Thursday, September 29, 2011

IP Weekly Progress -- #3

What I did:

Monday: (4 hours) Sketched imaginary flora to help figure out possible foliage for my final layout for my final project. Also went out and gathered materials to start the paper pulp making process: recycled paper, a bucket, a cheap blender, dryer lint, and a measuring cup.
Tuesday: (3 hours) Researched paper artists Allen Eckman, Kevin Dyer, Dana Major Kanovitz, Peter Callesen, Debbie Wijskamp and took notes on their paper pulp processes. Looked at various paper recipes online. Also wrote a list of questions about the possibilities of using paper pulp (More on this below).
Wednesday: (3 hours) Went to the Museum of Natural History and drew in the back room of the Bird Range.
Thursday: (2 hours) Started the paper making process. Tested different samples of consistency and made the first batch. Filled one of my older mold with the first batch and will let dry for one day.

I used my time, but I don't think I used it wisely at all. I didn't feel quite as productive as I originally hoped to be. I wish I started making the paper pulp earlier this week and focusing on the actual sketch of the paper installation. Next week I think I might be on better track because I've finally reached the point where my IP project is physical and beginning it's life. I started learning the material so the next step is to continue this, but simultaneously working on my sketches of what I will be making out of the paper pulp.

What I accomplished/discovered/encountered:
As a brief side note to my sketching ability: I've found that sketching while listening to lectures, friends, radio has been incredibly helpful to my thought process this week. I watched a TED video online by Sunni Brown on doodling ( and how it improves your comprehension and and creative thought. After watching it, I doodled while listening to a book on tape and found some truth to this video. It was a fantastic discovery for me to find. Rather than sitting down and sketching myself -- listening to someone helped me retain information and translate it into diverse and thoughtful plant sketches this week.

I took the time to head to the museum sketching birds. Did some drawing studies on a few species I found unique: Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), Kakapo (Strigops habroptila), and a Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa).

Other things I've been up to is working on creating my own paper pulp recipe. I found my old mold of a bust I made a year ago and decided to use that as a test dummy for my pulp. It's my most detailed mold -- so if I wanted to find the right pulp recipe it would be successful with this mold. I went through several iterations of pulp where I had to mince it into a liquid, scoop it out, and squeeze the water out in order for it to properly attach to the mold though until it completely dries I'm not sure. I've let it dry for 8 hours, but still too wet. I'll take it out this weekend.

Some questions I have now that I started making the pulp is:

What kind of binder/bonding agent should I use with the paper pulp? Glue, wax, bleach ... ? (Juliet made an excellent point of watching out of mold if it's just paper and water)
How thick should the paper be when applying it to the mold?
Could I make a sheet of paper from pulp, soak it once it adhered together, and then break it down into the mold?
Should I leave the paper a specific color? White or grey (From the newsprint) or try and dye it?
Should I paint on the paper once I finished the sculpture? What kind of paint would look the best?

These are questions I hope I can start to answer in the next few weeks ...

What I think I should do next:
Continue working with the paper pulp material to see if I can actually go forward with it. I started the process this week, but the recipe might need more work. I'm taking a class at Hollandar's next Saturday on paper making so I hope to learn something new. I plan to keep drawing around campus -- specifically at the Museum of Natural Science and hopefully the Botanical Gardens soon. I'm gaining a hands-on experience with some animals rather than just look at them online. Allen Eckman has a tutorial online that I will try to follow in terms of creating the paper material and Kevin Dyer as a technique for painting on paper pulp, so I may try and experiment with the idea of adding color.

1 comment:

hannahs said...


It's great to see that you've jumped right in and tried to start making paper forms -- and I think the class at Hollander's will definitely put you in touch with people who can help you refine your efforts. (Great job taking so many pictures!) The questions you ask are good ones. No doubt your next experiments will yield more.

You are wise to recognize that in addition to exploring through the material, it'd be good to continue sketching ideas for an installation. Ideally, each of these processes will inform the other.

I look forward to seeing whatever you're planning to share tomorrow!