“Several years ago while exploring the local scrap yard for interesting artifacts, I came across an old Victorian era air return grate. I saw potential in its patterned design. During that same time I had begun to draw prolifically with a special emphasis in my drawings on textures and patterns. Although I had been working in cast bronze and aluminum for years, I searched for a way to combine my love of drawing with my attraction to the third dimension. I also needed to find a method for creating works that were less demanding and expensive than the casting of metal. After months of research, inquiry, and workshops I became interested in the idea of casting bas-reliefs in paper. That old Victorian grate became the springboard for the first in a long series of works in cast paper.”

Most paper is created from wood fibers, which are cheap and easy to acquire. It also has the disadvantage of having straight grained fibers, and is high in acidic content. Handmade papers are generally made of cotton. Cotton fiber papers are archivally sound and have the added advantage of their individual fibers being shaped like little crooked boomerangs or shepherd’s staffs. These serpentine fibers interlock on the microscopic scale giving hand made papers amazing strength. Since they are also acid free, there isn’t the normal yellowing and deterioration as you’d see in an old book or newspaper. The first step in producing cast paper is to create an original image in clay. Most of that is drawn and sculpted by hand, although sometimes I incorporate found objects such as the air return grate right into the clay. After checking for undercuts in my design, I then pour a hydrostone plaster mold over the clay. When that mold has cured properly, it is removed from the clay original and cleaned. It is then sealed and waxed in preparation for casting the paper slip. The paper is made from a product called linters. Linters is a simple white cotton fiber that is pressed into sheets so that it easier to handle. These sheets are soaked in water to create a wet, messy, pulp. This pulp is then ground and patted into the plaster mold. After carefully pressing out the maximum amount of water the casting is left to dry. After about a week it is removed from the mold, signed, numbered and framed. On occasions I will also go back into a casting and draw on the paper relief or even add components from other paper projects. Back