Just a few weeks after my initial meeting with my artist mentor, Ry McCoullough, I am already feeling expansive. I started making paper. I’m not really sure why I wasn’t already doing so, with so many magazine clippings and shreddings from my mixed media work (all magazines are second-hand, I do not order subscriptions to use for my work), and an obsession with reusing, recycling, and generally doing the best thing for the planet (see previous parentheses), it only seems natural that I should have been making paper for years. I suppose I can be rather dense at times and when I’m busy with all the different facets of my life, some things slip through the cracks.
Anyway, PAPER!! I hand shredded my magazine clippings, soaked them in water, and went to town blending them up like a paper smoothie. Dumped the pulp on a screen, smeared it around, dried it out, and voila! My first piece of crappy, brittle paper and I’m in love with it. Ok, it wasn’t that easy – I had to reblend, add more water, reblend, and remove from the screen and repeat several times until I thought it might be a viable piece of paper, which it is barely. More practice will surely manifest either a quicker process and/or better paper. Either way I had fun and I’m using the piece of paper for my first art book.
The book is already bound and I’ve started laying out the pages. It’s a sort of personal history and album of recent time, I believe, but I’m still working on it and I’m letting myself just go with the flow so the book can just be whatever it becomes. Nothing set in stone, which is how I like to work anyway, really, so this is not much different. The book does feel a bit like a journal, though, which is why I’m compelled to call it a personal history and almost a family album of sorts. We’ll see what happens! I’m excited to share the book with the world and with my mentor, who inspired me to create it.