Jennie Gilling

Paper Artist

Jennie_Gilling

about the artist

 

I was introduced to the art of making paper whilst I was teaching crafts in London.  I had previously studied textile design and found an affinity with the process of constructing and manipulating the surface.  After several years’ teaching, I had a period of working as a secretary in arts organisations and when redundancy appeared, I seized the opportunity to return to a creative life, and paper has been my artistic focus since 1983.  Apart from being an artist, I am a professional gardener and write poetry.  I am a founder member of PaperWEIGHT, a National group of paper artists and I exhibit regularly with PaperWEIGHT and take part in the Wylye Valley Art Trail.

I currently use handmade paper for a technique I invented of applying and mixing liquid paper pulp, similar in method to painting.  I carefully incorporate photographs that provide the sharp focal point and the pulp confuses the boundaries, creating a blurred, peripheral and out-of-focus effect.  These works are called Papographs.

The nineteenth century photographic method of Cyanotype, which uses sunlight to develop the paper, is another medium on paper that I continue to explore.  The process has so many unexpected subtleties – often creating extraordinary detail as with a delicate x-ray, the deep blue having a dream-like quality.  I add a little watercolour to imply the colour seeping into or leaving the image, also gold or silver leaf as a flash to certain pieces.  To date I have used over 80 different kinds of plants with this technique.  As it brings together gardens and art, it satisfies both aspects of my life!

In contrast, I have made mirror works using either wood or slate as a basis that are placed outside as garden sculptures.  I like the way mirrors can import light from different  directions and reflect the unexpected, changing atmospheres.

My themes are always connected to the natural world and an idea can evolve into both written and art work.  I draw on what is local – the fantastic Cley Hill, on the outskirts of Warminster, is an ever-changing landmark, one I will continue to use.

Nothing can replace the excitement once a piece of work is under way and it is, without doubt, a way for me to feel complete.