Some work in progress from late last year (Christmas Eve to be exact!) as I prepared for the upcoming show at ECHO Gallery. This piece above is one of two seven-foot long pulp paintings/prints (see previous post) that I'm going to be showing as part of that exhibition. Behind me, you can see my studio assistant, Izzy.
The base fiber for this piece is a combination of Andean Pampas Grass seed hair and (drumroll please) flax I grew myself! The pampas grass was harvested near Miller Knox, less than a mile away. I had a moment while making the base sheet, standing and working in my backyard a few feet away from where I grew the flax, and all I could think was, this is here. Really here, from here, grown here, made from this place.
The colored pulp is actually made from a pair of grungy overalls that I used to wear all the time in grad school - any of my Book Arts buddies will remember them. Some of it stayed straight blue, but some was pigmented green and black for other parts of the image.
When exhibiting handmade paper, it's often difficult to make a viewer, particularly a non-papermaker, understand that each sheet often has a hidden story. Here, this is flax I grew, it is a record of the sun and the soil, here, this was my overalls from a certain period of my life, when I think of them I remember school, what I learned there, the community of fellow artists I shared space with and got to know. Making paper can be like making a quilt out of old clothes, art forms that transform narratives and memories while launching new ones simultaneously.
As a final note, a reminder that the Carbon Corpus project is still looking for investors! Visit here or contact me at michelle(at)michellewilsonprojects(dot)com if you are interested in being a part.