Gosh time flies!
I’ve been home for three weeks now and unpacked all the wonderful holiday finds, including delicious new papers. It's been remiss of me not to write a little about my adventures, so here we go, beginning with paper . . . .
Armed with a list of Paris paper shops, beginning with Calligraine on Rue Du Pont Louis-Philippe, I rocked up at 10.00am expecting the store to be buzzing. The doors didn’t open until 12.00, so to fill in time, Ron & I walked a few blocks to the Maison de la European Photographee where we were totally blown away with an exciting exhibition by Vic Muniz, a Brazilian collage artist.
Back at Calligraine, the papers beckoned. There’s nothing like the anticipation of what we might discover in a paper store, and this collection did not disappoint. Not only are there beautiful papers and woodgrain envelopes to drool over, but also wonderful objects created by Miki Nakamura, and the wafer-thin fruit and vegetable papers by Jean-Michel Letellier. Photos don’t do these exquisite papers justice.
Many prices were high, (I'm talking seriously high), which was probably just as well, or I might have been landed with excess baggage charges. Largest of those I bought was a sheet of Amate paper from Mexico. The paper is very heavy with a cork-like texture and it required some very tricky manoeuvring to roll the two-metre long sheet into a tube.
A conversation with another customer, who hailed from the USA, revealed we had a few things in common. As well as this lady being a book artist, she had recently finished a workshop with Gemma Black from Hobart and knew Sandy Webster, whose workshops I’ve had the pleasure of attending. It’s a small world and one which, after our conversation, led me to another fabulous paper shop – Relma, at 3 Rue des Poitevins.
Again, we arrived at the shop when it was closed - this time for lunch. I never could get my head around the business hours that varied from one shop to the next. Still, it was worth the wait. Shelves and shelves of exotic hand-marbled French papers greeted us; along with brilliantly coloured leathers for book-binding and every tool imaginable for book artists. Prices here were reasonable and it wasn’t long before I had amassed a stack of papers, with my husband looking increasingly worried about having to buy another suitcase!
There are many other art shops in Paris worth a look if you you feel so inclined, including L’Art du Papier, Paperplus for stamps, boxes and stationary, Magasin Sennelier, (opened in 1887) for beautiful paints ad pastels, BHV for craft supplies, Marie Papier, and the list goes on.
Our visit to Europe coincided with the Rijswijk Paper Biennale, so I wasn’t going to miss this international exhibition if I could help it. In between our travels in Spain and Belgium, Ron and I hired a car and drove to the charming Dutch town near Delft. Three days were spent exploring the area, but my first stop was of course the Museum Rijswijk, once the home of poet Hendrik Tollens back in 1790.
The only Australian artist in the exhibition was Tracy Luff, whose tree-like structures reminded me of primeval forests. This year’s emphasis was on large installations and although Tracy’s work was made solely of small corrugated cardboard circles; dramatic and beautiful in their simplicity.
The delicate paper flower arranging of Anne ten Donkelaar, and Yoko Kataoka’s gorgeous ‘Stream of Life’, left us spellbound, as did many other pieces. There was a strong focus on perspective throughout the exhibition, and something that impressed me, was how modern art worked so well set amongst objects from another era. You can see the seventeen artists’ work for yourself and the construction in two short videos at www.museumrijswijk.nl
After immersing ourselves in this wonderful exhibition we made our way to the Museum’s paper shop – where else? Here I bought several lovely papers at very reasonable prices. A paper market is held outdoors the week before the exhibition ends, but unfortunately I would be home by then. I could see Ron sigh with relief, but that was before we visited Delft the next day and discovered a wonderful little antique market full of assemblage goodies. How I carried home a pair of vintage ice skates and a brass iron I’ll never know!
But that’s for another blog dear friends. Now back to stroking my paper and imaging just how I’ll use it in my artworks.