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Art Craft

Watercolor Paper Transforms into Suggestive Facial Sculptures by Artist Polly Verity

March 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Polly Verity, shared with permission

Polly Verity’s most recent paper sculptures test viewers’ sense of pareidolia. The dexterous artist employs single sheets of watercolor paper for her minimalist projects that morph into solitary faces and kissing figures through a series of bends and twists.

Verity tells Colossal that she’s been crafting repeating geometric patterns for about 15 years, but that it wasn’t until recently that she decided to move beyond crisp folds and clean lines. “When I hit the curved folds that’s when my brain popped. Seemingly impossible things could happen to a sheet of paper,” she writes. “My years of observing and investigating how curve folds behave has given me a feel for bringing the curves into the figurative realm.” The result is a suggestive series of facial profiles sometimes sucking on a straw or smoking a cigarette.

I tried to fold along the profile of a face, and I realized that I could tweak the paper on either side just very slightly and ease curves out to give volume and form. When I tried the same technique in watercolour paper, I suddenly had micro-control over the resulting curved forms and they became soft and sensual. So each face goes on to inform the next and they have become a sort of series.

Keep up with Verity’s paper creations on Instagram and check out which alluring pieces you can add to your own collection in her shop.

 

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Craft Design

Step-by-Step Instructions on Making the Paper Airplane that Broke World Records

March 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

John Collins, aka The Paper Airplane Guy, is a master at shattering world records with a single sheet of paper. The aircraft designer now has collaborated with Great Big Story on a new video that not only teaches the Susanne, the model that secured his spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012, but also two others that swoop through the air. As its name suggests, the Tube resembles a hollow cylinder designed to be tossed like a football, while the Boomerang is the most complex of the trio, requiring more complicated folds and angles in order to craft a model that returns to whoever throws it. You can find more instructional videos on Collins’s YouTube channel or in his book that comes with 16 tear-out model planes.

 

 



Art

Sheets of White Paper Layered into Dense Cityscapes and Forests by Ayumi Shibata

February 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Museum Mile Book.” All images © Ayumi Shibata, shared with permission

Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata (previously) constructs intricate paper cities and natural landscapes that both fit in the palm of her hand and are expansive enough to pass through on foot. Using dozens of layers of paper for a single project, Shibata carves miniature houses, clouds, and tree-filled forests that eventually are illuminated in glass vessels, stored safely in a book, or erected in large-scale installations.

The artist tells Colossal that she doesn’t use pencil outlines, in part because the white paper isn’t durable enough to be erased if there’s an error. Instead, she envisions the three-dimensional shapes she wants to create and begins cutting. “White paper expresses the yang, light, (and) the process to cut expresses the yin, shadow. When the sun shines upon an object, a shadow is born,” she writes. “Front and back, yin and yang, two side(s) of the same coin.”

Shibata also relies on the Japanese word “kami”—which translates to paper but also to god, divinity, and spirit—as she considers the relationship between humans and nature that turns up in her work. “The world of paper that unfolds within the glass expresses the micro world, which is our human world, the Earth, the universe, and other universes and dimensions. The life-sized forest installation expresses the macro world, which is outside of our universe and the unknown worlds.” Each time someone walks into a room with one of her more expansive pieces, she thinks it’s possible “we could meet, communicate and coexist with Kami, which exists but we can’t see.”

To check out more of Shibata’s structural projects, head to her Instagram.

“Museum Mile Book”

“In the Jar Corridors of Time”

“Forest of Kami”

“Forest of Kami”

“In the Jar Bush”

‘Volcano Book”

Right: “In the Jar Drop of Bush”

“Voyager Book”

 

 



Craft

Papier-Mâché Masks Crafted by Liz Sexton Bring Animals to Human Scale

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission

Rejecting anthropocentrism, Liz Sexton wants to break down the boundary between human and animal life. The Minneapolis-based artist creates large papier-mâché pieces of foxes, owls, and other wild animals designed to be worn by humans, creating a hybrid being that she often situates in non-natural environments, like a rat near the subway lines or a porcupine fish out of water.

Sexton began making her facial masks a few years ago after constructing a couple of Halloween costumes, although she’s worked with the versatile paper material for many years. Made of brown paper, paste, and paper pulp, each piece takes a couple of weeks, if not months, to create. The artist tells Colossal that her “hope is that the viewer gains not only awareness of the animal but a sense of kinship and empathy.”

