting.

I am discovering that some concepts for art bowls work better if I cut the paper into strips with scissors. Torn paper has a different look. This is about finished appearance more than papier-maché technique. The paper is soaked and assembled using the same papier-maché mold techniques, so far, regardless of how the strips are prepared beforehand.

In the case of an illustrated bowl, with a specific theme and imagery, like these two bowls here, sometimes the torn paper look detracts from the images themselves, which look more like pure collage if cut with scissors. For bowls made purely out of paper that is itself of aesthetic interest, such as fine-textured watercolor paper, tearing the paper into strips, rather than cutting it, softens the look of the finished piece, makes it look even more hand-made, and provides interesting textures and patterns in its own right.

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Blogger Lovefortrees said...

I love these!
what did you use to make your bowls so sturdy?

11:46 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Just two or three layers of the paper used, which in most cases for these particular bowls is stiffer paper anyway. It holds up well when dry because it's already pretty thick.

11:55 PM  

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