Papermaking with Anya

Anya is a sweet friend of my neighbors. She spent a few hours with me a couple mornings during the summer to learn how to make paper. We had a great time together! Here are some photos from the session. She loved making paper! (Isn’t she just adorable?! And she’s just as sweet, too.)

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Organic Papermaking Workshop 1

I had the pleasure of teaching a 14 year old girl named Anandi how to make natural-looking hand-recycled paper a couple weeks ago. She was so sweet and full of creative ideas. Anandi also used a template of Mississippi that I made in graduate school to make Mississippi-shaped paper. Of course we had to mix color pigments together to find the right mix of Mississippi State University MAROON! We had a lot of fun!

Below are photos of the paper she made:

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Published Artwork

I will be writing blog posts in the coming months to make up for the year that I failed to document due to teaching a packed college class schedule in the fall, and sickness in the spring. It was a challenge to do anything more than what was required of me! I look forward to sharing with the world what my students were capable of accomplishing this past school year.

During Fall 2014, I was contacted by a publisher in China called DesignerBooks about the possibility of being included in a paper arts book. After much emailing back and forth, it became a reality. On July 23, 2015 I received an email that my work was officially included and was sent a copy of the published book a couple months later.

My chosen paper art from undergraduate and graduate school was featured in four full spreads with detailed descriptions of my idea and creation process.

It is a beautifully designed book, and I am proud to be included with many of my paper art heroes throughout the world.

Title: Paradise of Paper Art 2: The World of Dance Paper
Dimensions: 1.4 x 8.3 x 11.2 inches
Pages: 400
Color: four-color printing
Paper: Matte paper
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9789881378217
Shipping Weight: 2.3kg (5.1 pounds)

At the moment, it’s available on the Australian book website Booktopia and other Chinese vendors, including DesignerBooks.

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The book

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Book jacket with laser-cut holes & the front cover

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Table of Contents & Biographies (see my ice cream cones on right page)

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Cloud Gazing spread 1

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Cloud Gazing spread 2

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Summer’s Day Treat & Jacks

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Eldritch Forest typeface promotional mailer undergrad project

All of these projects are featured on my portfolio website, brittanyspencer.com.

It’s amazing how the Internet makes our world so much smaller and offers connections we would not make otherwise. I’m grateful that a DesignerBooks representative found my website and offered me this opportunity!

Summer 2016 Papermaking Workshops for Kids & Teens

Hi everyone,

I haven’t posted any updates in too long. I intend to change that this summer.

I have great news! I am teaching papermaking workshops for kids and teens ages 7–14 in Starkville, MS this summer. Class size is limited, so pre-register soon to be sure to snag a seat! Each workshop is a 3-day event from 9:00 am–noon, costing each student $100. All materials will be supplied.

Students are encouraged to wear “paint clothes” as these activities can be a little messy! Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend, but are not required.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a video featuring my little buddy Shivank making his first sheet of hand-recycled paper under my instruction.


And now for the dates and workshop projects:

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The next workshop is an event for kids and teens that love Christmas so much, that they  would enjoy creating tree ornaments in July! I taught this workshop over 2 years ago while in graduate school and it was a big hit. Visit the old blog post to see those kids at work: https://brittanyspencer.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/kids-paper-pulp-ornaments-workshop-photos/.

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I will also have copies of my self-published children’s book A Girl Finds a Flower featuring my hand-recycled paper illustrations for sale at the workshops for $20. They are also for sale online at Lulu.com and Amazon.com.

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I hope you can join me to create fun, exciting art! Please contact me to pre-register at brittany.liz.spencer@gmail.com.

MSU Summer Arts Camp 2015

Hello world! It has been awhile since I have documented my art and teaching experience on the web. You last heard from me in May as I was wrapping up the spring semester. Summer brought new experiences, visiting friends and family, making new discoveries to improve my health, lots of gluten free cooking, and REST. I also finished buying the supplies I needed to convert my apartment dining room and back porch into a papermaking studio! I will share in future blog posts how I’ve been using my home studio, what my students are doing this fall semester, and more exciting news.

Between June 5th-12th, I volunteered to lead three workshops for Mississippi State University’s art camp for high school students. The camp has been an annual event for three years now for students that are 16-years-old through incoming college freshman. I taught a recycled papermaking workshop, and beginner workshops about Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Students also learned about photography, graphic design, drawing, ceramics, and sculpting processes from other MSU faculty.

