Studio Update: Large vessel is out of the studio and into the garage, which leaves me more room to work. Funny thing; I didn’t measure how wide the vessel could get to still make it through my studio door. I just made it as large as I could, in typical Michelle fashion. I had a small moment of panic when I realized that I may have to either cut my sculpture in half or cut a larger door opening to my studio. Luckily it made it. Lesson learned. For now.
I love my little studio. However, for this project it feels cramped. The Glean Project has got me thinking of using material in new ways and with every trip to the transfer station I come back with 5 new ideas for work that I want to pursue.
Fake flowers dipped in paint. Waiting for their opportunity.
My sculptural work begins with metal armatures then I papercrete them: Outline of a vessel/rock.
Once the shredded paper has sat in a 5gal. bucket of hot water for a day or so it is pulped into ‘oatmeal’, strained and re shredded by the trusty drill with masonry mixer attachment, my faithful studio companion (pictured above).
Shredded, oatmealed, strained (water squeezed out) paper pulp.
Re shred after straining.
I’ve mixed up many batches of papercrete since beginning this project, using several different recipes. Because of the nature of gleaning my materials supply was always changing. Different paper, dry mix mortar, a 60lb bag of concrete (which I used up, after sieving out all the pebbles), and this lovely bucket of wet pre-mix concrete, pictured upper right. In this recipe I am mixing almost 50/50 paper to wet concrete. The easiest recipe yet! Unfortunately, this bucket of pre mixed love is almost gone. : ( However, I am sure that the transfer station will not disappoint in my next visit.
This is papercrete after using the mortar mixer attachment to mix the ingredients. You could do it by hand but since my operation has expanded to include many 5 gal. buckets and larger quantities of papercrete I use the drill for every application that I can.
I am using this Glean Residency-ship to explore papercrete as a viable sculpture material. I didn’t know much about it before, but now I feel like a pro. I like working with papercrete because it has a texture and consistency similar to that of clay.
Pictured above: preparing clay for pottery by mixing sand into it. India. (image: Wikipedia)
I mix my papercrete body much as you would a clay body. I create metal armatures of vessels, bowls and sculpture to push the papercrete onto. I’ve been thinking of how early object makers formed pinch pots and vessels with their hands, leaving thumbprints from using their hands as the primary tool for shaping clay forms. I like that my work has that look, almost prehistoric. Like it was dug up.
This is part of the second large sculpture that I will make.
Inspiration: Roman Amphorae
Plans for plinths.