May 14th, 2013
The saying goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. But what should an artist do when a piece of art with hours of work already invested into it starts turning to lemons?
I don’t often find myself in this type of situation because I am a process-driven artist and I don’t have a specific result in mind from the start. I am interested to see how something will evolve as I work. But once in awhile things still go awry.
The two cut paper vessels that I’m sharing in this blog post began life as a single piece of 19″ x 25″ black paper. My intention was to make a large rectangular structure I could hang from the wall. The more I worked on it, the less I liked it. I realized I was happy with the paper cutting but the structure was too boring. It also reminded me too much of a decorative designery thing for candles that someone would buy from Crate & Barrel.
I decided to salvage the situation by cutting the paper in half with the idea I would create smaller individual structures from each piece. I couldn’t leave it as one piece because I’d already scored the paper for folding into a rectangle.
I’d left an uncut edge along one side of each piece so I could attach a piece of paper and create a bottom to the structure. The first strip of cut paper became a wide cylindrical shape. It’s about eight inches in diameter and nine inches at the tallest point.
With the second strip of cut paper I decided to aim for an irregular structure. I had the piece of paper curve around three circles as the bases and wound up with what you see here. It was an experiment, and the end result is a bit wonky but interesting.
As a side note, the paper I used for these was a bit lighter than I normally work with and I think it may be a bit too delicate for creating more structural pieces. Working with black was also a nice change from all the white I’ve been doing lately.
Thank goodness this piece was flexible enough to salvage and transform into something else. I think what I’ve ended up with has turned out to be much more interesting than my original idea.
March 11th, 2013
I realize as I work on these structural paper cut pieces that I am exploring two very different things and trying to make them work together. It’s one thing to make a paper cut design that will be displayed as flat and in a frame, and quite another to translate it into a free-standing sculpture. I’m also trying to work out how to make interesting structures from paper that can support themselves when most of the material has been removed.
With this latest piece I was trying to take a slightly different approach than the previous work I finished last week, but I ended up creating the same structure, just with a different paper cut design.
The variation I attempted with this was to score the bottom and sides to create folds in the paper. I don’t quite have enough understanding about how to do this, so my folds didn’t work the way I thought they should. I was also going to taper the structure at the top and attach it together but threw that idea out the window as well.
I want to play around with structural explorations on their own without doing all the work of cutting paper, just to properly educate myself. But the paper cutting makes a big difference to the integrity of the piece, how it holds together, and its ability to stand.
Just in case you’re wondering, the finished size for this one is 8″ high, 6″ wide, and 3″ long. I hope I can eventually make something even larger.
March 5th, 2013
Last week was mostly spent on administrative tasks but at the end of the week I fit in time to work on another cut paper sculpture.
I kept the form simple and made a basic cube with two of the sides left long. I’d had in mind to have these two long flaps eventually connect together but things went in a different direction as I worked.
I chose a leaf as the repeating shape and cut away most of the paper on four sides, leaving the bottom uncut. I decided to contour the top and sides of the box by cutting away the straight edges of the paper. It makes the whole thing seem even more delicate.
I left a thin border of paper around the sides and attached these together with glue. The finished size is about 5.5″ tall, 4″ wide, and 4″ long.
I’m really pleased with this prototype. I actually feel ready to move onto creating finished work.