Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pretty Papier Mache (and Just Plain Papier)

I find it hard to believe that I went through elementary and middle school art classes, as well as 4 years in pursuit of an art degree and never created anything using papier mache. This technique does seem right up my ally: inexpensive, whimsical and seemingly simplistic. However, it does seem to take a long time and I'm not the most patient of creators. I'd like to give it a try one of these days, but I'm in full realization that they won't look anything like the art of Anna-Wili Highfield or Elizabeth Jardine.
First, Ms. Highfield. She's a young woman from Sydney, Australia who grew up with a puppeteer father. Can you imagine how cool and creepy and fun that must have been? She was destined to create these amazing birds. Apparently she creates the form with cotton paper, then hand paints each piece to get the desired effect, then sews it all together. The end result is absolutely stunning in it's movement and form.
Papier Mache Birds by Anna-Wili Highfield
Aren't they amazing? Visit her site to see more birds as well as some horses and other animals.
Next, Elizabeth Jardine. Her sculptures are more traditional papier mache and are more funky and rough than Anna's. They remind me of something out of The Fantastic Mr. Fox or another cheeky stop-motion animated piece. I love that fox—I want to put a pretty patterned bow tie around his neck and give him a prominent place next to my Roald Dahl books.
Papier Mache by Elizabeth Jardine
And mostly because I haven't mentioned Anthropologie in awhile and I wouldn't want either of us to forget it's loveliness (as if we could!), here are some incredibly charming birds they had for sale. I don't see any trace of them on the Anthro website any longer, but they can still be admired. And if you're feeling particularly crafty, check out this tutorial inspired by these birds. Let me know how it goes! I'll do the same.
Papier Mache Birds from Anthropologie

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