Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Still not entirely free from the grip of that tenacious virus which has zapped my energy and replaced the usual contents of my mind with repetitious song lyrics...do you ever get that? Suddenly the words of a pop song you heard about a century ago are playing non-stop in your head? Down and down I go, round and round I go, under that old black magic etc etc. Somebody take the needle off the broken record! 

However the resolve to get on with continuing the autobiography is still there if not yet the actual getting on and so to fill this blank space with something relevant, here are some pictures. The first one is of a construction I made in 1984 to serve as housing for an illustrated journal I drew in 1973-74 - that's the journal on the right. If you turn the handles below either of the columns on the left, a short paper scroll unwinds with my name on it. 

The Continuing Story NdA 1984/1974  Mixed media construction. W 40.5 x H 23 x D 10 cm

The next two pictures are of cast-paper experiments from 1996. I made the mould in plaster of Paris then poured the homemade paper pulp into it, adding some colouring. When it eventually dried, the paper was lifted off the mould and behold, an ancient relic!

 The Scribe 1  NdA 1996  Cast paper. W 20 x H 14 cm

A few alternative versions emerged from the same mould - here is one of them:

The Scribe 2 NdA 1996  Cast paper. W 17 x H 12 cm 
The process is great fun but incredibly messy and you have to be willing to sacrifice your kitchen blender to make the paper pulp, it's useless for anything else afterwards. Serious paper-casting artists do this sort of thing with appropriate equipment in appropriate workshops but for me, it was just one of many non-sequitur technical experiments.



marja-leena said...

Natalie, so sorry to hear you're still sick. But not too sick to show and tell, thankfully! I LOVE your cast paper piece, it does look ancient! That reminds me I long ago did a series of pressed paper/mixed media pieces which I've never shown as they are hard to photograph.

Looking forward to seeing more of your autobiography and art. Get well quick!

Tom said...

Natalie, I also regret your still ongoing sickness. The repetitious lyrics, or even a melody, is something Lucy and I call an "ear worm". Now come on, enough is enough! We want you well and on your feet again.

Beth said...

tres sympa, as they say here. Get all better soon! I love both constructions, and want you to know that when we moved here I brought our old blender for the studio specifically for paper pulp -- and havent used it since!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Marja-Leena, I'm no longer sick, just not very energetic! Papermaking and casting is really fascinating but I don't think it's something I would pursue.
Can you try lighting your paper pieces so they can be photographed?

Tom, am going to dose myself with vitamins and something called Phosphor tonic which is supposed to be a good energy-reviver. Meanwhile my ear worm is now repeating a different song!

Beth, ah paper pulp! The tons of it needed to produce even a very small
piece are too much for a humble kitchen blender to cope with. Did you make some cast paper objects?

AML said...

Great idea Natalie, it really looks ancient. You did well on your experiment.

Lucy said...

Making paper, and similarly making felt, is something that always looks so tempting, the colours and textures are so rich and it's all sculptable and gloopy and must be lots of fun, but there's not really any doing it on a small scale in a quick moment. Your ancient relics are very appealing, with a distinctive little Natalie-person in them of course! And I want to play with those turning handles on that construction...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, I'm sure you'd enjoy the process and would come up with something delightful. Since summer is coming (?) and you have a garden, you could do all gloopiness outdoors - pourquoi pas?

Anytime you're in London, you're very welcome to come and turn those handles.

Dick said...

Ancient and modern, the paper pulp pieces. Love them.

Sorry about your ear-worm. I get that when ill or anxious. My remedy is a vigorous mental rendition of the Archers theme tune. It works for a while.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dick, I'll try the Archers but then won't it become another ear-worm? If it's a choice between That Old Black Magic and the Archers, I think I'll stick with Sinatra!

addon said...

Natalie blog 30 May 2013

Oh, I think that construction is marvellous, Natalie! What a great way to store your journal. Of course I like the scrolling out to display your name, along with the title ... continung story! Just marvellous and I like especially the small-size ingenuity and creativity - not to mention dexterity - to make the mechanics of the scrolling action.

As for the cast paper, well gob-smacked would be one word for me! How lovely.

What will you pull out of the hat next? How on earth do you manage to store all these things?? You can't just pile them in a corner, I don't think.

Best wishes, Adam

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hi Adam, glad to see you back. My hat is indeed overflowing with all sorts of things from long ago as well as recently. Some of it hangs on my walls, some of it on other people's walls and some I've lost sight of but may have kept pictures of. But nothing is piled in a corner, no!

Beth said...

Natalie, I made paper; several experimental batches. None of it very exciting, but I used some of it on a handmade box -- will try to post a picture of that one of these days.

Ellena said...

I admire the thoughts that went into construction of the nest for the journal. Ronald Regan's name also appeared on many paper rolls in 1984. Your cast paper pictures would go well with my 'Labyrinth' which is also a paper work. It looks as if she had drawn and coloured and then crumpled up.

Natalie said...

Beth: I'd like to see the picture.
The trouble with papermaking or casting is that it's such a demanding task that unless one really wants to go into it full time, it's hardly worth the effort. But maybe that's th wrong attitude!

Ellena: Ronald Reagan on paper rolls? What do you mean? Am I being dim?
Can you post some photos of your paper works on your blog? I'd like to see "Labyrinth".

Ellena said...

Nathalie, I'm just a humble onlooker/onreader, enjoying what I see and read and sometimes making non-understandable comments.
Regan's name was on many ballots when he won in 1984. The labyrinth is mine but she, a female artist made it. I will start by taking a picture of it but before I can post it I will have to find out why I can no longer transfer from camera to PC.
Stay well.

Natalie said...

Ellena, thanks for explaining. I like that your imaginative mind makes these unusual associations - that's creativity!

I hope you'll be able to transfer your photos to your PC. I'm on a Mac and must admit that I much prefer it to PCs, so much easier!