Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


More & more i am reading within many of the groups, blogs & forums i frequent (& getting angry over it) that PM artists are STILL getting 'negative' or 'suprised' reactions to a piece of art being made out of paper mache. The question in my mind that is growing faster than my creative ideas (Trust me i can't keep up with my idea's either) Just WHY is it this way?

Paper mache HAS been around for some 4,000 years now. The Egyptians used it, in more recent times the French brought it back into public attention with such pomp & pshion even getting to name the very art form they didn't even invent for what may be ALL future human history for that matter!. The Japanese have used it to make houses centuries before the French came across it. I even read somewhere that even some cavemen were experimenting with it (brain surgery too but thats another story for another day). Yet it still is thought of today as nothing more than a whimiscal art form best left to the noisy messy classrooms of 5 year olds!.

That said here in the UK paper mache pieces specifically black laqured pieces of antique paper mache from around the 1800's are very sought after & can go for several thousands of pounds (UK Sterling). Yet STILL i have read people claiming it's nothing more than a pre-school whimsy & thought of as nothing more than a balloon pig or bowl making pass time. Dare i repeat this? Not even art!. I even know some 'respectable paper mache artists' who frown deeply on balloons coming anywhere near paper mache in refference never mind actual use.

I use ballloons when ever i require most any large armature form. More so in a dragons head or torso granted, you would even expect it to be so since they lend their basic unaltered shape perfectly to those forms. You would be very supprised to know just how many of my 'none' balloon shaped pieces actually started out as a balloon of some sort be it a small, large or pre-shaped crude animal shaped balloons.

The question is then: Will this unfair negative attitude EVER change? Still many artists are shying away from public gatherings where community art fares are held. Buying or selling paper mache art too is proving to be a big no no to some myself included. Paper mache artists are EVEN bowing down to pressure & freely re-naming their art form so many (in MY opinion) stupid 'none' paper mache related terms that i simply will not repeat here as i find this practice & the derogitory terminology used offensive not only to MY own art but to the art form itself.

Some so called 'jewelry' artists can simply walk along a local beach gather modern day glass fragments that have been washed & rubbed by the tides & sands into granted some very interesting forms. Stick it to some cheap metal chain or shoe string type cords & call it art. Whilst others can take some of what appear to be to ME to be nothing more than random photographs of a hillside during a spectacular sunset in black & white exposure. Then bang it in a wooden or plastic picture frame & call it art. Going to the extreme some 'ahem!' so called artists can stand two house bricks next to each other. Put it in the middle of an empty large room in some private art gallery & call such abominations art too.

So WHY this stigmata hanging over paper mache art then?

Back to my earlier question: Will this way of thinking ever change? Well no, you want to know why? Because it's just too easy to go with 'whats in fashion' instead of sticking with something that HAS real meaning & place in the art world. Sadly the stagnent negative way of thinking is NEVER going to change unless not just paper mache artists force a change but the none creative artists among us who are paper mache art lovers. They are going to be the ONLY ones to make this much needed change. HOW?

Join forums, blogs, make websites. Be more active supporting them too. Be more open about enjoying this art form both in admiring & buying it too. Make the artists you are following or buying from feel like they ARE valued as the TRUE artists they ARE. More so make the world know it too. Going to an art fair? Not seeing any catagories specifically created for paper mache as a stand alone art form at the fare? Then find an official & complain 'your favourite' art form is not being reflected in the so called art fair then.

Let us assume then your part of a group or forum etc & see some one using a loose term for paper mache art instead of the real title it deserves. State so in a none rude but defensive comment to hopefully get the error fixed. Do what it takes to get the general public to understand this IS a REAL art form not some cheap whimsical fly by night thing that none real artists do because they can not afford the price of two house bricks to lean together in some creepy private gallery somewhere.

Paper mache IS art for crying out loud, help make the world see it too today.


  1. Jonty,

    Good questions! Before making Halloween props out of papier mache I probably would have been one of those "snobs" looking down my nose at such crafts as being inferior to "real" art.

    Yet having now begun the tasking of using the medium in earnest, it's easy to see that there is real talent that's needed here. Not in the stuff I've made, of course, but in the pieces I've seen you, Dan Reeder, Scott Stoll, and others create.

    No doubt it's because of its association with a child's art class that gives it negative connotations, but really the medium itself shouldn't be the focus of the object, but rather the art that's created in the process. As you point out, two bricks side by side, a blob of paint on a canvas, or a piece of bent scrap iron have all been hailed as high art.

    I imagine though that as the love, attention, and detail that you and other artists put into your creations grows -- and the proliferation of the pieces increases -- attitudes will eventually change. Not overnight, but slowly.

    Anyway, good thought provoking post!


  2. Well said! I work in a Junior school and having seen some of the teachers doing paper mache with the kids I thought I'd bring in a couple of sculptures I had done of my two dogs in paper mache. Needless to say I had a hard time convincing them that it was, in fact, paper mache! Hopefully I have convinced at least a handful of them to see paper mache for what it really can be!

  3. GhoulishCop: Exactly in the end it all boils down to the 'art' produced. Sadly it seems paper mache just isn't thought of as an art medium enough which is both odd & a shame.

  4. Flirty Myrtle: Good for you & art. I suppose one day attitudes will change i just wish i could see it happen. Oh well we can all only hope eh lol.

  5. brilliantly said!
    I have never understood why paper mache is considered less of an art form. Thanks for the great blog and excellent post. I've worked in paper mache for years and I think you are spot on.