Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Seduction of Paper




sensual: relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses
------ Miriam-Webster.com


"Throughout time, paper has been the mirror of the soul."
----Dominique Bouisson, The Art of Japanese Paper


"........paper gives us a certain feeling of warmth, of calm and repose. ...It gives off no sound when it is crumpled or folded, it is quiet and pliant to the touch as the leaf of a tree."
--------Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows


Found on the beach: weathered cardboard discs and tubes from spent fireworks.

Paper is supple, solid, sensuous, yet easily destroyed, weathered, worn and torn. Without it there would be no history, no memory. Writers, historians, poets, painters and photographers owe their livelihood and their public recognition to paper. Paper can be so versatile for both functional and artistic purposes. So it is up the the artist to awaken the spirit to its sensuality of touch, and its visual nuances. Paper can be waxed, crumpled, rubbed, modeled, twisted, cut, shaped, torn, folded, oiled, waterproofed, woven, sewn, glued, cast, or sculpted. Collage artists can manipulate paper to achieve a variety of effects. Using basic design elements like line, color, shape, texture, value and movement, the artist can arrange, move and mix papers until it looks "right". Artists can make their collages personal by using letters, photos, books from their own family sources and history. I am always on the lookout for papers--on the sidewalk, torn off of walls and posts, in antique shops and flea markets. I have even found weathered papers on the beach to my great excitement! I look for old maps, letters, receipts, books, labels, and postcards. The search is endless, and the results are an expression of my ideas and feelings based on my history and memory.

39 comments:

m. heart said...

Yes! I have vintage suitcases stuffed full of scraps, ephemera, pages of old books, tissue paper, chopstick wrappers, and fortune cookie fortunes...it's been a while since I've worked with paper but lately I feel inspired.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Ah, paper. Stuff of the gods, me thinks. I love the touch of warmth older paper takes on, and the curls at edges where hands and fingers have touched the paper to a velvet like softness. I especially love the crystalline yellowed marks left by a piece of old adhesive tape. Diaries, time cards, old tickets, billboards, invitations, and letters are traces of what was going on in the past and are all the more precious for the glimpse into memories. Another great post Donna. Thank you.

JonesMoore said...

Absolutely Gorgeous collage work...gives me a 'warm fuzzy'...

layers said...

Leslie, I think you should have written my post... beautiful description. :-)

La Dolce Vita said...

fabulous post! very rich textures your pieces are v
fantastic and I love the weathered disks!

The Artist Within Us said...

You have not disappointed me. Once again I am in love with the art that you have produced.

The work that you do is much what I desire to produce but there is an invisible wall that confronts me. Sometimes i have had managed to break it down but by the time I want to start a new piece, it is right back.

It is much about fear and fear of loosing that piece of precious ephemeral that I treasure.

As I have read you thoughts, I could not find another thing we can do to and with paper, you certainly have covered it all.

Your quotes are wonderful selections to accompany the art and photographs.

As we are all collectors of some kind, I too have a large collection of maps, but most are new, or new when I purchased them. One a few have been used by other to age to a warm softness.

Paper for me has qualities that is very personal. It is a mirror reflecting the artist spirit and I for one have only started to explore its beauty though I have been collecting it for years.

Thank you for sharing
Egmont

ArtPropelled said...

You hit the spot again Donna. Love this post! Your collages are very soothing once my heart stops skipping. The weathered discs were a lucky find and I do love the quotes you choose for all your posts!

Liza said...

"Found on the beach: weathered cardboard discs and tubes from spent fireworks"
I simply love that.
I had a mild obsession with tissue paper a while back, and found myself pasting it on jars that I had kicking around. This led to some rather neat pieces. I love wrapping gifts in pretty tissues papers as well. I also used to write quotes on paper, and burn the edges. I had quite a collection at one time.
Paper is magical!
Thank you so much for sharing.

Delwyn said...

Hello Donna

thank you for this lovely post...I am no artist but I also have a thing about paper...and have quite a collection.
I often say that I have a stationery fetish...

I love to spend time in Japan in stores looking at their beautiful papers and the lovely things that they make from the paper...

Your collages are indeed beautifulxxx

Happy days

Ian Foster said...

Excellent work, your two collages are very exciting and I think the three nails are a master stroke, providing wonderful contrast, 3D opposing 2D and hard against soft.
Your words about paper really hit the nail on the head (those nails again), My own thoughts have mostly been said by earlier commentators so I won't waffle on trying to say it all in a different way. Just thank you.

BLACK AND WHITE said...

WOW! Paper is my great obsession! Thank you for this fantastic post!

Coffee Messiah said...

Paper has endured through time and despite todays world and computers, it will still outlive anything else and especially, electronics.

Nice post! Cheers!

Jo Archer said...

I've been working on some similar things myself, trying to use up all my scraps of old paper. I only hope I can turn out something half as beautiful as these Donna!

PAPER GIRL said...

Hi Donna:
thanks for sharing...
just yesterday I was cleaning my studio and look at all the pieces of old lace, paper and what knots I have collected -- on racks in bins and wondering -- will I ever use it all, or should I just get rid of some of it. I resolved last night... I cannot part with a single piece except by use or gift...

...it is truly OK to love the old, the weathered, the forgotten. To see it transformed into new life as something else... That's what reading your post this morning did for me. I think we are such kindred spirits of a sort...

blessings,
Rosalind

John M. Mora said...

