November 2020 Show and Opening

Paper in 3-Dimensions

My show at the Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN has opened and will be up for the month of November 2020. The show is in a glass display case near the front of the emporium. These pieces will be listed on for sale or you can contact me directly. Thanks for looking. This show also has a pinup if the first postcards received for my mail in contest, I am administering this show on behalf of IAPMA and the deadline for submissions is 12/31/2020. See the website for details and photos of the cards received.

Concept for November exhibit

To many artists, paper is considered as a flat surface waiting to receive an image, line, or thought. It is used as a backdrop. However, paper can also be an artistic medium in its own right and can be used to produce sculptural and three dimensional shapes.

Paper is generally defined as derived from plant based cellulose fiber, processed into a pulp with large amounts of water to separate the individual fibers, and then entwine during the forming and drying processes. Proper preparation of the pulp will also promote chemically bonding between like fibers, further strengthening the resulting paper.

The wet pulp and can be formed over a screen as sheets, cast, stretched over forms, molded with stencils, or built into 3 dimensional shapes when wet or after drying. In addition, non-paper objects can be embedded into the paper as it is formed.

Different papers are quite varied; some papers are strong or weak, some are soft or hard, absorbent or non-absorbent, some have good wet strength for handling, some are difficult to form into fine features, and some have high or low shrinkage as they dry. All these characteristic affect the outcome of any paper forming technique.

The paper in this exhibit represents many of the techniques for forming three dimensional paper objects, including pouring, casting, stenciling, wet forming, dry forming, and embedding objects. I have adapted these for my studio and have tried various types of paper pulp with them. And in the process, I have discovered what helps me produce my artistic vision.

New Biography

My introduction to paper making came from my work as an automotive engineer, which included a cellulosic biofuel project with a commercial paper mill. I found that I was actually more interested in the paper than the biofuel. This led me to purchase papermaking books, to take papermaking classes, to visit other paper mills, and to visit paper artists. I find that papermaking combines art, materials, chemistry, and equipment in a way that fits my interests and background. About 2 years ago, I embarked on setting up a complete papermaking studio and was able to build all the necessary equipment.

My focus for this show is three dimensional paper. In the near future, I am shifting to the production of larger sheet paper, up to about 2 x 4 feet. I am also working in collaboration with other artists and working to further develop my own artistic style. I consider myself fortunate to have the freedom for this exploration.

