The Nomadic Artist: Week 19


Pictured Above: Using metal stencils and kozo plant pulp for pulp painting. PC: Tak Abe

First time working with an artist assistant.

Awagami Factory, Artist Residency, Japan

Art is the signature of civilizations.  — Beverly Sills

Mixing buckets of natural kozo pulp for base layer. PC: Richelle Gribble

With six weeks to prepare for an exhibition, careful concentration is necessary. We toured the INBE ART SPACE, the gallery for our exhibitions. It consisted of four large rooms so each artist claimed a space. Given the large building, each artist will present a solo show.

Image selection and color palette for pulp painting. PC: Richelle Gribble

Grateful to be paired with an artist assistant, Tak Abe, to assist with project development. This is my first time working with staff during the creative process. I learn to be decisive, clearly communicate, and give specific instruction for project needs. It is crucial to make a plan so that we both work towards the same goal.

Mixing and drying pulp on vacuum table to make exact colors. PC: Richelle Grib

Having recently been an artist-in-residence at Planet Labs, an Earth-imaging satellite company, I use Planet Explorer Beta for new works. All papermaking material (kozo, indigo, gampi plants) are sourced locally so this new work will reflect the place from which it is grown. There is no better way to illustrate and map resources of land than from an aerial view captured daily.

Kozo pulp mixed with water and neri forming aid. PC: Richelle Gribble

I selected a satellite image of Yoshinogawa, prepared my color palette, blended and mixed handfuls of kozo plant material, and made a series of dried paper samples for my color scheme. After experiments with pouring, dripping, and stenciling wet kozo pulp, I discovered my technique.

Close up of pulp during painting process. PC: Richelle Gribble

Pulp painting is a unique process that emerged from traditional Japanese papermaking. This medium is flexible and results are highly stylized, closely reflecting the maker’s hand. I love this expressive medium. Awagami Factory is unique for facilitating experiments in large format papermaking. With sizable frameworks and custom vacuum tables meters in length, ambitious paper projects are possible and encouraged. Let the papermaking begin!

Work space inside of the Awagami Factory. PC: Tak Abe | FB: Richelle Gribble : Art | @richellegribble