Creative Joyful Thing No.9

*Make something out of paper mache*

There are various websites that give you tips, have a google if you need help!

(Send me some photos, no need to send the actual creation)



So, that was the brief. I had an idea of doing something abstract inspired by both a shell and a wave. I have a broken shell that I found on the beach and imagined it looking something like that, only bigger. I think the spirals within shells can really echo the shape of waves.

This is the shell:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

So I researched some shell and wave images on the internet and tried to do some sketches to develop my idea. The drawing didn’t work very well as it was so 2D but looking at the images was good.

I have no experience of paper mache at all, or making 3D objects and getting something made in reality that looked anything like what was in my head was going to be difficult. What was made was certainly nothing like I planned!

I wanted to use a kind of minced paper mache mix that is a bit like clay and you can mould into whatever shapes you want. But on the day I ended up starting the project I had no help to prepare that mixture and it was very labour intensive, so I went with the old-fashioned strips of paper glued together method. I covered various curved objects with clingfilm and covered them with the glued strips. They then had to dry before adding more layers.

Here they are drying:
cjt9 dry

Here are some stages of assembly:

cjt 3 cjt9 1

Here is the final piece:

IMG_5238 IMG_5226 IMG_5236

I painted it with spray cans to get into all the tricky bits. I was going to paint more detail onto it, but I quite liked it as it was. It is far from the beautiful object that I imagined, but it has pretty much met the brief I set for it, with the spiral inside the wave being reminicent of the inside of a shell (maybe!).

I did also make another shape, which was more shell than wave:


I was going to paint/stencil tiny waves breaking down each raised spine, but in the end I decided not to use my energy for that as I liked the other form better.

Here is what Rachael made:


He is a special dog with a secret compartment!



Look at his gorgeous felty tongue! I need to name him – suggestions welcome!

Well, I have completed page two, or image two or whatever!

I am not completely happy with it, but that is the risk i took by painting it directly into the book rather than sticking in a painting done on other paper. I am wary that i will be sticking in paper for other pages and don’t want it to get so chunky it won’t close, so that was why i took the risk this time. I also used watercolours… which i have not done since i was a teenager and they are a bit tricky sometimes!

So i was inspired by a programme on BBC4 on Katsushika Hokusai that i saw the other night, about his picture The Great Wave off Kanagawa. I have a calendar with this image in it, as i love it and bought it particularly for this image. Here is a photo of it to jog your memory:


A bad photo, but i have no scanner!

And here is my picture i just finished, i have called it Hokusai Gulls:


I thought his picture could do with some bird life!! So i swapped the fishermen for gulls…

The card of the book is not really meant for painting on and evidently has some residue of glue or something in places, which affected the ability of the paint to stick: it works in places, but maybe not in others! But in spite of all this, i feel a sense of acheivement today, it is not bad for a first bold attempt straight into the book. If i am going to fill the book any time soon, i cannot be a perfectionist about it!