What is paper clay? Paper clay is “any clay with processed cellulose fibre added” (1). Paper clay can be purchased with fiber already added, or the fiber can be beaten and added to already processed slips. There are many benefits of using paper clay over regular processed clays. A few of those benefits may include overall structural strength, less changes of warping, as well as the ability for it to be pushed super thin, aiding in creating translucent porcelain. The best part, paper fiber can be added to any type of clay, earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. But is most effective when added to porcelain due to its ability to reduce warping at such a high scale, and is used most for repair and attaching parts.
To make paper clay, a cellulose fiber is required. Most paper fibers will work just fine. Recycled paper such as newspaper and regular printer paper can be used, even purchasing a sheet of cotton linter or already processed fiber works just as well. One advantage of using purchased cotton linter is the lack of printer ink or dye that may be added to recycled papers, they also do not rot the clay as fast. Since fiber is a natural material, rotting can/will occur. Using types of paper such as toilet paper will result in rotting of the clay in as little as a couple hours, this is due to the starch that is added to toilet paper, with promotes the growth of mold. Although, the mold can be killed with a small amount of bleach added to the mix. It has been recommend to use spay insulation due to its strength, and due to the way it is sold, it will help cut down on time that would be required to break down the fiber yourself. (2) Although, these cellulose fibers that are within spray insulation contain borax and boron, which is used to reduce the fire hazard from home insulation. Borax acts as a flux, which helps to reduce the melting point in most glaze chemicals, but when added to a clay body, reduced the maturity point of the fired clay (1). This often resells in slipping of the form. After the paper and slip mixture is created, it is added to plaster to help remove access water and dry out to the point of use. This method of creating paper clay can easily be applied to crating a casting slip. Since you would already be making a slip prior to adding any fiber. This fibrous slip can be poured directly into a plaster mold and cast to create a very strong and thin form. (2)
To my surprise, there are quite a few artist who work with paper clay. It does not come as a suprise to me to find that these artist also have worked with paper processes such as hand made paper and book arts. Carol Farrow is one of those artist who worked with both making paper and paper clay. Her work with paper very closely resembles her work with the paper clay.
Jerry Bennett has created a way of making paper clay that is very simple and has been made available to the public. This is his website: http://jerrybennett.net/category/blog/. Also, here are some more images of paper clay works by artist: Sara Ransford, Angela Mellor, Nathalie Domingo, and Jerry Bennett, as well as others.
Overall, I believe paper clay can be a very useful material. With paper clay making porcelain a stronger clay, with less of a chance or warping, I can see many applications of this and possibilities in the future. Thought my research I have discovered a love for paper clay and a desire to work with it myself. With my background is ceramics and my familiarity with paper making, this might be something I see myself doing in the future.
(1) Http://www.grahamhay.com.au/paperclay.html. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.grahamhay.com.au/paperclay.html#.W-ulDXpKjMI
(2) How to Make Paper Clay. (2018, August 02). Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-supplies/pottery-clay/make-paper-clay/
Tardio-Brise, L. (n.d.). PAPERCLAY. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from http://www.terrepapier.com/paperclay-en.php
Carol Farrow: http://www.carolfarrow.net
Sara Ransford: http://pyrogirlaspen.com
Angela Mellor: http://www.angelamellor.com
Nathalie Domingo: http://nathaliedomingo.com
Jerry Bennett: http://jerrybennett.net/
Chris Campbell: http://www.ccpottery.com
Thérèsa Lebrun: http://www.wcc-bf.org/membre/lebrun-thérèse
By Chayna Truex
Illuminated Manuscripts are a type of book form that was used primarily during the middle ages. The word ‘manuscript’ was taken from the Latin term ‘manus scriptus’ which means ‘handwritten’. This term refers to the creation of illuminated manuscripts and the painstaking process of making these books by hand. Illuminated manuscripts date back to the 4th century the earliest being the Vergilius Augusteus which is only seven pages and many scholars believe it to be from a larger recreation of Virgil’s literature. The manor of creating illuminated manuscripts had changed significantly over the years. One can see the shift in its creation through the work of, the Ambrosian Iliad that dates back to the 5th century CE, an illuminated manuscript that details Homer’s work. Though technically this work is used to signify the shift to what many of us know as the medieval version of illuminated manuscripts; which use colors like gold, silver, and make use of bold lettering.
We know a great amount about the creation of illuminated manuscripts due to their popularity though very few have survived today. It was until the 13th century that illuminated manuscripts were primarily created by monks in a place called a scriptorium. Scriptoriums were rooms that were used strictly for the many processes of creating illuminated manuscripts such as the writing, copying, binding, and illuminating of these books. The creations of illuminated manuscripts was a huge group effort that could take from months to years to finish depending on the level of detail. The materials used in the creation of illuminated manuscripts is a bit different than what we would use in our modern books today. Illuminated manuscripts were written on animal skins until around 1450 BCE and were referred to as parchment or vellum. After the parchment was done it was then ruled or scored, so the scribe was able to write in straight lines. They then used lead based or colored ink and used a quill pen, taken from a goose or swan. The illumination was done by embellishing the drawings done by the quill, by painting over it with gold leaf. They would then use substances such as bole, which is a red clay, or sap to make the material stick. It was during this process that the illuminator would then mix pigments and add the rest of the colors to the drawing. The last process in creating the illuminated manuscript was the binding where they would fold together the parchment pages and sew them together using leather cords. They would then lace together supports taken from wood boards and cover the book in a leather binding.
