About 30 years ago, I wanted to create portraits that looked like mosaics.
About 20 years ago, after studying mosaics and working in tile, glass, stone, I switched to fashioning mosaic portraits in glass.
Then...a box of old greeting cards and an old-fashioned guillotine paper cutter arrived at my door.
As I searched for sources of paper beyond that box of old greeting cards, I noticed that the junk mail: postcards, fly cards, business cards, photographs, maps, catalog covers, packaging, and other paper ephemera were entering my home 6 days a week in the maibox.
My first step is cutting paper. I have paper in many bins:
Raw materials -- all that junk mail, all those calendars, greeting cards, advertisements, post cards, etc. I'll cut this paper into chunks based on color
Color bins -- once I choose a color scheme, I dig through to find my key colors. I pull those "chunks" and cut them either into strips
Strip bins -- I put the colors I want to use aside, and then dig into the elongated trays
Drawing -- I mostly work on stretched canvas. I draw fast and paint faster. I can make changes later!
The Paper -- I start with one color, cut a bunch of strips into squares [using the guillotine] I start gluing in place. I hand-cut every single piece to make sure they create a junction -- fit exactly next to each other. I might cut a piece over and over until it's exactly right. These are tiny slivers.
Coating -- After I am sure I am done, no more touching, the lacquer happens. A simple choice between matte or gloss. I use non-toxic, water-based lacquers that will seal the piece and keep it safe for years to come.
I'm done -- or am I?
Sometimes I choose other materials to mix in -- glitter, crackle, color, tints, etc. Sometimes I will embellish the surface even more -- with yarn, jewels, feathers, rhinestones, beads, bits, baubles, photographs or other items that reflect the meaning of the piece.
I am sharing my soul with you. I am pouring skill, experience, emotion and time into an image; onto a canvas. Each piece means something to me.
The paper I use could be garbage, filling landfills. Instead, I take this product and transform it into something of merit -- a piece of fine art that is a permanent asset.