How we work

The works grow out of our handmade papers and our studio experiments/tribulations with paper fibers. Other materials come in to complement and sometimes to structurally support the paper such as insulation foam board, wood and heavy wire.

The flat object on its own panel is pigmented cotton shapes connected by dark red and black strips of abaca. We use a lot pink insulation foam board Usually, they’re uncovered or lightly splashed with paint as in the 5 pieces on the floor. Sometimes we’ll put some pieces together and cover them with papers like the skinny figure at the right.

The yellow shapes are cast on HVAC ducting except the foreground one which was cast from a large trash can with wire wrapped around it. Ribs give the pieces some structure and volume. We put the holes in when we’re casting. The black and white “scarf” is just shapes of abaca fitted together. It was made U shaped to give it some twist even if it is used more or less straightened. We like using oddly shaped pieces of plywood that are painted, papered or drawn on (such as the one lower right). They serve as foils to the paper objects.

Our working method is discontinuous.

We make paper objects such as the objects on this page (all 2014 to 2018). They become standalone works when they don’t work well with others. They are seldom made to be a part of a specific work. It's as if we make the objects and hand them over to another couple who will use them almost like found objects and will put them together with other elements, paper or otherwise. Thus, artworks are created, exhibited or at least documented. Then, they're disbanded and the parts recycled into new work. Damn old work and storage units! If the need arises and the parts are not elsewhere engaged, we'll recreate a piece.

The pieces in the foreground were originally a single unit, but it was so ugly that the compassionate thing to do was cut it up into active, jagged shapes, which have become go-to pieces when composing. We call the two objects at the left (the black & white and the ochre & veronese) puffers. The background is 5 hour abaca and we laid shapes of 75 minute cotton linters on top. The bare abaca shrinks sharply while that covered by the non-shrinking cotton is restrained. The tension between the shrunk and unshrunk abaca causes the cotton shapes to puff out.

A view of our inventory. We might cut, paint, tailor objects to fit the needs of the composing moment. Wear and tear can be a good thing. Objects become more crumbled, flattened and torn. Occasionally, they’ll get repaired in a less than invisible way. A hint of the “found” creeps in.

The peach "tapestry" that Barb made a few years before we began collaborating full time has reappeared many times.

We use paper fiber to make things that we think are interesting or beautiful or satisfying in some way. Complete or fragmentary, our paper objects become part of our "inventory" from which we draw when working on our pieces. We talk and think about these objects and the artworks that come of them in terms of materials, composition, color, installation.

The works are abstract. The only meaning is what the pieces resonate as we create them and live with them. What does a piece contribute to the dialog of our lives at the moment? That's what we try to capture in our titles and offer to the viewer as one possible way into the works.

Days when dragons are the issue 2014

Treehouse Summer 2017

Meaningless and Sure (detail) 2017

Thunderhead in spacious skies (detail) December 2016