Illuminated manuscripts are still a significant piece of book history and are still looked on today due to the amount of detail that was put into them. It is because of painstaking process in their creation that cause them to be studied by scholars today to understand the importance of art in the middle ages during a time before we had printing presses. It is easy for us to see today why these books were major symbols of art. “People often don’t realize that the greatest artists, the finest artists, of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are illuminated manuscripts” (Samplers).
Mark, Joshua J. “Illuminated Manuscripts.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 13 Nov. 2018, www.ancient.eu/Illuminated_Manuscripts/.
Samplers, Dropcloth, et al. “How Illuminated Manuscripts Were Created During the Middle Ages.” My Modern Met, 10 Mar. 2018, mymodernmet.com/how-to-make-medieval-illuminated-manuscripts/.
Wight. “An Introduction to Illuminated Manuscripts by the British Library.” The British Library, The British Library, 25 Aug. 2005, www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/TourIntroGen.asp
By Noa Paden
Altered books is an art form that refers to the practice of taking an already existing book, rather than making one by hand, and in some way destroying or adding to it to create a new piece of art. There are many forms of this such as black out poetry, collages, sculptures, and other things. Sculptures in specific can be created by folding, cutting, gluing, sewing, or otherwise changing the physical structure and properties of the book.
It is unclear when book sculpture as an art form first appeared, but it seems to have only become a widely known art form within recent years and it continues to spread rapidly.
The above picture shows piece by Jodi Harvey-Brown is an illustration of a scene from the popular book Harry Potter, made from the book the scene takes place in. This is an example of turning literal pages into sculpture, based on the text it came from. It's a clear cut message with very little that needs to be interpreted or translated to understand what's going on.
In contrast, Emma Taylor makes pieces that are less relevant to the books she makes the pieces from, ignoring the original text completely and just using the book as a medium to get her art across. She says that the ending of a book is tragic, and appreciates them as objects as much as she appreciates the stories inside of them.
Her works are simple in concept, such as the trees depicted above, but have a very detailed and precise execution. Her pieces often showcase nature, turning back time on the paper the books were originally made from.
Another artist of note is an anonymous paper crafter who leaves sculptures around Edinburough for people to simply find at random. These sculptures often going undiscovered for quite a long time before they get noticed and taken somewhere safe. The artist says that some might never be found and others might get immediately thrown away due to the locations the art is left in—but has no problem with this fact and continues to make work and leaving it to be found in its own time.
This artist plays with the sculptures staying inside the book as well as making free-standing sculptures that have broken away from the structure of the book they were created from.
There are no rules to how these sculptures are made or designed, though some people adhere to their own code of how these works of art should be made. Ultimately, it's a fairly new art form that's still growing and being explored.
Listen to what these artists and art historian have to say about altered books and how they're rediscovering books as art:
Christine Antaya, an art historian based in London featured in this video, says that these alterations are not the death of books, but rather a transition. While some people still get angry at the idea of destroying existing books for to make new art, hopefully it will not be seen in such a negative light in the future.
By Samantha Vo
The digital revolution during the 1970’s provided a platform for the new artist. Practicing non traditional mediums, digitally versed artists gave new meaning to the computer and its advances in culture. Joan Truckenbrod was amongst these pioneers and has been highly influential in the development of not only the digital artist, but the inclusion of women in technology. In a time where the potential of the computer was envisioned to be more transformative than ever imagined, Ruth Leavitt proposed the following from her influential book Artist and Computer (1976): “Computer art challenges our traditional beliefs about art: how art is made, who makes it, and what is the role of the artist in society. The uninitiated artists asks: What can this machine do for me? Really, the question should be: What can I do with this machine? The artist has only to choose what role he/she wishes the computers to play. The computer helps the artist to perceive in a new way. Its features blend with those of its user to form a new type of art” (leavitt 1976, vii).
Joan Truckenbrod is an international exhibited artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Intrigued by the physical sensations of transparent yet palpable phenomena, Truckenbrod translates mathematical formulas from physics into code to create artwork that can materialize this data. Such phenomena includes but is not limited to, light wave reflections off of chaotic surfaces, wind patterns that reshape materials in their pathway or magnetic fields with undulating boundaries. Computer imaging was a vehicle to unify the synthesis of the analytical and physical perception of these experiences. Her work is influential largely because it did not remain in a digital form but often transformed into physical works such as drawings and textiles. Aside from coding, Truckenbrod experimented with unconventional printing methods to translate her code onto paper and other materials.
