Today is the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth. I may not aspire to be a modern day Dickens but I do have a Christmas tale to tell. When I was a little girl in the early fifties we didn’t have much money for fancy toys. We weren’t exactly the Cratchit family but there weren’t many luxuries. Instead we made things! We could have hours of pleasure with a pair of scissors and an old shopping catalogue, cutting out all the pretty clothes. Maybe my love of collage was born all those years ago? Sometimes when we needed entertaining my ever resourceful mother would cook a paste of flour and water on the stove to make glue and we would tear up old newspapers for papier mache. We’d paste the little squares of paper over a balloon to make a mask. Maybe distance lends enchantment but I remember those masks as being magical. Much better than anything you could buy from a shop. When the papier mache was dry we burst the balloon to release the mask, cut out holes for eyes and mouth and painted it with poster paint. Funny thing is I used much the same technique many years later when I did a City & Guilds’ course in Papercraft. Some things once learnt are never forgotten. This is one of the plates I made with a paper pulp technique.
I graduated from poster paint to gorgeous acrylic inks and used them with abandon!
When paint wants to run I just let it!
I really believe there is no greater satisfaction than to produce something beautiful with your own hands. All the better if that something is conjured from almost nothing! It’s the best therapy in the world.
This huge paper bowl is difficult to photograph - it was moulded over a giant lampshade.
And when there isn't enough pulp left to make a bowl you can use the last bits on scallop shells!
I realise I sound like one of those doddery old curmudgeons who witter on about the good old days and I don’t mean to. I am as enamoured of the high tech world we all live in as anyone else but the moral to this tale I suppose is that if we don’t continue to be creative with our hands and if we don’t share that magic, where will the next generation of artists come from? I am thankful to my mother for passing on her 'can do' attitude and her remarkable talents.
Lecture over - the soapbox is back in its corner and I'm off to make something lovely!
Thanks for reading this - Linda