Paper tower

Tower6web

I was expecting to be making a more conventional book with these pieces of print, but when I came to put them together I realised that the detail was lost folded into a book, so started to work out ways of using the panels that I had cut and folded in a different way. It took some time of just playing with the pieces, arranging them, piling them up, turning them upside down, inserting one inside another before the idea of an interlocking stack evolved.

Where this began was with two large multi-plate prints, in complementary but contrasting colours, one in tones of gold and brown, the other in orangey reds and dark brown. For all the recent printing (including last week’s Lichen letters) I have been using just three colours of ink: sepia, yellow and red, and creating the final colours by mixing and overprinting. The imagery was some of the same drypoint plates I used before with marks inspired by lichen and flax seed heads, plus some small etchings of mushrooms that I made some years ago.

As I had planned to make a small book, I divided both prints up into six long panels (roughly 20 x 9 cm) and folded each in half. To make the pieces lock together, I cut a small slit in the centre of each half along the long edges of the panels, then slotted one into another. The way they are shown here may not be the final construction – they could be interlocked in a more horizontal way, or more randomly. I am not sure if the amount of white showing is a good thing or not – I could place two panels back to back and lock them so that there is no white showing. Something I do like in an artwork is a degree of interactivity, so that another person could come along and re-arrange the pieces in a way that they find satisfying.

Below are more views of the tower, and a gallery of the 12 pieces from the two prints.

Tower7web Tower3web Tower2web Tower1web Tower5web

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23 thoughts on “Paper tower

  1. Book or tower, these are beautiful peices! I like the idea of being able to manipulate them into different forms. Printmaking never fails to catch my eye, such gorgeous textures.

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  2. I’m so curious about these panels, they are beautiful. I really love your warm palette and the reserved use of color. I don’t mind the white edges but I wondered about the backside being a deeper color, what that would look like…just a thought. I do love how pristine it looks and I do want to re-stack the tiles in different ways to see what happens next.

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    1. Thanks Cathe – a dark background could really enhance the colours, make it all richer. I like Julie’s suggestion too of wooden slats. After a day of standing up, I realise the paper itself simply isn’t strong enough to support its height, the lower pieces are starting to bow, so I will need to do something to strengthen it. It definitely is a work in progress, and I will be restacking! I should have taken photos of the alternative ways, I tried earlier but I still can!

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  3. Thanks Anna, plenty of pictures for me to admire and explore. These look great and I could really see how you had layered the texture and images and what a clever way of putting them together. Karen

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  4. Oh my gosh! I love it! And it STILL looks Japanese. You are doing some exquisite work, Anna. I love the shapes you have made and also the way the actual prints are so organic-looking – like what you would see in nature. Clever thing!!!!! It sings.

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    1. As I was doing this one I was thinking this is so Japanese – maybe your comment on the previous one entered my subconscious, or maybe its just something about the paper, not sure. I like your suggestion above about the wood, and I will definitely see if I can make it work. So glad you like it!

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      1. Isn’t that funny, Anna. I’ve gotten into your subconscious – and now I’m there who knows what I will get up to! You’ll be booking a trip to Japan soon.
        Glad you like my wood idea too. I wouldn’t have thought of it except for the comment above which I added onto.

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  5. How about creating a lighted piece out of it! Pop it over an LED or similar low voltage bulb and voila! I suspect the paper would be a tad too thick to allow the light to penetrate, but the stacking formation would cast some interesting shadows!

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    1. Now that’s an interesting idea! Cast shadows are something that fascinate me, they can alter the feel of a piece dramatically. I do think the paper on this is too thick for the light to pass through, but I have been thinking of printing on more translucent papers. The encaustic could come in to play as well … Thanks Gale, you are giving me all sorts of new ideas!

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