by Paula Wesson, Staff Writer
Perhaps when you were a child, you made papier-mâché. The artwork currently on display in Alumnae Hall is similar. But instead of using old newspaper, the papermaking students use cotton pulp to make a variety of papers.
Students in the Papermaking class and the Printed Image class collaborated on the exhibition, titled Layered Image. The display will be up until Nov. 27.
Pat Badt, a professor of art, explained, “The exhibition was an opportunity to showcase the project from inception to final product, recognizing the efforts of each individual and the teams.”
This project also provided an opportunity to introduce different processes.
Deidre Mashack, a senior art therapy major, said, “It was definitely a learning experience. I imagined how intricate some wood carvings are and how skilled the artist must be to create them.” She estimated that it took her seven hours to carve her design into a wood block.
Laura Bauder, a junior School of Adult and Graduation Education student and art therapy major, said her project “came together over several sessions over the course of two weeks,” because papermaking is a time-consuming process.
To make the paper, students first mix together water and natural or dyed cotton pulp. They dip a piece of mesh and a deckle, a frame used to contain the pulp, into the pulp bucket. The deckle frames the pulp to various sizes depending on which size is used.
Together, they are removed from the bucket of pulp. The layer of pulp remaining on the screen is carefully transferred to a piece of felt to dry. If there is too much water, the pulp won’t hold together to form a sheet of paper.
To make designs on the paper, like the ones on display, one sheet is made in the background color desired. It is pressed between large felt sheets to remove some of the excess water. While still damp, another layer is added.
A different color of pulp is carefully overlaid using a stencil. Because both pulps are damp, they fuse together. Finished sheets are laid between layers of cardboard and stacked in a press, where they dry for several days.
Once dry, the papermaking students met with printmaking students to add another layer to their designs. Mashack printed a pumpkin flower on paper made by junior Marie Nocheck, an integrated art with a biology concentration and English with a writing concentration double major. Mashack was inspired by the pumpkin flower because “the way the flowers curl up in the evening creates an intricate patterning.”
After that layer of paint dried, some papermaking students added embellishments. Bauder and Nocheck both chose to embroider their pages. Bauder also used ribbons and cut-outs.
“I am constantly looking for ways to add dimension to my projects,” said Bauder. “The cut outs were inspired by Jill Odegaard. When we sat down with Jill and Pat to talk about the direction our project was going, they offered some ideas, and I was really drawn to the idea of adding to the image as well as taking away from it,” Bauder explained.
Bauder said that she loves having her work on display to create conversations about art. Mashack also enjoys having her work on display because she is “curious as to what people think, say, or feel when they view a piece of artwork.”
If you are interested in making similar projects, Papermaking will be taught by Jill Odegaard, an associate professor of art and chairperson, in spring 2013 on Thursdays from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. The Printed Image will be taught by Pat Badt in spring 2013 on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. At the time of this writing, Papermaking is full, but The Printed Image is open.