September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Where have I been you ask? Distracted. Pontificating and contemplating life in every sense as it grows within me, every day a moment closer to the moment when a satellite spins off of ourselves. Daunting. Beautiful. Exciting.

But here we are together again on the cusp of autumn and in my world, the approach of a paper wedding anniversary. Naturally I have been been seeking the perfect memento for my beloved ~ a bookish and imaginative fellow who has recently published the second in what will be a trilogy of ethereal, deeply spellbinding word craft stories ~ more of which later. He certainly inspires the unusual and one-off when it comes to presents.

Paper craft has been a long fascination of mine; a childhood of polish wycinanki (see above) and hours spent in my bedroom with mother’s nail scissors cutting bright mosaic paper collages of various creatures, which now hang somewhat forgotten in my parents home. So when I came across Helen Musselwhite’s work, I found all of the above requirements magically nesting in one of her beautiful cloche domes. Her bold,  folkish and graphic work is bursting with wild forests, foxes and owls.

Beautiful Wood, Helen Musselwhite

Very different is the ephemeral ephemera of Scottish artist Georgia Russell, whose work I first saw in a little gallery called England & Co (by whom she is represented), where we both gawped at her slashed and scalpelled curios some of which disturbed as much as delighted. Cut paper is so much more then a folkart or craft medium. It is also contemporary artistry ~ Georgia’s work has been bought by the V&A which a higher accolade than Charles Saatchi in my books. There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do to own one of her de-re-constructed antique books. Perfect for book romancers and those with extraordinary imaginations.


   Lolita / English to Hindustani Dictionary / The Music Room, 2009, Georgia Russell / A Room of Ones Own

Su Blackwell is another renound paper artist, creating paper kingdoms which you want to melt into. Some such as her Children’s Study installation below, exhibited at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in 2010, have actually jumped out of the book and come to life. Soldiers scaling antique dressers looking for war. Where is Alice’s shrinking potion when I need it? At the Rose Theatre of course, where you can see Su’s work on a giant scale with her set design and art direction of Hans Christierson Anderson’s Snow Queen.

My first book-sculpture was ‘The Quiet American’. I cut moths from the book with a craft-knife. The piece was inspired by a Chinese legend, about two lovers whose souls re-emerge from burnt ashes in the shape of two Moths. I began working with paper, because of its connection to spiritual rituals that I encountered in South East Asia, and this in turn led me to work with books, and fairy tales.  Su Blackwell

Guilloche is new word of the month for me and in the words of Wikipedia, a decorative engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically engraved into an underlying material with fine detail. Think bank notes, spirographs, Faberge eggs and watch movements and you’ll begin to get the picture. Tahiti Pehrson however, achieves filigree precision by hand and not machine. You can see a selection of his work at Ever Gold gallery in San Francisco. Re-birth of Venus, pictured below, is my favourite.

At Ever Gold, Tahiti Pehrson

Today’s final paper cut offering comes from Houston based Natasha Bowdoin, an adept at reimagining literature texts into layered intricate paper organisms that seem to be in a process of metamorphisis. She recently solo exhibited at the Bryan Miller Gallery  but its her early work that really captivates and inspires me ~ make sure to explore her website on my word!

Detail from ‘untitled’ 2008, Natasha Bowdoin

Tulgeywood, 2009, Natasha Bowdoin

Sadly I haven’t been able to procure a creation available in time for the 17th September, so in the meantime, this paper inspired post is a dedication to my beloved as well as a ode to his mistress Anna and her Juniper dog. She is one cool cat, so I don’t really mind the time he spends with her.

Written by Geoff Cox, illustrated by Rohan Eason, scored by Martin Roman Rebelski and published by art|music|publishing imprint Blackmaps, Anna and the Juniper Dog follows on from the captivating Anna and the Witch’s Bottle. Anna and Boy travel through intertwined yet seperate existences, encountering strange episodes and mythical beasts. Geoff Cox’s wordspin is thicker than the gloopiest molasses of the first book, with so many intriguing dark happenings, beautiful mysterious beasts, aged relics and rusty embellishements in just one sentence, that I could reread each fifty times over and still discover something new. Words that make your head rush as if travelling at light speed through the most glittering cosmic starspace or on an opium high. Not that I’d know…but if I found myself in possession of the Witch’s Bottle, I wouldn’t hesitate to sip from its surreal and inky contents.  Matched in tempo by Eason’s monochromatic pen drawings which need no words and Rebelski’s gently haunting instrumentals that float in and around, this clothbound ephiphany crosses the murky border between adult and child consciousness and is a unique collaboration that shows what can beautifully explode between exceeding talents. Mystical.

The Juniper Dog strained its twisted roots against an ember red sky, snarling out swarms of night moths, barking flocks of owls from its splintery jaws. It howled the sea. Spat stars…


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