Dreams Over Zero

Work in Progress: A Brown and Crinkly Thing

It’s been a long time since I worked in my art studio: no room, no time, no privacy. But the urge has returned with a vengeance lately. I’m tired of looking at a screen, no matter how many cool things I can do on it. I want to use paint. I want to glue things to other things. I want to connect with the art on a physical level.

Well. A couple months ago, Corvin was doing something in his workshop. The next morning I found this in the trash:

A large piece of brown sanding paper (?) all crinkled, with deep black dust-smudges all over it Now, here’s a thing about me, I love garbage. Not the stinky kind with the mushy bits of food or the very important official documents that I’m officially ignoring by shoving them beneath the stinky food, but cast-off materials and forgotten doo-dads and pieces of other art projects that didn’t make the cut.

I don’t know what this paper is or what he used it for (probably something that involved a lot of dust and noise and maybe even fire), but OMG IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Look at the crinkly pattern and all the different shades of brown. I grabbed it and tucked it away with the rest of my treasured components-to-be.

There it sat until this morning, when I had a couple hours of me-time and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I need to make something that I can put my hands on. Brown Crinkly Paper, your time has come.

Step one: Stick it to something flat and stable without ruining the crinkle patterns. Not too many options lying around, so I chose a big piece of cardboard and painted the edges black. It’s neither as flat nor as stable as I would have liked, but I already have some ideas about how to build those folds and corrugation lines into the design.

Sanding paper next to a sheet of cardboard with the edges painted black and a black hand-print in the center

And I put a hand print in the center in case anyone tries taking this apart at some time in the future. It says STOP! STOP, DO NOT TAKE THIS APART…OH, TOO LATE. YOU FOOL.

Now for the glue. Because the paper is so delicate and misshapen (and I wanted to preserve the crinkles), I couldn’t just slap a big glop of Mod Podge on the cardboard and lay the paper over it, as there was no way to tell what the final position would be. I started with a thin strip of glue at the top and centered the paper as best I could.

Starting to glue the brown crinkly paper to the cardboard. Metal disks hold the glued parts in place.

The metal disks are more scraps from Corvin’s workshop. They’re perfect as weights for keeping unruly stuff in place until the glue dries.

One strip of glue after another, the paper becomes one with the cardboard.

Gluing the brown paper to the cardboard, halfway done.

I kinda like the disks with the rest of the piece, though. Maybe something like that will work its way into the final design.

There, it’s all stuck down.

The brown paper fully glued down to the cardboard

It kinda looks like an area rug.

The black dust that makes all the amazing patterns isn’t ground in there very deep, though. I wasn’t planning to seal the top yet, but after seeing the dust all over my hands, I figured it would be a good idea.

Mod Podge is my favorite glue, and it makes a good sealant too (at least for stuff that doesn’t have to have a perfect surface, like this). It’s strong and dries clear, and I’ve never had a problem working more details in over it.

Brown paper glued to cardboard and covered with a white sheen of Mod Podge to protect the black dust

Smash, smash, smash and smear the glue over the paper! Why do all my paintbrushes disintegrate so quickly? It’s a mystery.

Now…we wait. I hate waiting. What will happen with this tomorrow (or the next day, or whenever I can get back to it)??? What is it going to beeeeee?

I DON’T KNOW! That’s part of the fun.


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