Great post - words and art and assembly.... I respect how you incorporated postage stamps - when I was a kid I collected stamps (started collecting the worlkd and then gravitated to US mint).

Philately (who even knows that word anymore) has lost out to coin collectors. Blame it on the US State quarters and emails and IM and even blogging, et al. Or because copins are less fragile, more marketable on home shopping networks.

I regret that stamps no longer are relevant or admired. I saw them as little paper jewels. Mint or cancelled.

Margaret Ryall said...

A friend labeled me "a hedonist" several years ago because of my utter joy in the subtle manipulation of materials. I accepted the term as very appropriate and complimentary. I think it applies to many artists who love the physical touch of the materials they fashion into compositions.

Paper holds great attraction for my senses. I often think it is because of my primary teaching background where paper played a prominent role in all kinds of projects. Recycling begins in primary classrooms. It was a necessary action in response to low budgets.

jgy said...

Oooh aaaah oooh aaah,
Paper!
I realize reading your post how I miss it. I scrawl in notebooks and pick up plastic, and scan into the computer. I used to pride myself on writing hand-written letters, and now so rarely do I.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder.
You hit the nail write on the head, your collages too are filled with words that jump off the page---beautiful, collector...
Luxurious. "Kami" in Japanese means paper and the same sounding word Kami (as in Kami-sama) means God.
Though they are written completely differently (different kanji) I just realized the similarity in sound...when do you leave for Japan?

Kim Hambric said...

Thanks for such a wonderful post. Your pieces are so beautiful.

I have been in the process of falling in love with paper for a couple of months now. I worked with new papers a few years ago, but now cannot stop purchasing old maps and books.

I love those cardboard circles. I never would have guessed they came from used fireworks. That really makes me want to look down everywhere I go for such things.

magpie said...

you've beautifully articulated
an obsession
that many of us
share.

Lawendula said...

I was sent over by magpie.
Nice post. Maybe you want to join this?
http://wovenletters.blogspot.com/2009/10/paper-swap.html

bob Cornelis said...

The qualities of paper you mention are one of the things I miss most about painting and regret about photography. It's very challenging to introduce that tactile wonder into a photographic print. There's something inherently second-hand about photography, though I hate to admit it...

Regina Dwarkasing said...

Donna,

Thank you for this lovely tribute to paper! And just like you I found lots of these discs on one of the beaches of Curacao some time ago, but it is only now that I know where they originate from.
They will for sure end up somewhere in my future work, as I am very fond of circles, washers, dots etc. Your work is splendid!

alteredbits said...

mmmmm, paper! what a fantastic post! i love the spent firecracker disks you have. i found lots on our last beach trip and my boys thought i was insane to keep them.

your collage is fantastic!

Seth said...

Your collages are wonderful and this post really captures what I feel about paper and my ongoing search for pieces everywhere.

willow said...

I, too, love the calm and repose of paper. I am drawn to all kinds of vintage emphemera and have quite a collection. I really need to do something creative with it. Your fabulous work inspires me.

A rambling rose said...

Seduction of paper + your photos, artwork and the post itself - thank you Donna!

mansuetude said...

such a lovely and loving post... to the makers of the first papyrus to you, blessings on it. I love the sensuality of a smooth paper.

Those discs found on the beach are amazing. Thank you for giving me permission of sorts to love this material.

love your view.

Don said...

Beautiful post.

india said...

all of the above...

Catherine said...

mmmm, yes...seductive scraps and snips of every life. Great post.

nancy neva gagliano said...

i always have to touch papers in shops, like the fabrics of clothing. sensual.
and paper has its way, often, like this morning with paints. textures sometimes rule what happens.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Wonderful post Donna. A description of a great day surely would be to sit with these treasures and pick each one up and truly appreciate it's beauty!

Mick said...

The search you speak of is like a magnet as much as a siren calling. It is one of the pure joys of life for many of us. :)

Jo Horswill said...

Gorgeous collage Donna...

I go into a dream when I'm shopping for paper...especially some of my printing papers. I generally go by touch and then colour, opting for the creamy whites.

Beautiful post

Delwyn said...

Donna
I left you a message about geisha and Kyoto at my post but wanted to say if you have any questions about Kyoto feel free to email me..


There is a great little book called 'Old Kyoto' by Diane Durston which tells of traditional shops, restaurants and inns...

Happy days

oneartistjournal said...

So beautiful.
I mean everything on your blog..just everything, your words and art are so touching to me...I wish I saw your face and spoke to you...

Gwen Buchanan said...

the way you write here...You have given paper "soul" ...

your care and love for it comes through beautifully and truly!!!

... paper yearns for transformation

sheilasab@sbcglobal.net said...

i have always had a love affair with paper of every kind--in trades, i would find a few cancelled stamps---i would not be feeling the touch, the beauty of the stamp--a few months ago, i really took a look at the stamp i was holding before it was" tossed "--love at first sight--i couldn't believe the artistry--the beauty--each little piece of the one inch paper just grabbed me---how could i have done that to all the stamps i have gotten in the last ten years... sam

sheilasab@sbcglobal.net said...

donna---p.s. i love your art--i love your serenity--i love japan and her beauty and serenity...sam