Charmaine Ortiz: Cast paper sculpture

This North Carolina artist exhibits her work both nationally and internationally and has earned various fellowships and residency grants to further her practice. 

Her website work statement describes (in part) the core of her creativity being that of drawing and working with graphite.  Her focus is very much on the no. 2 pencil and she makes her own pencils from raw materials.   Her site goes on to say “The resulting objects and prompts deconstruct the act of drawing to reveal the interconnections between the performance of mark making and the resulting object, drawing vs. the drawing“.

Here we are looking at her work on cast paper to form objects of drawing.  She states that they are very much experimental and she continues to learn much through the ongoing process.

Above: Top row – some of her pieces in the Mirror Image series.
Second row, left to right – Wall Loop and Single-Burr Roundabout.

More of her work, including projects, installations and exhibitions can be found on the links below.


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Exhibition: Lea Kannar Lichtenberger

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In the studio: Experimenting with larger paper

By Claire Brach

My paper making journey has mainly consisted of making sheets not much bigger than A4 or 30cm square and I’ve been keen to make some larger sheets.  So Robert and I had a day in the studio where he introduced me to his own method.  Robert designed a unique mold and deckle to enable him to form larger sheets of paper, and it works quite quickly with good evenly distributed pulp.

Let’s look at his self-designed system.

He constructed a large base with mesh attached, essentially a wooden frame with struts across the underside for support and to maintain the shape.  He then made a high sided top to fit over this, with a shallow lip to allow it to slip over the base on three sides, and form a seal around the lower section.  It will be easier to understand as we progress and you see more pictures.

From this second photo  you can see a thin metal sheet with a ‘stopper’ which is laid atop the mesh before placing the top section in place.  I can almost hear your questions: what on earth is this for?

So, once fully in place and ready to go the contraption looks like this:

We were up and running!  Pulp and additional water was poured in, with the aluminium stopping it draining through, and it was agitated to evenly spread the pulp and ensure there were no lumps.

Holding tightly to the wooden sides the aluminium was whipped out, allowing the water to drain and the paper sheet to form.  Obviously this system uses quite a bit of water but if you’re making white paper the water stays clean and can be reused over and over, once collected through the table draining hole.

It was time to turn out our paper and get it into the press.  I found this part quite hard and kept getting bubbles in the sheets.  However, after some perseverance, and several lots of pulp being scrapped back into the bucket for recycling (!!) I managed to get six pieces looking quite good.

Robert, of course, made it all look very easy:

Into the press for a while, and a break for lunch, then the sheets were rolled onto drying boards and put out in the sun to dry under protective screens.

A great day, and my thanks go to Robert (and Michelle who also helped out whilst making her own paper – and brought morning tea) for both his help and the use of his innovative paper-making invention.

Six pristine white sheets of my own hand-made paper to play with.  Happy with that.

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Patrick Cabral: Paper Sculpture

As part of an ongoing series to highlight various endangered species, Manila-based paper artist Patrick Cabral has created a range of amazing cut paper portraits of tigers, pandas, pangolins, elephants and other threatened animals. The multi-layered works are cut by hand and incorporate decorative flourishes and patterns into the face of each animal.

Left: Tamaraw Right: Dhole

These stunningly detailed creations are meticulously cut, with extreme attention to detail, before assembling and showcasing the structure within each layer.  This is very evident when taking a close-up look at the tiger image below.

Tiger & close-up


Not only has he understood the facial formations of the various animals but he has added his own design flair into their construction.

The piece shown here is a perfect example.  Elephants are routinely painted and adorned for ceremonial purposes around the world and his patterning seems to point to this.

His work is not only confined to this series, but he does appear to concentrate on the animal form in general.  Below is an image of a deer which gives an idea of the scale of the carving.  With no particular adornment included he has formed a more solid piece, but one which is no less engaging.

And a couple of other lovely pieces:

Check out much, much more from these resources:

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Hitotsuyama Studio: Recycling newspaper

Ever wondered what to do with those piles of discarded weekend newspapers?  Or perhaps you read a daily paper, giving you even more waste to consider.  Well, here are two people who take recycling to the next level: Chie Hitotsuyama and Tomiji Tamai.

Their studio is located in Fuji city in Shizuoka, and makes use of an old paper strip manufacturing plant warehouse once operated by Hitotsuyama’s family.  Here they work with glue and twisted rolls of newspaper to breathe new life into what most of us place in the recycling bin.

They have been working on their zoological series since 2011, taking four years to develop a signature technique.

Read more about the artists and see a wider range of their work at these resources:

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Origami-style animals spring to life in this animation

Paper World is an image film for WWF Hungary where the values that WWF stands for become visible metaphorically on the level of a micro-world.  Click on the image above to access this outstanding feature, which has won a multitude of awards.

The making of the video is equally as engaging and informative.  Click here to see behind-the-scenes and what it takes to produce such a brilliant animation.

Vimeo videos as per the links above.

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Feeling in the doldrums, need a bit of creative encouragement?

It’s time to get moving ………………….

Nancy Crawford is an artist and creativity coach who inspires people to explore their own creative process.  Her blog The Creative Commitment is a delight as she explores setting creative goals, breaking through creative blocks, creativity through play, procrastination busters and much more.

Her latest post 10 ways to ignite your creativity … and keep it lit! is a must read for those feeling a little less enthused or stimulated, those who have minds turning to mush without a single idea or even a seed-of-an-idea percolating away (and that’s not uncommon).  So CLICK HERE to read her fun tips and to remind you why we all do what we love – when we can.

As an added bonus she has created, with the help of one of her students, a superb printable poster to pin up in your studio (spare room, workroom, garage, shed …… wherever your inventiveness occurs) to keep you on the right track.  CLICK HERE to download your copy – and enjoy.

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