From cut out 2D pieces into moulded 3D forms, inspired by birthday card ideas and novelty T- shirts I made before.
Starting from birthday card ideas and novelty T-shirts. Now, beginning with a small pile of 54 flat, 2D pieces of cut paper shapes, I’ll now sculpture them into something three dimensional. How I build this Richard Branson version of the Paperartzi caricatures is identical to the way I do for the birthday card ideas or novelty T-shirts.
Time to ask what firstly makes paper? Paper is by definition a sheet material. It has the same origin as papier mache in that it starts as a wet mass of water suspended cellulose fibres, but mache is poured into a sculptured casting mould or worked like clay. Paper is poured into a horizontal “mould and deckle” from where it comes out as a sheet, following numerous processes. Next question. Why’s paper sculpture different from Origami then? Well, Origami is paper sculpture but in a very specialised sense. I absolutely loved it as a kid and, being a little sentimental still own that book I practised from, as tattered and foxed as its pages now are! Origami is essentially a Japanese brain-game to test how complex a form, mostly animal, you can be made from one sheet of paper. There are age old contests in Japan where they do truly astounding stuff! By its nature however, an Origami object always ends up formed of multiples of folded planes in complex angles. Very clever, but limited to certain kinds of looks and not suited to what I want to create. Visit www.papersculptureartist.com for more examples.
Anyway, all this teaches you something about the nature of paper as a sheet material. Look at a scrunched piece of paper before you throw it in the bin. You’ll see the end “ball shape” is actually the result of folds and curves in complex arrays that are always in one plane. Paper doesn’t curve in more than one plane at a time, or radially for that matter and for the Paperartzi I want the natural appeal of paper to support minimally complex caricature expression. I can’t therefore have a complex structure of folds and angles. So how do you get around that?
A limited amount of multiple-planed curvature and even radial curvature is actually possible if certain steps are followed. To achieve this, I soften the paper with moisture and then press it into the desired shapes with things like burnishing tools. Leaving cutouts inside and around, as in the face piece pictured above, takes up the sheet distortion which allows for shaping otherwise not possible. I work against a special board I made that provides just the right edges for all the shapes I need. What you see in the pic with all the finished pieces laid out (below) and identified is just how much curvature there is in the face piece and beard, for example.
Well there they lie ready for the next process. Looks kind of spooky with the eyes and teeth that have no face, but it will all assemble before your eyes in the next part.
In Part 6, I will treat some of the pieces with an addition of colour and assemble whole figure.