Published: 29 June 2022

As part of our Harpenden gallery's current exhibition, On Paper, we have included some more experimental approches to the medium. Our manager, Abi spoke to Angela A'Court about her handmade paper vessels.

She explains:

'The process of how they are made is quite involved: First, I'll make a piece of abaca paper in the traditional way of making paper.

Whilst the newly 'pulled' paper is still wet, I will work into it very carefully by applying a 'wash' of pigmented linen pulp... not dissimilar to painting with watercolour on paper. Usually, I'm surrounded by several containers of different coloured linen pulp which have been made up beforehand. Sometimes I'll use stencils and other times I'll just paint free hand.

When I'm happy with the finished piece, it will be layered up between blankets and placed into a hydraulic press to squeeze half of the water out. After this, I'll start to work with the still wet, pressed paper to wrap it around chosen vessels and pots: this is done in two stages as I'll place one layer facing the pot and then apply a second layer so that the finished pot has an inside and outside, the idea behind this is that we are all like vessels and the two layers represents our inside and outside.'

The inspiration for the designs comes from a period of time Angela spent in Tokyo, Japan, picking through beautiful textiles and papers in flea markets.

They are grouped as if in conversation, atop oak plinths, a subtle but considered connection to exemplify the origins of paper.

Currently studying for an MA, Angela has been looking to the historical and philosophical context of 'paper' and how it is a material that holds the complexity of humanness.

The paper paintings are a process of pulling handmade paper and using pigmented pulp to apply 'textures'. Latterly, she has used some of the handmade paper to print on giving layers of mediums, textures which represent the layers of the rich history of paper.

The above photograph is taken from a paper making demonstration A'Court took part in over London Craft week in May of this year, where the pots we have on show were produced. Never before have these been shown in a gallery, they add an interesting dimension to the overall show, demonstrating an alternative method of working with the material.

You can visit On Paper at Thompson's Gallery Harpenden from 25 June - 17 July, which also features works from Graeme Wilcox, Rachel Shaw-Ashton, Kim Scouller, Roy Wright and more!