papier mache

Paper mache pottery -week 4


Week four of the pottery project and a lot of pasting is going on.

Adding details to the dry pottery before pasting is the first step this week.

Adding paste and newspaper strips to add strength to the pottery is the next on-going step.

Working together to create an even, symmetrical coat of paste and newspaper is the goal of this evening’s studio session.

The evening’s session is finished and the pottery is drying.

Stop back to see the continued progress in week 5.

Paper mache pottery -week 3


Week 3 finds most of the class in the completion stage of building their pottery.

Our budding potters completed their final coils and worked to make their construction stable.

For some it’s hard to know when to end the building process and move to the next step.

Before moving to the next step it’s important to check the stability of the construction as well as the symmetry of the pottery.

After the pottery is built the next step is to begin the pasting of the project…also known as papier mache.

Papier-mâché (French for “chewed paper”), alternatively, paper-mache, is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

Papier-mâché paste is the substance that holds the paper together. The traditional method of making papier-mâché paste is to use a mixture of water and flour or other starch, mixed to the consistency of heavy cream. While any adhesive can be used if thinned to a similar texture, such as polyvinyl acetate (PVA) based glues (wood glue or, in the United States, white Elmer’s glue), the flour and water mixture is the most economical. Adding oil of cloves or other additives to the mixture reduces the chances of the product developing mold. The paper is cut or torn into strips, and soaked in the paste until saturated. The saturated pieces are then placed onto the surface and allowed to dry slowly; drying in an oven can cause warping or other dimensional changes during the drying process. The strips may be placed on an armature, or skeleton, often of wire mesh over a structural frame, or they can be placed on an object to create a cast. Oil or grease can be used as a release agent if needed. Once dried, the resulting material can be cut, sanded and/or painted, and waterproofed by painting with a suitable water repelling paint.

For many this is the fun part of the project.  Some see it as the slimy, gross part.  The first coat of paste and paper has been applied and next week will be the final application of paper and paste.

Paper mache pottery -week 1


We began our new class creating paper mache pottery this past week.

Participants learned about basic paper folding methods as well as various methods of building pottery.

Materials are very simple to begin with: newspaper and masking tape.

Learning how to create a coil out of paper is very similar to creating a coil out of clay….only with a different medium.

The next step is to learn how to roll up the coil to create the base of the pot.

Just like regular pottery, paper mache pottery is a very hands-on project.

Coiling is a method of creating pottery.  This method has been used in a variety of ways. Using the coiling technique, it is possible to build thicker or taller walled vessels, which may not have been possible using earlier methods. The technique permits control of the walls as they are built up and allows building on top of the walls to make the vessel look bigger and bulge outward or narrow inward with less danger of collapsing.

Next week we will begin the process of building the pottery after creating many coils.