Guest Author - Susan Alison
Papier-mache Today by Sheila McGraw is split into five main chapters:- Read this First, Animals, Monsters, Home Décor and Finishing.
I do like to start at the beginning and work my way through a book new to me, but sometimes I get a bit fed up with reading that whole history thing again – papier mache through the ages or how the craft of papier mache shaped the world or some such – I’ve read it a few times and have obviously found it interesting in the past, but, refreshingly, this book doesn’t have it! I wonder how an author decides whether to leave it out or keep it in – it seems such an obligatory part of most books.
Anyway, having said what I liked that ISN’T in this book, now I’ll have a look at what IS in this book…
The first part (Read this First) is fairly brief but covers all you need to know about the basic equipment and techniques. It does it with good photos, too, and a very helpful cat. I don’t have a cat, but managed nevertheless. The Animals section is very inspiring and the pictures and instructions are brilliantly helpful. This is probably the section of most use to me as I tend towards animals in my art depictions, whether 2D or 3D.
However, the Monsters section is so full of fun characters and humor that I shall be coming back to this when I have more time to indulge my new-found desire to create a refrigerator monster and a manhole monster. This would also be a terrific section to use for a team effort with children.
I wonder who hasn’t made a papier mache bowl in their time – but there are always new ways to decorate them. In the Home Décor section the paperweights were fun and there were various ideas to spark off one’s creativity. The Finishing section had some useful information on techniques for completing your project.
Just two small points – if you’re short on time you can certainly buy dry papier mache pulp, but I think it adds to your experience if you make it yourself at least once, rather just automatically buying it. Also, there is no index in this book – and I always end up trying to find something which I need an index for. As I say, however, just small points.
Papier mache is a wonderful material and I would truly recommend anyone to have a go at it – it can be marvelously liberating to mess around with all this gloop and paper and you can achieve some amazing effects – all at little cost.
This book is a good one to start you off if you’ve not ventured into papier mache before, and to keep you going even if you have. This is a book I will keep coming back to. Good one!