Sunday, 10 July 2011


I am a self taught artist, with an interest in France and the environment.
I use materials which would otherwise be thrown away or expensively recycled, mainly because they are cheap. I see waste material, not as a problem but as a resource.
Not everything can be sourced from waste materials, so I also use eco friendly materials such as paint and glue, until I am in the position to find some such recycled source or can make my own glue or paint.
The main materials I use are paper and cardboard. I have also attempted to use waste plastic packaging by melting down, but after some experiments conclude that this might not be as eco friendly as I would like.
Various type of cardboard, both plain and corrugated are used. My favourite is cardboard fruit boxes, which come in standard sizes, the most popular being 60cm by 40cm . these form the basis of some of my artwork as they are very strong. I also have a small stock of thick corrugated cardboard, which can be used to strengthen the basic framework.
Plain cardboard such as that used in food packaging is used for detail work.

Paper is much more interesting and I use two main types.
Old newspapers - these are torn up into small pieces, then soaked in water over night (I originally boiled up the mash, but have now found this unnecessary). This wet paper is then mashed up using an old piece of wood, and the resultant mash pressed into moulds . I believe this is very similar to the original papier maché , but is now referred to as paper casting. No additional glue is added to the mash, and the moulded mash, either retained in mould or pressed out onto a tray, is then left to dry in a warm place. Depending on size of item this can take as little as 2 days over a week. The wet mash is heavy, but once the water has been removed by drying, it is very lightweight.
Cross cut shredded paper - this covers any other paper such as computer printouts or wrapping paper. The shredded paper is then mixed into white emulsion paint , to form a sticky mash which can be applied to various items for decoration. I aim to use old paint remnants, or eco friendly paint, Much of my initial work has used standard cheap paint, but once used up it is intended to use either old paint or eco friendly paint. This paint/paper mash is fairly heavy, compensating for the ultra lightweight mashed newspapers.

Simon Dawson
(Rue d’√Čtropal)

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