BIRD NEST SOUP, This piece is 9×9 inches. It is composed of real bird nests from wrens. After the wrens are done with them, they eventually fall out of the trees and we collect them. The little guys with the spools are molded plastic Alessi refrigerator magnets.
BLACK LOCUST WITH YELLOW, This piece is 9×9 inches. It is composed of heavy molded paper made from black locust wood, varnished on both sides and with yellow paint stripes added. The paper is recut to strips, stacked in the frame, and secured with glue.
DEAD BUGS, this piece is 14×20 inches. Every year, June bugs choose to die on one section of our house roof. I collected some of these and then embedded their feet into wet paper pulp just as it was poured. After drying, they were stuck.
EASTER COLORS, This piece is 19×8 inches. It is composed of thick paper most similar to ‘Its Them Goats Again’, below, which was recut into strips, stacked in the frame, and secured with glue. The rabbit is another Alessi refrigerator magnet.
ELI’S MONSTER is 12×12″. Eli is the 4 year old son of a friend of mine and he does a lot of art. I took one of his drawings, made it into a thick stencil and cast paper over it. The stencil was cut from an old yoga mat, which is the reason for the ‘traction’ surface. The yoga mat is especially appropriate given Eli’s lineage.
ITS THEM GOATS AGAIN. This piece is 20×14″ and again molded from paper pulp using yoga mat stencils. Depending on how the stencils are used, one can obtain negative or positive relief. The background was formed with multiple pours of different colored pulps. Since the pulp is thick, it will stay pretty much where you put it.
KUDZU, this piece is 12×6″. I did a project with kudzu for another artist and took some of the pulp for myself. This pulp was molded with a heavily grooved mold and then painted green on one side and gray on the other. Then the paper was cut into strips and glued into the frame.
MOLDED HEADS, these pieces have dimensions of about 5 to 7 inches. They are molded by forming flax and linen papers over a foam rubber form when still very wet. The paper shrinks as it dries and rounds out the edges of the mold. With proper form design, the form can be removed and reused.
MOON MAIDEN, this piece is 4x7x2.5 inches. It consists of a paper background molded over a stepped foam rubber mold with multiple colors in layers. The maiden is made from various found and purchased objects. This piece can either hang or sit on a table.
MAYAN MASK, this piece is 13×9 inches. It is another multilayer yoga mat mold, this time of a Mayan image I found on the internet.
OUT OF THE SWAMP, this piece is 8×8 inches. It is another multilayered, multicolored paper background. In this case, a real dried frog is used as an artistic element. I found this frog in our driveway. My thought is that our cat killed it but did not eat it. It was completely dried when I found it. I have has the frog for 2 years, so it is unlikely to reanimate.
PAPER AND WOOD, these pieces range up to 18 inches in major dimension. These pieces are made by wrapping wet paper around forms generally made from twigs and copper wire. After drying, the paper shrinks and tightens up.
PAPER CYLINDERS 1, these range from 2.5 to 5 inches diameter and 9 to 11 inches tall. They are made by taking various sheets of wet paper and drying them around a round form. After drying, the seams are glued and stitched with waxed linen thread. Each one has different characteristic depending on what pulp was used to make them. My wife calls them vase covers or pencil jars. Some of the paper cylinder series are made from the same types of paper that were recut into strips to make some of the other pieces of art. Several were embossed against forms on a vacuum table.
PAPER CYLINDERS 2, a continuation of paper cylinders 1.
PURPLE HAZE, this piece is 9×9 inches. It is again composed of heavy textured paper, in this case molded in two steps with purple pigmented pulp first and black pigmented pulp as the second layer. After drying, it was recut in strips and arranged in the wooden shadow box.
SPLIT PERSONALITY, this piece is 8×10 inches. It is assembled from a vacuum formed paper face. I allowed this to dry on my glass face paperweight. The paper shrank as it dried and I could not get it off the paperweight. This lead me to cut the split so I could pop it off. After looking it a couple of months, this theme occurred to me. The piece also includes skull and question mark beads, stars cut from paper, and small crosses cut from pennies.
THT FOLDING…ONE, this piece is 9×9 inches. The title is written as it is to support a series of additional related pieces. It is composed of handmade papers I acquired from another papermaker, cut and folded, and then assembled with glue into the frame. It took a long time to finish because the individual pieces were quite springy and I had to restrain each row and wait for the glue to dry before doing the next row.
THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN, this piece is is 18×7 inches. It is another molding using my yoga mat stencils. The goats, which appear several times in this exhibit, were copied from a painting we have owned for about 40 years and which was originally obtained by my wife’s sister when she was in art school. The painting is from Michigan and is signed Swanstrom 78.
THE SUN RISING, this piece is 9×14 inches. It is composed of recut handmade paper arranged and glued into a frame. The sun and upper background are also handmade paper.
THE THREE MOONS OF EARTH, this piece is 23×10. It is composed of black locust lumber from some old raised garden beds we replaced last year. The paper moons are also made from the same black locust lumber. It is very difficult to make good paper from wood without very heavy chemical processing and this paper also was fairly dark. The three moons are harvest moon (orange), winter moon (white), and blue moon (blue).
EAR RINGS, these are all different. They are composed of various combinations of handmade paper and beads. Most of them have post backs in stainless steel or silver plated. There are about 30 total pieces available.
NOTE CARDS, these are all different and are 5.5×4 inches after folding, with envelopes slightly larger. As I was developing my equipment and learning to make paper, I made a lot of paper of different fiber and decoration. I have since used most of this up to make these notecards, the notebooks that follow, and our Christmas cards last year. There are about 30 pairs available.
NOTEBOOKS, these are all different. They are composed of my handmade paper and are in the 4 to 6 inch dimensions. Most have 8 to 12 individual sheets and they are bound with waxed linen thread. The variety of papers used will all respond differently to writing. I also made a few larger books with more pages, but they are not shown. If you are interested, please contact me for details. There are about 25 of this available.