My first paper making experiment turned out pretty good and I’m going to be able to use this paper for my BIG PROJECT. I’m hoping I made enough so I don’t have to go through the whole process again right now, since my due date is rapidly approaching.
Here’s my “blank canvas.” Well, it’s not exactly blank because I have started working on the canvases. But my entire canvas is composed of these 15 12″x12″ canvases.
The BIG PROJECT is my interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. For a long time I’ve wanted to try doing a non-representational presentation of the traditional Stations of the Cross, but had always thought I would do it in fiber and textile.
While the Stations of the Cross are not typically used in Protestant worship, I think there is value in using them as a basis for meditation, especially on Good Friday. I particularly want to depict them non-objectively, which means I’ll be using geometric shapes rather than doing anything that actually looks like human figures or even, in most cases, like a cross.
My initial inspiration for this series comes from Barnett Newman’s “Stations of the Cross” at the National Gallery of Art. I’ve done some research on Newman’s work and it turns out this work is not actually based on the “stations of the cross” but on the words of Christ from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Each canvas is a different aspect of his interpretation.
That helps a lot in understanding Newman’s pieces, rather than trying to place them within the framework of the traditional stations. Newman did a lot of work in reflection on the Holocaust and these pieces also come out of that reflection. (This is a picture one of my colleagues took of some of the the pieces in the series.)
For my interpretation I’ll be using an update of the stations called “The Way of the Cross” done by Pope John Paul II. I’ve chosen to use his update because it relies solely on biblical passages rather than some of the non-biblical stations in the traditional Stations of the Cross.
Besides my preparatory work of gathering all the materials, instructions on processes, and reading some different meditations on the stations, I’ve also done thumbnail sketches to guide me as I put together the series of canvases.
I’m also having to do some experimentation with techniques, such as how to apply the metal mesh, paper and fiber to the canvases. This is not only an interpretive process for me, but very much a learning process in art techniques.
Since the Project includes a paper documenting my creative and interpretive process, I’m trying to capture the creative process here on the blog and then will add the interpretive process later as I write the paper. But a little bit of the interpretive process will probably appear here, too.
Turns out that as I think about it, this IS a fiber project. I’m using silk fiber, fiber in the paper making, and metal “fiber” in the sculptor’s mesh, not to mention that artist’s canvas is made of fiber. It’s just very different fiber and textile than I’m accustomed to!
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