What I accomplished/discovered/encountered:
This week I went back to sketching more forms since, quite literally, I went back to the drawing board with my material usage and thought about how I was going to use paper outside of paper pulp sculpture. There is a chance I still will use it, but I will not place a high emphasis on it now. I made a blog post with a list of artists I looked into this week. I had bits and pieces of frustration though because I tried to mimic some of the artists’ techniques and many of my experiments didn’t quite work out. I’ve also been frustrated because I feel like I’ve gone backwards in my progress because I was hoping to be toward the end of my experimentation phase by now. I know I’m capable of great things, but until I find my paper engineering niche it feels like a giant struggle for me. Every paper sculptor has a signature and everyone is different in how they view paper as a medium.
Elsa Mora's paper sculpture is through a series of papercutting, scoring, and light folding. The natural bends she instills into her work is a light accent of 3D forms. She does not place much emphasis on gaining the 3D aspect, but the entire idea is to make the viewer believe it's not flat because of her clever use of shadow. Her paper cut is delicate and skilled insicions -- a type of realism I want to achieve.
Kirsten Hassenfeld is probably one of my biggest inspirations this week. She makes simple multiples of geometric forms (cameos, diamonds, and costume jewelry) and uses light to create this beautiful, natural glow. Some of the light sources are just lighting from the window behind it and others are tiny LED lights embedded in her installations. I tried to mimic her technique this week, but it didn't quite work out because I figured out I had the wrong type of paper. I placed my pieces against the window for natural lighting, but it wasn't as brilliant as I was hoping. Probably because of the paper.
Lauren Clay creates omnious colorful forms with strips of paper. Her sense of color is amazing and very textural -- the color is arranged by value scale of each color.
"She weaves a poetic web of countless contradictions. Finding the macrocosm in the microcosmic, Clay takes the humblest and most ephemeral of sculptural materials to create shimmering, towering monuments that embody ideals of the infinite."
I often wonder what my natural ability is in paper if I were to make a massive installation. I like the idea of creating flora with folded and scored paper, but it’s hard for me to visualize my work as a mass until I settle upon a folding technique that defines who I am. Sometimes when I am creating my pieces are too abstract and simple – it’s a concept that is hard to wrap my mind around because I am attracted to detail and technical processes. In a way, this mindset I have forged for myself has encouraged me to venue deep into paper sculpture unlike what most have ever seen before. I like my work to be as realistic as possible, but with a lot of paper folders and their definition of reality is that you cannot actually mimic real life, but depict your version of what is real. Crude complexities of a figure is defined by how many steps it takes to make a recognizable piece by people. What are the limits of paper? What are the physical and emotional limits one has when working with paper? This week I was primarily struggling mental blocks I have created when I visual a flower and debate how to make it. When I finish making the flower – I sit in frustration because it is not at the level of detail I want it to be. It was too simple for my taste. In a way, it’s good that I want to push myself to achieve a higher level, but at the same time I often stew in frustration. I hold this superficial belief that simple forms cannot be beautiful, which I know isn’t true, but simple forms do not define my work. I hold my finished piece to observe and critique changes I want to make. I have to start over and try a different technique/texture like the petals or leaves to get a physical contrast between my first iteration and my second. I cannot assume that one will look better – I know I have to make another iteration just because it is a part of the paper sculpting process. There is a lot of failure, but I know while I create all these experiments I’m learning techniques that might flatter forms in the near future. Wet folding makes beautiful leaves, paper pulp makes realistic animals, scored paper makes sensational patterns. There is a lot to compare and contrast. What I am trying to achieve through my paper techniques is to push myself to avoid mental blocks of how far I can take a piece of paper and transform it into a complex form.
What I think I should do next:
I need to finish these leave forms and finish the branch armature I made for my hanging forms.
Next week Lauren K. and I are visiting Matt Shlian for additional help. She and I will also have a paper folding session to bounce ideas and inspiration off each other. From Matt Shlian’s Paper Sculpture course last Winter we have learned Paper engineers are a community of people who work better together. We build off each other!