When A Yellow Wood was first created, I added the tagline to my business cards: Artful Creations by Jennifer Woodworth. I wanted it to be a place where I could display, share, and archive anything creative, whether it was a painting or something else. So far it’s been paintings, which are 2D (well, except for the occasional peak of paint) and which translate more easily to the 2D medium of a website than does, say, an afghan or cinnamon bun or scrapbook or… bird. But here is my first attempt to post something 3D! Hooray!

First, let me pay homage to all 3D artists in the world – it is not easy. This was my first foray into papier mache, outside of elementary school craft projects, and at times it seemed very reminiscent of said projects. I started with some cardboard bits (which came tucked inside some dress shirts that my husband got for Christmas), a little bit of wire, some watered down white glue, and some corn starch (because oops I watered it down too much). Then came the hours of putting down a layer of soggy newspaper strips, waiting, more strips, waiting, sanding, more strips, waiting, etc. My first two attempts were lovely:

But my third benefited from the experience I gained with the first ones. I searched for images of birds online so that the shape would reflect reality, not just my own mental images. Then, during post-Christmas sales, I got the inspired notion that since newspaper leaves lumps, thinner paper would be smoother and what better than 75% off packs of tissue paper! Although it kind of went against my initial idea of making the birds entirely from recycled materials, I didn’t get hung up on that for too long, because after all, the glue and wire and gesso and paint weren’t recycled either. Bird #3 began to take shape.

Tissue paper, being thinner, took somewhat more layers than the newspaper, but required less sanding. Then came gesso, waiting, sanding, gesso, waiting, sanding, etc. before I even got to paint it! Finally, I screwed the wings on to the body and voila: a beautiful raven now hangs from a plant hook in my living room.

I don’t think I’ll be working with paper mache too much in the future – so much work for such a small reward. But it was great fun!