experimental burn: session one

The two things that I have been wanting to do to finished paper maché pieces are the two things that one shouldn’t do to finished paper maché pieces — expose them to fire and expose them to water.

My expectations of the first experimental burning session were to 1) learn how to burn a piece without completely destroying it, and 2) observe the effect heat has on the strength of the medium. What I received from this experience was so much more.

This vessel in the photo above is one of my first works in paper maché. Although I liked a lot of aspects about this piece, I never really liked it as a whole and it sat on a shelf in my basement for the past five years. This piece was a perfect subject for my first burning session. I had no intention of trying to salvage it from complete destruction, but as this piece burned, I observed beautiful things happened to it’s surface. I pulled it from the fire and extinguished the flames. It sits once again on the shelf, with a renewed life. I don’t see this piece becoming a finished work, but it is the seed for future works.

Another piece I burned was a teapot shaped vessel with a long spout.
My intention with burning this piece was basically to see how long it would take the maché to ignite and be destroyed. Now this piece was really interesting to watch as it burned. I placed the vessel directly on hot embers. As the embers heated up the bottom of the vessel, small flames licked about it’s base and smoke billowed out of the spout profusely — the movement of the smoke was amazing. I plan on experimenting further with vessels with spouts and burning. Next time I plan on filming the experience.

My intent with this piece was to burn it — just around the edges. I had a
clear vision of what I wanted to do. Since I had experimented with burning a few pieces before this one, I thought I could achieve this rather easily. But that was not the way it was to be. This piece was comprised of two sections joined together. As this piece burned, the two sections separated from each other (heat expands) and started burning at different rates. At this point I pulled both sections from the fire and doused them with water. It was then that I realized my initial vision wasn’t going to work — but that something even better had happened. The bottom piece (what was the original base and on the left side of this image) had achieved a wonderful patina and it’s form called out to exist on it’s own. The top piece having lost it’s sculptural potential became fuel for my next session of experimentation with fire.


At 22/10/07 5:19 PM, Blogger Cre8Tiva said...

the pictures didn't show for me...i would love to see them...it sounds so beautiful...blessings, rebecca

At 23/10/07 4:43 AM, Blogger rose said...

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