Monday 31 October 2022

2022 Topic 15: Paper, Seeds and Twigs - Topic introduction

Hi everyone, Keren here with a fascinating topic that's all about sustainability - both using items from nature and thinking about being sustainable for nature's sake. Paper, seeds and twigs could be described as originating from the same source - the tree. If we're talking paper; it's simply compressed layers of an organic substance. Lots of paper you'd find today often starts out as evergreen conifers, the bark is stripped and other processes added until you end up with paper. But it's not just trees, paper can be formed from jute, hemp, bamboo, cotton and other materials. If you've ever wondered how the paper (we often find in magazines) derives its glossy sheen, that would be the china clay that's added to the process.
Have you tried making your own? Oh it's a wonderfully therapeutic, magical process and I'd highly recommend having a go, which you can do with very limited supplies.

Autumn Clark created an amazing journal on the blog in which she used her own handmade paper - do check out the process in the blog post.

If you're interested in finding out how to create your own paper - Autumn explains the basics, but this video shows you how to get started step-by-step. The Paper Outpost covers using mostly supplies you'll have at home, how to colour your paper and also how to add elements like leaves- or you could use seeds which would tie in perfectly with this topic.

How can we use paper in a thoughtful manner. Perhaps looking for recycled papers/ cardstocks and better still, make your own. Asking questions of your suppliers may not make a difference in the short term, but if enough start to ask about supplies provenance, it might start a useful conversation industry wide. 

How can we use what we have more sustainably? Thinking about the paper that we might be tempted to toss away. Could we reuse it? When we're creating gel prints for example- having paper/ surfaces ready to roll the excess paints onto, and doing so with a view to using those in your next art. 
Carolyn Dube wants to use the leftover brayer clean up paper to make more prints. Grab your stencils and a contrasting colour and you'll begin to be more sustainable!

You might not feel quite up to making your own paper, but how do you use it in your creativity. Asia Marquet explored how Infusions react on handmade paper and added lots of other lovely elements to them.

We've all made mistakes when we're playing or creating. What do you do with all the mistakes before you toss them? Andrea Garvey is of the opinion that 'ugly art' (if there is such a thing) can simply be upcycled. She offers a useful tool, namely a blank frame that you place over the art until you find a snapshot that works well.

Linking paper and seeds, have you seen the seed paper that when used can simply be planted and creates new from the used? I tried to do some calligraphy on a piece (unsuccessfully because of the texture) so I'm on the lookout for more ways to use it.
It wasn't easy finding examples of seed paper used in an artistic way- maybe there's a niche for someone to explore, but this notecard set has a wonderfully artistic quality and the idea is that you plant the animals on each card which grow into something unexpected.

Because seeds have a wonderfully textural property, you can use them in a myriad of ways. We'll go literal first- with seed art (which is a real discipline!).

Shilin Hora explores the relationship between us and our environment, taking inspiration from natural history museum displays.

On a slight tangent, this artist, Ilwha Kim creates 'seeds' from Hanji (a traditional Korean paper made from the inner bark of Mulberry). She dies, cuts and rolls the paper into seeds and then creates these astonishing works of art.

Maybe your mind wanders over to vintage seed packets of yesteryear. There are some wonderful free resources for downloads of seed packet art that you can create with at the bottom of the linked post.

There are also some wonderful seed themed products from Scrapcosy. Here's one project using her 2017 release

There are many ways to use twigs in your art. Darcy used some leftover twigs from her garden to create some interesting texture onto her winter rose wreath. She also sprayed them to add colour to the design. There's something wonderful about using the natural and real to add to the manmade products in the base.

The structural nature of twigs can also be used as an indication of something else. Penny Nuttall created a niche with a matchbox base but use twigs as a nod to an ancient tomb structure. A really artistic solution.

We can also use the tiny to simulate the large. I adore the considered elements of this piece of art by Diana Taylor and the way that the twigs draw your eye around the decor piece.

We've had a good few twig based examples, but I couldn't help thinking of an earlier set of Sara Naumann's ESN018. This has a bird sat atop a twig/branch. Here's one of Sara's samples for her original release.

I also thought of Kay Carley's new releases last year (EKC62) with the snowman and his/her twiggy arms.

You can also use twigs as the most perfect rustic hanging implements. Etsuko used a beautifully curved one to hang this amazing piece.

Bringing nearly all the elements in this topic together is Lynne Moncrief who has masterfully used twigs, twig stamps, handmade paper and recycled junk (which we haven't even touched on but is a perfect response to this topic) to create this loveliness.

I hope you're ready to go foraging, whether you've a garden, yarden or a local wood or park. Nature is all around us, and at this time of year, much stuff is dying to make way for the new so there'll be a rich bounty for you to create sustainably with.

If you want to create along with us, please share on our social feeds so we can see what you get up to. The best places are Instagram @paperartsy or post in PaperArtsy People Group on Facebook. Make sure you tag us in your contributions, we love to see what you get up to in your creative world!  

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