This workshop was organised by another student and brought together a group from various disciplines. I became more interested in the idea of paper cutting after spending a lot of time during my last course looking at the work of Ellen Gallagher. For her paper cutting is only one means of exploring her ideas. I tried at the time to replicate some of the ways she used a scalpel, but found it quite difficult, and felt this workshop may address some of the more practical aspects of working with paper and a scalpel.
The paper artist we were working with for the day was Jessica Palmer. The setting, in Jessica’s studio, couldn’t have been more inspiring. Surrounded by examples of her own work, both on the wall and hung from the ceiling. Following an introductory chat and guidance on how to use the scalpel safely, Jessica gave us a small paper cutting exercise to test out our new skills. When we had completed this most people had something personal to work on, some related to course work. I had taken some photos that I’d taken on the Somerset Levels, water and willows. I decide to work with a photo of some willow branches against the sky. Jessica took us through how to transfer patterns/designs using ‘tracedown’ paper- like carbon paper but white.
It was interesting really how a day like this can really focus your attention. I have previously worked cutting paper for stencils or collage or, as I mentioned exploring Ellen Gallagher’s work, but still marvel at large paper installations, thinking ‘how do they do that?!’. As I worked on my piece, which I didn’t complete during the day, It really impacted the amount of time and concentration required to create the pieces. It seemed to me it is the willingness to keep working away that make these amazing works happen in the end.
I have since completed my modest piece and played around using some hand coloured background to present it. One of the things I like about paper cut pieces is their potential to be used with light, so I had a little play with this idea too.
It was a great day, good to meet other OCA students as always and to work alongside others. Jessica and Keith’s hospitality was top notch and she kindly took some photos of the day for us.