Now I’m going to talk about paper sculpture in this post. Are you not exactly warmed up to clay yet? That’s OK – I’ve got something for you, too!
And I know good clay doesn’t always come cheap. I remember when the first 2 oz size of Sculpey was just under a buck a brick. What seems to be abundant and cheap, though…Paper!
Because paper is so plentiful, it lends itself to versatility….You can cut it, rend it (and even paper with visibly torn edges can be artistically appealing if done a certain way…)fold, score, and manipulate it in so many ways. And it can also be part of the filler for actual clay, either the kind you can make yourself, or to supplement your work.
OK, now let’s look at some ways to use this to your advantage!
Pin Me, Friend!
Papier-mache (unsure that’s the exact spelling – there’s a variation on the spelling that is obviously French) has been around awhile, and I’ve been thinking abut getting in on this. I know, it’s messy, but I imagine it would be worth it once I got over the initial fear of gluey fingers.
It starts by the artist building out an armature from obviously wire – I’ve seen chicken wire being used for one approach. I think this must be the toughest part, but I’m sure it depends on how flexible it is, into the desired object shape. Then you apply strips of paper over the structure that have been dipped in some kind of plaster material, which will self-stick once they are situated, then allowing it to dry. You’ll be left with a semblance of a random object.
Eventually, you can paint your finished sculptures, and if finished off right, they may last indefinitely. Other thing to think about , the hard part is no doubt constructing the armature, which is not a simple framework, for the paper strips to cover it precisely it would have to be well constructed. Here’s an example of paper-mache art:
Not too shabby, huh? Unicorns are awesome and magical no matter what you make them from. I could see myself trying something like that, no doubt…’
Here’s another example, one thing I can say is that animals can be tricky as you’ve got to factor in things like four legs and making sure they support the rest of the body as well as tails and other characteristics….
Origami is another artform I’d like to try out one day, it’s the Japanese tradition of creating paper art with a very linear approach, from what I have read about it, you can crease the paper but cutting it is out of the question. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one. I could be mistaken. Anyway, some sculptures I’ve seen made from origami can be very striking…
You do need to have access to a special type of paper; to have an easier time working with it.
I’ve heard that the crane is the most popular subject, legend has it a thousand cranes will bring good fortune! This one in the image above is green but I suppose they could be any color. So if you wanted to take a look at origami, look into making some of those cranes!
Quilling is one of my “side hobbies” that I got into when I just want to take a break from sculpting. You can check out this post in which I elaborate more about what it is and how it works. Is it a true form of sculpture? Yes and no. But you will get plenty of exercise with pinching and rolling, and you can develop your quilled paper shapes into two and three-dimensional designs pretty easily! Should you try to do something as elaborate as that of the image at the left? Probably not, not at first, anyway. But take a crack at some smaller designs, and see what you can come up with.
Just Going Free-Form…
If you’ve got a flat base to work on, and an armature, and an idea…why not fool around with that avalanche of scrap paper and see where it leads you? Yeah, I know, that’s kind of a “lazy” explanation, but some things are better without the “rule book”….Although it might not hurt to have a book to go by for inspiration. Study the work of famous sculptors and see if you could recreate something that made the history books?
Well I’ve tossed some ideas out there, now, on to you! What will you do with them now?