What is great about this event? Young students get to have a hands-on experience with all types of mediums and processes, and decide if art and design has a part in their college future!

Below are examples of what students produced in my workshops, lasting a couple hours each:

ILLUSTRATOR
Students constructed and stylized an animal of their choice in the Adobe software.

by Thomas Kennedy

by Thomas Kennedy

by Sarah Hoing

by Sarah Hoing

by Phillip Merryman

by Phillip Merryman

by Phillip Vosbein

by Phillip Vosbein

by Natalie Blaylock

by Natalie Blaylock

by Mary Preston

by Mary Preston

by Kristen Page Stacy

by Kristen Page Stacy

by Jordan Kirk

by Jordan Kirk

by Jana Hubbard

by Jana Hubbard

by Ivy Williamson

by Ivy Williamson

by Haley Lawrence

by Haley Lawrence

by Caroline Harris

by Caroline Harris

PHOTOSHOP
Students’ goal was to design a non-objective, abstract composition that creates space and interest. They needed to experiment to consider color and value as they worked in the Adobe software.

by Caroline Harris

by Caroline Harris

by Tatum Roper

by Tatum Roper

by Sam Turba

by Sam Turba

by Phillip Merryman

by Phillip Merryman

by Emily Manning

by Emily Manning

by Jordan Kirk

by Jordan Kirk

by Jana Hubbard

by Jana Hubbard

by Haley Green

by Haley Green

 

PAPERMAKING
Each student had the opportunity to make at least two sheets of hand-recycled paper with the supplied paper, leaves, flowers, grass, and dyes to their creative liking.
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If you know a high school student that has an interest in art, I hope you will share this opportunity with them so they can attend next summer!

More to come….

Return to Organic Paper

This post is about a month late, but I have been busy transitioning into post-graduate school life. I now have an apartment in Starkville, MS, and will begin teaching at Mississippi State University this August.  Sadly, all my papermaking supplies are put away in a storage unit, and I am missing the process so much that my heart aches!  So I am currently on the hunt for a space to rent in Starkville to get my creativity going again.  If anybody can give me any tips, please email me at brittany.liz.spencer@gmail.com.

As going-away gifts to some friends and professors at Louisiana Tech University, I made sheets of hand-recycled paper.  I had not made organic sheets in so long.  The idea of gathering flowers, grass, and leaves, and letting them drop as they pleased into the pulp sounded very therapeutic to me, especially after a year of making paper art that HAD to be a certain color and form.  Instead of bold pigment colors, I let the scrap paper determine the color, or added colored tissue paper to bleed into the pulp.

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I also made some sheets to be laser-cut for a wedding gift….

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…and Mother’s Day gifts a couple weeks earlier. *IMG_2121b

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There are so many possibilities with paper.  I love it!

Graduation Day

I am now an official Master of Fine Arts graduate from Louisiana Tech University!  So much has happened since I moved to Ruston, LA three years ago and I have grown so much as an artist and person.  Fellow graduate MC Davis had the best way of describing how I feel about graduate school: “The third year [grad students] in the past warned us we would miss it… it’s super stressful in the moment of things but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Grad school is a very humbling and productive experience. It will fly by. It’s hard, it will make you want to quit and walk away, but the satisfaction of walking away with having completed it is………… there’s not a word for it.”

I had incredible support from the LaTech art/design faculty and friends I made there.  Though I am excited of new changes that are coming as I enter the career world, I will miss the community that I experienced there.  I encourage anyone interested in pursuing their MFA degree to give Louisiana Tech University a look.

All seven of us MFA graduates participated in the graduation ceremony on Saturday.  It was a wonderful moment of celebration in realizing that all of our hard work paid off.  It felt good standing out from the crowd in our big hoods (which are brown….why do MFA graduates get the ugliest color in combination with black?!) and funky sleeves.  We made photos together and said our goodbyes, because who knows when we’ll see each other again?  I will miss them dearly.

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For my next adventure in life– I have been hired at my alma mater Mississippi State University to work as a lecturer, teaching basic design software courses in the art department.  I am so thrilled about this opportunity!  This summer I will be getting settled there, and establish my lesson plans.  I will mainly be interacting with students that are trying out for the graphic design program, so I will completely relate to how they are feeling!  I also hope to find a space to rent so that I can continue papermaking.  I have a dream of having this studio space for people to walk in and purchase items, and also have the chance to learn papermaking.  I would also love to start a business through Etsy.

