An acquaintance of mine, Gail Stiffe (from Papermakers of Victoria), and two others came together to present their exhibition Three Rivers recently and I spent some time at the gallery enjoying the works while Gail was there, so we could chat about her pieces.
One gallery window was dedicated to some of Gail’s work: framed art pieces displayed on easels and a long concertina, all created in tones of blue with a smattering of yellow on pristine white paper.
I like that her concertina books fold back into covers, thereby protecting the individual pages and creating a more finished look.
There were several Coptic bound books, all working to the theme of the Yarra river and its tributaries. The main exhibit of this set was a very long book which, as can be seen below, was formed in coloured sections depending on the paper and water used. The book tells the story of the waterway and is full of both images and text.
In the photo you can see some of the smaller books which represent some of the tributaries. Handmade paper with inlaid plant material form the covers.
There were small handmade boats throughout.
Leaves and plant debris clearly showed trapped within the small paper structures, each one having been dipped in hot wax so creating a semi-translucent effect.
Both the trapping of foliage and wax dipping was repeated in a series of framed wall hangings and Gail had meticulously recorded both the botanical and common names of each piece.
I really liked the wax dipped pieces, especially the framed art works, and it’s not something I’ve seen before. By trapping the foliage between two very delicate sheets of handmade paper then running them through a hot wax bath the colours of the plant material are preserved.
The art pieces were well presented, not cluttered or overcrowded, and the gallery was well lit. Overall, an excellent display of Gail’s skills and her response to the river theme. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.