I often work on species facing existential threats, such as marine life, though I suppose this uncertainty applies to most animals at this point. Photographing the animal heads worn out of their natural habitats, and in our immediate world, highlights the displacement that many creatures experience. I also enjoy working on animals that likely live very close to us but we don’t necessary see. Bringing them out into our human habitats, on a human scale, they become neighbors, commuters, a visible part of our community.

When not being worn, Sexton’s masks rest flat on the floor, appearing as a bust and adding to the reverential quality she hopes to inspire. For more of the artist’s animalistic projects—and to see the miniature rhinos, bears, and zebras she recently created for The New York Times Style Magazine⁠—head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Miniature Seascapes and Cities Top Elaborate Paper Wigs by Asya Kozina and Dmitriy Kozin

February 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Asya Kozina and Dmitry Kozin, shared with permission

Saint Petersburg-based paper artists Asya Kozina and Dmitriy Kozin situate miniature worlds atop their towering paper wigs. The detailed headdresses combine contemporary themes with historical elements, resembling the extravagant hair and head pieces of the Baroque period. A recent series crafted for Dolce & Gabanna features a whale and lobster with fins and claws woven through and sticking out from the tops of the elaborate pieces. Both have ships, as well, to add a human element. “We did this work and had (the) idea to do works with various marine monsters,” Kozina says. “In the old times, sailors believed in gigantic sea monsters… All characters are taken from folk myths.”

Since Kozina last spoke with Colossal, the scale and complexity of their monochromatic creations have changed, in addition to their public perception. “Our works fell into collections of museums, became symbols of some events related to the history and history of art and fashion,” she writes. “Our work is perceived not as photo props, but as artworks, sculptures, exhibition objects.” Head to Instagram or Behance to check out more of the artists’ sky-high creations.

 

 



Craft Illustration

Paper Quilling Process Shown Step-by-Step in New Video by Yulia Brodskaya

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Jaguar.” All images © Yulia Brodskaya

Known for her technique of “painting with paper,” Yulia Brodskaya (previously) has crafted a new piece titled “Jaguar,” a portrait blending human and cat features. In a recent video posted to her Facebook, the U.K.-based artist shares her creative process, starting with a sketched figure on a black board. Brodskaya then fills in small patches with neutral-toned paper, clipping them in place until she attaches the next piece. The artist even utilizes a tweezers to position some of the singular layers and shows her quilling technique up close as she bends strips of paper before wrapping the edge around the folds. For more of Brodskaya’s paper paintings, head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Intricate Landscapes and Animals Cut From Single Sheet of Paper by Pippa Dyrlaga

February 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

“This Fragile World,” (2019), hand cut paper and acrylic paint, about 11 x 11 inches. All images © Pippa Dyrlaga

For Pippa Dyrlaga, one piece of paper holds a lot of possibility. The Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire-based artist cuts each one of her delicate creations from a single sheet. Her intricate designs turn a blank page into a plant-filled landscape or a robot tending to a garden. Dyrlaga begins by sketching each piece in reverse, before cutting sections out. Then she flips it over to unveil the finished work or to paint details onto the piece.

Whereas her previous work often utilized a single white sheet, the artist now is working more with color, painting shades of blues, golds, and black, which helps to distinguish one group of plants or mosses from the next in her lush landscapes. She also has been inspired by Greek mythology and lore, describing “Psychopomp” (shown below) as “a spirit or deity, often depicted in animal form, which guide people into the afterlife,” on her site. “The piece is split into two, night and day, life and death. The daytime is represents life and growth, organic patterns and plants. The second half with nocturnal animals and abstract patterns, representing the more abstract idea of what comes ‘after.'”

Head to Dyrlaga’s Instagram for more of her intricate creations, and see which are available for purchase in her shop.

“Torn #3” (2019), torn and hand cut paper, painted with acrylic, about 20 x 10 centimeters

Left: “Arber” (2020), hand painted and cut Japanese 36 gsm washi paper. Right: “Garden Spirit” (2019), hand painted and cut Japanese 36 gsm washi paper

(2018), hand drawn and hand cut Awagami Kozo Natural Select paper 46 gsm, about 23 x 25 centimeters

Left: “Torn #1” (2019), hand cut paper. Right: “Torn #2” (2019), hand drawn and cut paper

“Bright” (2019), hand cut from Awagami Factory 36 gsm paper and painted with acrylic paint

Left: “Psychopomp,” hand drawn and hand cut paper, 80 x 40 centimeters. Right: “Bennu,” hand cut 32 gsm gampi washi paper, with hand painted gold acrylic

‘While the World is Asleep” (2018), hand drawn and hand cut paper, about 42 x 28 centimeters