Guest Author - Susan Alison
Papier Mache – what a great material! It has it all in terms of ease of use, economy and the ability to make just about anything. There are several books on the subject and this review is about one of the better known.
Juliet Bawden is an artist and craftsperson through and through. You know when you see her name that the book is going to be worth having, and ‘The Art and Craft of Papier Mache’ is no exception.
Beautifully illustrated with numerous colour photographs, the book starts with a brief history of papier mache and where it fits in the folk art tradition, followed by sections on Techniques, Decorating, Interiors, Fashion, Masks and Dolls, and Creations. There is also a short but useful glossary.
This book covers everything you need to know to produce your own papier mache works of art, and even if you don’t immediately set about you with strips of newspaper and pots of glue, there is plenty in this book to give your creativity a real boost.
However, if you are about to dive into pulping and molding, layering and making wire armatures etc, the supplies required are clearly listed, the instructions easy to follow, and the diagrams and photos most useful and illuminating.
You will come away from this book realising that you can use just about anything you have at home, plus a few inexpensive materials, to produce high end pieces that will look good in your own home or anyone else’s. In fact, as you go about your house in future you might well find yourself eyeing up your own bowls and other artefacts and wondering if you can use them as a mold.
Personally, I was most inspired by the pictures of life size people and how to make them; a ‘strange creature’ – which was a dog, really, and dogs in any shape or form (or color) are going to appeal to me; and some of the jewelry.
Some of the pieces of art took me out of my comfort zone in terms of what I like to see and/or make, but it’s good to get a nudge in different directions sometimes; it’s good to think about new things and maybe try them out, too, and they’re always good for sparking new ideas of your own.
This is another book that can get you going, not just with the material and techniques it talks about, but in other areas of creativity too.