Art – The Magnificent and Expressive Product of Paper

When we speak of art what mostly come to our minds would be the beautiful paintings created by the greatest artists in the world or the most magnificent of sculptures and structures ever created by man, but before our minds fly farther into the wonderful reverie of art let’s go back to the most simple medium of art yet could equally produce the same magnificent work, that would be paper. Everyone knows that most artist use paper as a medium to sketch their plan on, draw beautiful art on, and create something beautiful and magnificent out of it. Paper has a lot of use, mostly it is used in every aspect of our life and could be considered as a necessity, but one of the most beautiful uses of paper would be as a medium of art itself. There are two forms of paper art that are very popular today that would be origami and papier mâché.

Origami is the Japanese folk art of paper folding; the main goal of this art is the transformation of a flat sheet of material through folding and sculpting techniques into a finished sculpture without the use of cuts or glue. In creating origami sculptures one must master the art of basic origami folding technique, even though basic origami folds are small they can be combined in different ways to make intricate designs. In general, origami designs begin with a square sheet of paper in different colors or prints to produce a magnificent sculpture. The art of origami has been practiced in Japan since the Edo era but the conventional paper folding has not been followed strictly since then, sometimes it can start in a non square shape and cutting the paper is also practiced to create the desired sculpture. “Kami” (Japanese for paper) or origami paper is commonly colored on one side and white on the other but patterned version and dual colored origami also exist. Origami paper weighs lighter than copy paper making it suitable for a wider range of models and is usually sold prepackaged squares of different sizes ranging from 2.5 cm to 25 cm or more.

Papier mâché on the other hand is a form of art using pieces of paper sometimes reinforced with textiles which is stuck together using a wall paper adhesive, glue, or starch. When the paste dries it will produce a solid crafted object. Traditional technique in making papier mâché paste involves the use of a mixture of water and flour mixed to the consistency of heavy cream. The paper is cut into strips, and soaked in the paste until it is saturated; the saturated pieces are then placed onto the surface and allowed to dry slowly. Once dried, the product can be painted, sanded, or even waterproofed by using a suitable water repelling paint. Papier mâché is mostly used in creating masks, floats, or even magnificent statues used in parades or mardigras. Most art classes include papier mâché in their curriculum as it is easy to create and the materials are conveniently available as well. The most common types of papier mâché are paper boats, paper masks, paper observatory domes, paper sabots, carnival floats, and theatrical decorations.