Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Paper Art - IAPMA COngress 2018 ...

'Paper art is a modern art bred by traditions and crafts related to paper and, as the newest area in contemporary art, it blends traditions and innovations, experiments and high achievements. It challenges world authors to create a new language of expression and new technologies that enrich contemporary art.'

Sofia Paper Art Fest

Several years ago during one of my many visits to Korea I was asked if I was a member of IAPMA.I had no idea what they were talking about and as such, I almost brushed it aside until one day I decided to do some research to find  out more about this paper association.  IAPMA stands for the International Association of Hand Paper Makers and Paper Artists and when checking out the website  I was intrigued by the  work that was done  by it's members.
In a nutshell this association is an International Community of paper artists who share a common love of making and working with paper.

Two years ago now, not long after joining IAPMA, I was fortunate enough to join my first  Paper Tour in France where we spent 10 days travelling around the French countryside visiting old Paper mills and seeing demonstrations of how paper use to be made using traditional Western methods, exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites and  visiting several French Artists' studios.  It was an amazing experience and one that allowed me to gain  a wealth of knowledge about paper and also just as importantly, where new friendships of like minded  artists were formed. 

This year was the biannual IAPMA Congress - 'Paper : Conscience and Consciousness' and it was to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria so with an already planned visit to Europe, I was  able to attend.   I signed up as a participant and went along ready to be immersed in more paper culture. The exhibitions I attended were way beyond my expectations in terms of scale, diversity and standards. Many of the Congress participants had their creative work on display and  I must admit that I was blown away by what I saw. To be immersed in a community of artists at this level was extremely humbling.

'Paper Obligato' (Collage of handmade banana paper, screen printed and stitched) 2017 - Heather Mathews, AUSTRALIA

'Dinner is served' (used tea bags), 2017 - Renate Schweizer, GERMANY

'Sunyata' (Platinum Palladium Print on Obara Washi Paper) 2017 - Reji Aoyama, JAPAN

The Girl of Healing Messages' (xerox transfer, paper thread crochetted and integrated to a joomchi treatment on washi), 2017 - Carolina Larrea, CHILE

'Earth Series III' (paper pulp, banana fibre), 2016 - Eliana Anghinah, BRAZIL

The Congress enabled me to reignite  friendships with  people I'd met on the Paper Tour in France and during meal breaks and discussion sessions I also made many new friends.  Everyone was so welcoming and I received numerous  invites to visit their homes and studios, not only in Europe but all over the world. I took some of them up on their offers during our trip around Europe and those time  turned out to be very special as it cemented our friendships even further and gave me a lot of inspiration for the future on my creative journey.

I've come back to Australia with my head  spinning with ideas of what I'd like to do as far as experimenting with paper in different ways and diversifying my style of work with the traditional Hanji paper I so enjoy. 

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