In 1975 Joan Truckenbrod created her series of line drawings using code she developed in FORTRAN, a computer programming language. The process she described, was long and unpredictable as much of the equipment was not available in the art department leaving her to depend on faculty in the science and geography labs to process her material. Her code was developed from mathematical equations that describe the phenomena of wind and light patterns. Line by line, she translated the formulas onto key punch cards for the computer to read and produce code. Using a pen plotter in the geography department, she was able to feed her code into the machine to draw the embedded coordinates.
Truckenbrod’s line drawings was an introduction of how she could utilize the computer in her art. However she was unsatisfied with the disconnection between such phenomena and the drawings and desired to create a more symbolic union with the natural world. She received a grant from Apple computers in 1978 to pursue her exploration in textiles. Using an apple IIe, Joan created a series of patterns representing the invisible phenomena in motion. She placed the monitor upside down on a 3M color-in-color copier to create individual pattern frames. Truckenbrod hand ironed the patterns frame by frame using heat transfer xerography onto fabric. By using textiles, Joan felt that it would connect with the natural world by responding radically to light patterns and wind currents in its environment. These electronic patchwork textiles were then exhibited in the IBM Gallery in New York City.
After receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979, Joan Truckenbrod became the first chair of its newly created art and technology program, a former nondigital school. She is responsible for developing one of the first courses in computer graphics called “creative computer imaging” and helped establish an international reputation for Chicago’s art community. She was a pioneer for women in the digital arts in a time where technology held little to no room for female artists. Joan Truckenbrod reinvented the possibilities of technology within the arts and paved the way for multi-faceted artists. She is a prime example of the way women bring a diverse perception into any field. As described by Dr. Lina Wainwright “Technology is a valuable handmaiden in the advances of culture but only when wielded with a spirit of empathy, collaboration, and care, skills in which women, in my opinion, excel.”
“An Awesome Page.” , Artist - Video Sculpture Artwork and Exhibit - Nanoscapes, joantruckenbrod.com/joan-truckenbrod.html.
Cox, Donna, et al. New Media Futures The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts. University of Illinois Press, 2018.
Truckenbrod, Joan. “Biography.” Teaching Texture Mapping Visually - Page 9, 2000, www.siggraph.org/artdesign/profile/Truckenbrod/biography.html.
Truckenbrod, Joan, director. Joan Truckenbrod. Vimeo, 13 Nov. 2018, vimeo.com/286992423.
Wenhart, Nina. “Prehysteries of New Media.” 06/25/08, 2008, prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/ruth-leavitt-artist-and-computer-1976.html.
By Zelda Hurd
“I hope to raise questions about these changes, the ephemeral and fragile nature in which we now obtain knowledge, and the future of books.”-Cara Barer
Cara Barer is an American Artist from Texas born in 1956 who transforms old books into a form that is very beautiful. Barer uses books that have been abandoned and that no longer have a purpose. She has seen the shift of books and how technology is taking over the physicality of having a book. Cara hopes to make her viewers think about the fragile aspect of books. Another inspiration came from yellow pages that she saw soaked from rain on the ground outside and intrigued by the new form it created she documented the book using photography. Barer examines the books before starting her process and depending on the content she sometimes will leave the book the way it is. Barer explains that she sometimes arrives with her image by chance through experimentation, using clothing pins, curling irons, water and dye. Creating by chance and not as planned allows her to create her artworks with flow. She says that sometimes she catches herself reading the book, instead of creating art. She then captures her book sculptures with photography to document and symbolize how fragile the physicality of books are and that technology is taking over for every resource.
Cara Barer has been showcasing her work in Canada and the United States since 1994 and her most recent exhibition is called Scrapbooks. It is the first exhibition of monograph of her sculptures. She has taken memories, such as pictures, and guest traveling books, and made a book out of them, and then starts her process of turning that book of memory into something new. Her thesis for this exhibition is “ that a book is never broken, and memory never lost, only made anew with time.” This exhibition is dedicated to the flood in Houston Texas. As she continues this journey of creating abstract art with books, she hopes to capture a lot of information.
Jacqueline Rush Lee an artist from Hawaii, has a very similar art concept as Cara Barer, she states that these books aren’t being ruined, they are given a new life. Lee creates her form using experimentation too, but she uses a kiln- firing approach. She fires each book in a different temperature and this depends on the book itself. Lee discovered that the books made in 1940s and 1950s had a better paper quality that holds up better in the heat of the kiln. One of her books called Absolute Depth changes form before the viewer by decaying and dissolving in water, as an example of transformation. Like Barer, Lee only uses old, books and volumes that she then buys a lot of.
Both artists use books that have content, in which they gain their inspiration. Barer looks at the book before she starts her experimentation in a way of remembering the book in it’s old form before its transformation and Lee uses the content of her book for inspiration and only uses the book if the contents resonate with her.