Today I read an article about actor Jim Carey’s commencement address to some graduates.  He stated, “My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. When I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”  I could not agree more.  I am so glad I followed my heart!

Cloud Gazing Installation Progress Photos

I received so much help casting paper balls.  It seemed like a never-ending endeavor!

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All this hard work was to build my cloud installation entitled Cloud Gazing.  As a child I remember staring at the white, puffy clouds in the sky and making out shapes and figures using my imagination.  This memory was the inspiration for this installation.

Posted below are progress photos that were taken along the way.  So much junk white paper was used to create all the components.  I even took the time to tear off any ink that was on these sheets of paper to avoid any discoloration of the clouds.  Gorilla glue and hot glue held the pieces together.  Various buckets and containers were used as moulds for some forms.  Styrofoam, cardboard, packing tape, and aluminum tubing were also used for certain figures.  Pulp was pressed over glue seams to conceal them.

CASTLE

I spent the most time on the castle cloud.  I envisioned it to be a very large cloud to hang from the ceiling.

IMG_1853b IMG_1981b IMG_1982bAt this point, the cloud was too big to proceed working on it in my studio.  I took it to the campus workshop, flipped it over, and suspended it on wooden sticks to continue adding half-spheres to the bottom. But to my dismay, it was an extremely humid, rainy weekend.  The wet areas of the castle cloud continued to spread to dry areas.  Some friends and I tried to pick it up carefully and move it into another room, but then….IMG_1998b….it fell APART!  I was completely heartbroken.  So much time, effort, and materials went down the drain.  Fortunately, the top half of the castle was salvageable.

IMG_2003bThe next day, I got back to work to recreate a new castle cloud.   This new version was so much sturdier based on my previous experience.  Due to my time constraints in finishing this cloud, the photo below is the only in-progress photo I have of my new-and-improved castle cloud.  It ended up not being as large, but I found it more aesthetically pleasing.

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OCTOPUS

I wanted this component to be really whimsical.  It ended up as a floor piece.  A lot of styrofoam was used for the head and tentacles.

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MERMAID TAIL

My first VHS tape when I was a toddler was The Little Mermaid.  I was OBSESSED.  I watched it way too much on a daily basis.  The little girl in me had to have a mermaid tail component.  A lot of styrofoam was used for it, as well.  It also became a floor piece.

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I used the side of a ruler to press fish scale lines into the body of the tail.IMG_1984b

AIRPLANE

For the guys, I decided to make an airplane cloud.  I found a styrofoam airplane flyer in the toy aisle, and it was the perfect size.

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LION HEAD

I wanted a scary component to mix things up.  I intended it to be a lion, but I’ve also heard it called a bear and a monster, which is totally cool!  That’s how cloud gazing works, right?  To start it off, I had to create a pretty complex mould for the face.  An Iron Man mask was a fantastic base.  Then I used styrofoam and duct tape to make it more lion-like.  I envisioned for the head to turn into the edge of a cloud.

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Wet pulp.IMG_1743b IMG_1744b IMG_1985b

Roar!IMG_2007b

CLOUD CLUSTERS

The half-sphere paper casts were hot glued together, and Great Stuff insulation spray was used to fill in the gaps. Pulp was eventually applied to cover up the foam.  These were to hang directly on the wall.

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My next post will be photos of the final installation and the rest of my work in the MFA thesis show!

Pulp Party 3

Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to meet Brooke Foy, an Instructor of Art at University of Louisiana at Monroe, which is 30 minutes away from Louisiana Tech University.  We were asked to help judge a middle and high school art exhibition (which was harder than we thought!).  She heard my plea for help making multiples of paper casts, so she brought a car full of her students along one night to learn and help.  Some of them had even tried making paper on their own in the past, but it didn’t quite work out.  They were super focused and were very quick with the process.  It was nice to hear that they knew papermaking would benefit them in future projects and were thankful to spend a night in my studio.  Passing this process onto others is so fulfilling!

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10155920_10152322862755170_4867605418909076468_nVery beautiful pieces of work!

 

 

Pulp Party 2

Another group of undergrads volunteered to help me paper cast a lot of bouncy balls for my installation, and I taught them how to hand-recycle sheets in return!  We had a great time.  One girl that came was not even an art student– she was majoring in theater and biology!  She was interested in the process to consider making her wedding invitations by hand.  They were super helpful and produced beautiful paper art.

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