Sunday, 30 March 2014

Artistic Explorations: Handmade paper (2)

It has been almost a year ago since I was introduced to the papermaking process and I wrote this article about my experience. I intended to create more handmade paper but due to so many other projects on the go I haven't been able to that. Then I noticed a papermaking workshop was going to be organised by Peace Paper Project at the Findhorn Foundation. The perfect opportunity to make more paper and this time it was with fabric!
We had to bring an old garment that had to be cut in very small pieces.

Cutting fabric © Damian Connell 2014 

I chose my funky blouse that had become too small.

Blouse fabric © Fenfolio 2014

Then all the little pieces of fabric were processed into pulp by a special machine called Hollander beater. It only took about 10 minutes to create soft pulp!

Creating pulp with the Hollander beater © Damian Connell 2014

Beater wheel © Damian Connell 2014

The pulp was then put in a vat with lots of water. With a deckle and mould we scooped out the pulp (pulling out a sheet), wiggled it a bit to get an even and smooth surface and let the water drain. Then we had to "couch" the pulp by rolling it on a surface covered with felt sheets.

Mould and deckle,

Pulling a sheet © Damian Connell 2014

Couching a sheet © Damian Connell 2014

Once the sheets were completely dry my paper was ready!

I love the fibers from my blouse in my paper! © Fenfolio 2014
You can still see a piece of my blouse in this two layered paper © Fenfolio 2014

I also used other people's pulp. This is a two layered paper sheet;
pink and blue.
© Fenfolio 2014

Two layered paper. The top is my own pulp. © Fenfolio 2014

Combining various pulp to make a three layered sheet © Fenfolio 2014

 I also experimented with some stencils which they provided.

Pulling of stencil from paper sheet © Damian Connell 2014

Printed paper (three layered) with stencil and dye © Fenfolio 2014

Printed paper (two layered) with stencil and dye © Fenfolio 2014

Example of a stencil held in front of window © Damian Connell 2014

Printed paper with stencil and dye © Fenfolio 2014

I'd like to thank Drew and Margaret for a truely inspirational workshop. The work they do all around world by introducing people from all kinds of backgrounds and in various cultures is amazing. I also would like thank Damian Connell for giving me permission to use some of his photos which were taken during one of the other sessions.

Papermaking workshop © Fenfolio 2014

Now I've got a pile of gorgeous handmade paper waiting to be used for my new art projects. Watch this space!!

A pile of gorgeous handmade paper © Damian Connell 2014

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Artistic Explorations: Self Portrait

For my next project at Life Drawing class we were going to do a self portrait, one of my least favourite subjects! It would be my second attempt in two years. Again, I wanted to create an interesting surface first (perhaps to redirect the attention to that instead of my actual portrait?). Coincidentally at the same time I had asked my father and aunt whether they had any vintage articles from magazines and newspapers. They are both very interested in history in general so I thought they might have something for me.

Well, I was happily surprised that my dad had just gone through a pile of old newspaper cuttings, officially typed documents and magazine articles they found after his mother passed away. They were all about my great-grandfather who retired as director of the Post Office in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1941.
He had selected the ones he wanted to keep but there was many more left and I could have these!

I had so much joy reading these articles and selecting cuttings for my collage. I was especially moved by his personal speech looking back at his career as a director. Before I started to cut and tear I took photos of the text of course and this collage is what I created.

Paper collage on grey board

Close-up collage

Close-up collage

Then I added gesso and sketched my portrait in pencil first. The final drawing includes brown indian ink, pen, Cretacolour Chunky Charcoal and Golden liquid acrylics. It doesn't look like me at all and some proportions are not correct but somehow the drawing is intriguing. I hadn't planned it but the way the words " De Wachter" (which is the title of a newspaper and means Watchman) are placed on my forehead and my left eye reflecting a picture of my great grandfather is quite symbolic!

Self portrait on collaged paper

Self portrait close-up

Self portrait close-up

Self portrait close-up

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Artistic Explorations: Figure Drawing (2)

In the first few weeks of my figure drawing class I realised that when using a medium with a fine nib such as a pencil or pen I have the tendency to focus too much on detail. As mentioned in my previous article about figure drawing I enjoyed working with indian ink but I wanted to experiment with some other mediums too. I love the texture and effect you can create with charcoal but black is not my favourite colour. After some research online I found Cretacolor's Art Chunky Charcoal. These are large sticks in 12 wonderful colours, they hold well in the hand and can be used to cover a large area (on the long edge) or to be more precise (with sharp edge).

Cretacolour Art Chunky Charcoal

This medium really suits my style of drawing and they are in particular great in combination with a textured surface such as collage. Recently I made two mixed media drawings on grey cardboard using the charcoal sticks;

"Fibrous" is a drawing of a part of a cast (statue) on top of a collage of scraps of a painting, woodchip paper and old cycle toute maps from The Hague. Apart from charcoal I also used indian ink pen.


"Fibrous" close-up

"Fibrous" close-up

"Hermes" was created with a male model in the class room. The collage consists of sheets of A5 paper printed with a travel theme which I bought online and sections of my expired passport with travel stamps and visas. I also used some White liquid acrylics from Golden for the sheet and pillow and indian ink pen for the left hand.


"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up

"Hermes" close-up