Wednesday, July 28, 2010

paper bowls & painting

Sometimes I'm just exhausted when I come home from work, which, I suppose, is why they call it work and not happy fun time. So, while I'm not entirely sure how my spare time was whittled away last week, I know that a large chunk of it has been spent working on my latest in a series of on-going craft projects: the paper bowls.

I was in 4-H when I was a child, and did papermaking which was taught by the artistic and talented Linda Partridge. And many times during my childhood I took out my mother's Oster blender and filled it with shredded paper and water. Fortunately, Mom didn't really ever make anything food related with that blender. Yeah, my mom sews & tats & crochets & cross-stitches; cooking, meh.

So, anyway, I seem to have been bitten with the papermaking bug again, and I'm not quite sure why or how. But when inspiration for an arts & craft project hits, it's best to just do it, and not remember 3 months later that you came home from work and zonked out on the couch (that it took you 2 months to upholster & assemble) in front of CSI: NY reruns everyday instead of just getting stuff done.

Believe me, there is a five year old project involving designing butterflies and mobiles that surfaces from the back of my mind every now and then... usually when I'm at work.

So, yes, papermaking.
I decided that this was going to be a 'green' project. All the paper that was used to make the pulp had already been used. 99% of the paper I used to make the pulp came from the office, they throw a lot of paperwork away at work. Don't worry, none of it is anything interesting; it isn't personnel files, it's mostly ordering codes. And it was all made into pulp anyway. Go ahead, scan a telzon on one of my bowls, there's no barcode, and nothing is going to happen.

I don't remember why I decided to make bowls, perhaps because it's easy, I've done it before, they're technically functional... who knows. But bowls are what I ended up using to mould my paper pulp. I made more than 20 of them, in varying sizes based on what I had purchased for the project (clearance sales on melamine tupperware at box-stores are always super) and what happened to be in the cupboard. Don't worry, there won't be any paper in the jello salad come Thanksgiving. My favorite imitation tupperware (it's violet colored!) will be thoroughly washed.

Anyway, the summer heat was excellent for this project, as I just left the bowls out on the back patio to dry. Well, there was that one Sunday when I had to jump up from my slumber and retrieve them from the patio because there was a storm. It was a hoot to get them in the garage and realize there was quarter-sized (USD .25¢) hail in my half-dry paper bowls. Yes, it hailed in July in Michigan in the middle of a spell of 90˚F weather.

This is, perhaps, why it never occurs to me to make paper in the middle of winter.

Anyway, once all the forms had dried, it was time to get busy and decorate them. I'm not a handmade paper purist. I knew I was painting them. And so, that's what I have been and should be working on for the past week and into the next week. And then there will come the 2 day period where I hem and haw over whether or not I want to shellac them. Yes, I know, it's called varnish, but the word shellac is more fun. Craft projects are supposed to be fun, not work.

Here are a selection of bowls in progress...





Yes, I have a collection of kitsch garden critters : ) I am apparently particularly fond of frogs, lizards, and turtles; and using them to decorate indoors.
Hopefully your summer is fun & productive, and hail free!

17 comments:

Nela said...

I love these! They look perfect :D

Laurie said...

What an awesome idea! Your bowls are turning out amazing! Be sure to share the finished product OK!?

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Wow, these are so artistic and love the design. Do you sell these?

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Sarah, Thanks for coming to my blog. Please come back anytime. I am enjoying yours. You are one CREATIVE lady.... How special to be able to teach people to do this!!!!! The bowls are awesome.

Hugs,
Betsy

R. J. said...

That's a clever creation. Where will you display them? Would they make good gifts?

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Sarah, these bowls are gorgeous! They are so so unique. You have a talent there.

Thanks for coming by my blog. Sorry you can't grow the coneflower, as I call it, but I do know that rabbits do eat the young plants. Maybe that's your problem. I have a problem with rabbits too. Don't know why they haven't eaten this one.

Sarah said...

Thanks for asking : )
Yes, someday when I have them all finished I hope to sell them; because otherwise they will end up being Birthday, Christmas, or special occasion that arises out of nowhere presents.

Of course, I have to finish them. And I am a notorious procrastinator!
; )

flossy-p said...

Wow those are really beautiful. A real natural quality about them.

Catherine said...

Very fun bowls ~ love them!

Have a Happy Week!
xo Catherine

Kelly said...

...these are so cool. In the autumn, I could see one sitting on my end table with a few tiny pumpkins in them. I love the natural look, and in some, I pick up a lovely Halloween/autumn feel...

Kerri said...

These are FABULOUS!!!

slommler said...

Great bowls!! I just got through making some 4 feet by 8 feet sheets of paper. So fun! I put in lots of reeds and such...very cool!!
Having a great summer so far...glad you are too!
Hugs
SueAnn

koralee said...

Oh my goodness..I LOVE THEM! You are sooo creative my friend. Thanks for inspiring me today..I really want to pick up some project for the weekend. xoxox

Diana said...

Wow. This is amazing.

TheEye said...

nice job... love the frogs too :)

muchlove said...

they look great! you're very talented .

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Sarah, when you finish them, let me know. I'd love to purchase one or more :)