Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Jan Moulder

As a papermaker myself, it may seem a bit odd to have not featured a fellow papermaker yet in my Artist Spotlight series.  Well, the time has come!  I'd like to introduce you to Jan Moulder.  I've known of Jan for years through the Papermaking group on Yahoo.  This wonderful group discusses problems, ideas, solutions pertainant to the world of handmade paper.  We each then do different things with the paper.  Jan makes the most amazing lamps from paper.  Yes, lamps!  Her jewelry is pretty cool, too.  So, sit back and enjoy this look into her artistic world and please visit her site/blog when you're ready to see more.

Where do you live?
Spokane, WA in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, United States

What is your specialty?
Handmade paper and twig creations.  I also have a handmade paper jewelry line.

How did you first discover paper as your artform?

It was a dark and stormy Sunday afternoon in 1983 when my friend Deborah suggested that we make paper. “Make PAPER?!?” I screeched, “What? Are you crazy? Why should we make paper? I’ve already got tons of it!” After we sipped our tea and talked of other things, she donned her coat and hat and went home. Left to my own devices curiosity got the best of me and I rummaged through my books – this was in the days before the Internet when one looked to books for information – and what should I find, but a chapter on papermaking!

Now, you need to know that I had always wanted to be an artist but I compared my artwork with others and decided that I just wasn’t good enough. So I closed the ‘artist’ door just as I had closed the ‘dancer’ door because my legs weren’t long enough. But paper was different. I had never seen handmade paper before so I had nothing with which to compare my work. At first I just used junk mail and newspaper and paper napkins beaten in a blender to make cards and little pieces of art. I threw in grasses and flowers for décor and played with dyes. I learned through trial and error what worked and what didn’t.

Then I found the book called Plant Fibers for Papermaking by Lillian Bell. That book transformed my experience with paper. I found myself making paper from any plant I could get my hands on. I became dangerous as I drove around the countryside looking for more raw materials to feed my obsession. I developed a style of work embedding grasses in paper made from cattail, wild iris and bulrush fibers. So in 1989 I started Wyldewood Papers with the intent of marketing my art (books, cards and pulp painted landscapes) through craft shows and galleries.

In the last 20 years my work has gone through many evolutions with the only constant being handmade paper. I love the process from collecting the materials to cooking and beating the fiber to hearing the drip, drip of the water as the mold drains to the sensuous feeling of running my hands through a vat of freshly beaten pulp. I can’t imagine my life without making paper. It is now a part of who I am.

Please describe your work.
Rustic elegance with a touch of whimsy and a splash of magic.

Do you have a favorite piece?
Elfin Song – A Lamp with Soul

Anyone that has not made paper before has no idea how easy it is to make a simple sheet of paper.   However, they also can't fathom how difficult and time consuming it can be to bring a handmade paper piece to fruition.  Please talk about some of the materials and processes used in Elfin Song - A Lamp with Soul.

I started with a handful of twigs and a handful of hickory bark. The bark was cooked in lye for a couple hours and then rinsed and beaten in my Hollander beater to make a pulp. After I created the framework using the twigs and Apoxie Sculpt I made fresh sheets of paper that were wrapped around the frame while wet. As the paper dries it shrinks creating a very taut and firm surface. Then the fun begins! After stamping it with a resist in a scroll pattern, this piece was dyed with fiber reactive dyes and then embellished with leaves and lichens.

Naming the lamps is always a special time. I meditate on each lamp letting it tell me its name and the message it brings. Elfin Song’s message is:

Join in the dance.

     It’s all just about movement and flow.

          Each step originates from the one that comes before.
               You don’t need to know where you’re going.

                    You just need to take the next step.

What is it about this piece that makes it so special to you?
This was the first piece I’d done with the stamping process. But, what makes it particularly special is that I made the stamp from one of my grandfather’s woodcarvings. It’s such an honor to bring our works together.

What inspires you?
My inspiration comes mostly from the natural world, but I’m also influenced by fantasy and fairy tales and history.  Also, I love Celtic music…Loreena McKennitt, Blackmore’s Night. And I also listen to jazz and classical. Love Pink Martini and Secret Garden!

What is your studio or work space like?
My studio takes up half of our basement. The back room is my wet studio where I make paper and other messes and the front room, which is carpeted has a fireplace, is my dry studio. This is where I make my jewelry and other dry works and have my computer and printers. The other half of the basement is my husband’s photography studio. He does photography for other artists.

Do you have any special art tips for others?
Just go for it! Plunge in and take some risks. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are your best teachers.

What is the best creative advice you have been given?
Elaine Koretsky, a well known papermaker, once said that a ‘good’ piece of paper is a piece of paper that serves the purpose for which it was made. That was such a freeing statement for me. I had created all sorts of rules for my work which had put me in a box creatively. That statement made it okay for me to get out of the box.

How can you be contacted about your work?

Well, there are lots of options:

Isn't her work amazing?!?  Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Jan.  And many thanks to all my readers for hanging out with me.  I hope these Artist Spotlight interviews inspire you as much as they do  me.



Lady Steel said...

Am a long time fan from the FAEteam. Whenever we tweet your work, even we get compliments. Great job and thanks for being so inspiring.

FairiesNest said...

Greta article on an amazing artist...I covet one of those lamps!

Joanne Huffman said...

Extremely cool papers - love the lamps and jewelry. I'm going to go visit her blog now.

Faerie♥Kat said...

I own a pair of Jan's earrings that never fail to elicit wonderful comments from complete strangers. Her work is stunningly beautiful!

mermaiden said...

That's a fascinating and inspirational interview about the hands and heart of an artist. Jan is indeed magical!

Emerson Bindery said...

I love her lamps! So much that I featured one on my blog too! She's a very talented lady!

Kathy L said...

Wow about impressive. Those lamps are way cool. Thanks so much for the spotlight!

Papergail said...

Nice to read about Jan, it is indeed beautiful work. Loved catching up on other posts and seeing the swap book too, I haven't participated since the third or fourth and am thinking I really should!

The Queen of Graceful Complexities said...

Lorrie, I love that you have a blog and I love keeping up on what you are doing. My favorite things you do are your house pictures, they are so great!

This was a great artist you featured as well. Good for you INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN!


Lorrie Grainger Abdo said...

I love blogging because I get to hear from cool people like you guys! Glad that you liked the interview with Jan. She does great work.


Related Posts with Thumbnails