Project Description

Patricia McCleery

I live on 30 acres in Northwest lower Michigan, daily hikes with my two dogs became a pattern in my life. I’ve always admired the work of Isamu Noguchi and wondered if there was a way to use local materials to create contemporary luminaries out of the materials I had at hand.

My favorite part of the process is walking out in the woods each morning and watching the sunlight bounce off branches. Each tree or bush has branches that create unique beautiful lines in the light. I try to capture that feeling in each of my pieces.

My favorite materials are Birch and Autumn Olive, curiously, pruning them creates even more branches that need to be pruned again the next season.

I make a frame of the branches from just one type of tree, and when I see the frame I can imagine what sorts of handmade paper and colors I might want to use in the luminary. Each frame is doweled together to create a strong piece and the branches are cured for durability.

The handmade papers are made of smashed up bark and leaves, think bark soup. Each piece of paper is dried and pressed and many feature the bits of bark leaves in the surface of the paper. The papers can then be tinted in various colors. Handmade paper originated in the Orient, and goes back to 3 BCE, some papers made 900 years ago are still intact.

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