Handmade paper sculpture exhibit open until end of October

Fiber and handmade paper sculptor Sally Rose is exhibiting her work in the RCAH LookOut! Gallery now through October 24.

“This grouping of works allowed me to show a progression from the earlier ‘pulp welded’ stick pieces where the twigs are very evident, to pieces that were exploring forms when they were ‘skinned over.’ A huge part of my work is about a) materials and what they can do and b) extreme curiosity with details or occurrences in nature that are either missed by people or dismissed as not valuable enough to spend time truly looking at,” Rose said.

The exhibit, “More Than Memory Sticks”, centers on being good custodians of the environment. This seems fitting, as Rose always starts out using plant material to create the paper.

“Essentially, you’re beating it to a pulp, and then there’s this magic that happens, and it’s called hydrogen bonding, where the fibers can reform. A lot of people are used to seeing sheets of paper, but when it’s still in the pulpy state, you can move it around a little bit more. These fibers are so magical, so strong that you don’t need any glue,” Rose said. “From there, I kind of paid more attention to the qualities … There are fibers that will shrink a great deal when they dry, and that’s why some look like skins.”

Rose said she comes from a weaving background, but paper making suits her personality and way of working better, since it’s more fluid and transformable.

“I really respond to materials and don’t always have a definite idea of where I’m going with it,” Rose said. “A lot of artists have a concept and they figure out how they’re going to develop it, I go through the back door.”

Rose also offered up some advice for aspiring writers.

“Be a sloppy, messy sponge and soak up as much as you can, because if you don’t pick up anything, there’s not much to come back out,” she said. 

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Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block. Story images by Ian Siporin.

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