Interview with paper maker and book artist, Geraldine Pomeroy.
How would you describe your paper craft?
It is organic. Papermaking for me is about creating from what is generally waste materials -like scrap paper, weeds & plant cuttings something that enhances their beauty as well as creating something useful. I work with paper to produce paper for papers sake, each sheet can be an artwork in itself. I also produce One-of-A-Kind books and Artists Books where the book itself is an art piece. Sculptural Papier Mache is another area I sometimes work in and more recently I have been exploring paper as a base from which to build up artworks using locally handgathered resins, pigments and gums.
How and when did you become interested in paper making and binding?
I have always dabbled in bookbinding/decorating primarily for my photographs and when I received a blender as a gift about 8 years ago, I decided to attempt producing books from the paper to completion. I started with paper and moved on to fabric and then plant fibres becoming more fascinated as I went.
What attracted you to starting this as a craft?
I think it is the organic naturalness that shines through - being a bit of a "Greenie" I really like the idea of recycling, reclaiming, reusing and recreating.
What are you working on right now?
I have been collating sample sheets, recipes & techniques of every batch I have made since I began and I am toying with some ideas about producing a series of volumes (Possibly 9 copies of each volume) all handbound, printed and containing a sample from each of the over 200 I have have done to date. It a huge endeavour and as I said I am just throwing around ideas at the moment. Apart from this I am producing several One-of-A-Kind books with Exposed stitching techniques known as Ethiopian Binding.
Where do you look for inspiration when you are about to start something new?
Nature and her palette are my muses. From my studio window I see textured bark, delicate petal formations and twisting vines. When we travel it is the silver sculpture of a dead tree, the topography of the hills, the cleavage of valleys, the contrast of blue sky to red earth, the motion of the waves. There is endless inspiration out there.
What was the most difficult piece you have created and why?
Each time I venture into a new binding technique or explore something new it becomes my most 'difficult' piece to date. So right now it would be multiple needle binding techniques. You need more than one pair of hands!
What would be your favourite part of the process of paper making?
The Unkown. Whilst modern industry has turned papermaking into an exact science I work strictly in the arena of artistic experimentation. I am always trying something new, adding strange fibre mixes to see if I can produce a sheet with different qualities. That, for me, is what papermaking is all about. Experimenting.
If you had to choose a favourite piece you have made what would it be?
Whilst doing a workshop at Text-Isle Forum with Artists Books back in 2000 I was shown a technique that everyone but me seemed to know. I just loved it and the image Terra is that sample piece I produced that day. Unfortunately I have many books that have been made and sold before I photographed them - One that I do have an image of is called 'Tome' made from Cocos Palms. I like the organic feel and look of it. It sold last year and I kind of wish I hadn't.
You create a variety of different types of items from paper, including the paper itself. Which pieces do you enjoy creating the most and why?
At the heart of each work is the humble sheet of paper and that is still where my enthusiasm lays. I find it very relaxing. However I do enjoy producing books, Artists Books and artworks but they do require concentration and I don't always have the energy for it. When I need to recharge my creative energy I work on small books and cards to try out new ideas and experiment. Soon the ideas flow and I start off again on another creative journey.