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Hand Papermaking Magazine Article
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Artist Statement

By using forms that echo themselves in the natural world, I explore the symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment. My work emphasizes humanity in a vulnerable state - a fragile organic element within nature. I print my photographs on handmade paper and place them within amplified natural forms that fill and structure our surroundings but go unnoticed by people in their everyday lives-- taking in the images, colors, and forms to envision the organic piece in its basic form. By taking inconspicuous elements that are at the core of much larger objects, such as a pod or leaf, and exploding them in size, my work takes these objects out of their immediate context to evoke a sense of the larger issues we must confront.

I begin the process by growing many of my own fibers - I collect from my farm in Virginia, from friends’ gardens and other locations I visit. Cattail, bamboo, banana, asparagus, okra and iris will be harvested at different times of the year, capturing an array of different colors and textures. Some of these will be snow-retted throughout the winter, entering into a cycle of freezing, defrosting, and re-freezing. Each fiber is cooked down and stored until ready to be beaten, either by hand or in a traditional Hollander beater, where the fiber can properly expand. With clean water and cellulose fiber, a sheet of paper is “pulled,” where a molecular cohesion occurs for the fibers to attach and produce a strong sheet of paper. This process is derived from a papermaking technique originally created by the Chinese over 2,000 years ago. I also use the fibers to embed objects, pulp paint, and sculpt creating texture and energy, reminiscent of the natural forms.

I incorporate pulp painting using natural dyes such as indigo, alkanet, sandalwood, madder and chochineal. Recently, I’ve been experimenting using dyes from flower petals; they create an array of beautiful, natural soft tones in my pulps. In addition, I create tones from my grasses, hostas, artemesia, water lily leaves, and iris leaves by cooking them at the height of their chlorophyll – giving me a wonderful range of green and yellow tones.

I do use the technologies of today; they are critical tools for me, but I use them to harken back to the natural forms I incorporate and create in my handmade paper. The digital photographs I take of my surroundings and inspirations within nature are edited in Photoshop and printed on a large format printer to create archival pigment prints on my handmade paper. In a time where technology tends to steal one away from nature, I use technology to draw the viewer back in and highlight the importance of their role in nature.

In experiencing the transformation of the fibers from seed to artwork, I realize my own vulnerable state. Through trial and error, I have learned that nature can have a huge effect on how fiber looks and feels and I have had to adapt and use these changes. In some of my most recent work, I frame my images and sculptures in a lattice work of strips of multihued fiber. In a period of great divisiveness, these woven elements symbolize the strength we derive from interconnection and the brilliance of our multicolored community.


Email Gibby

Mobile: 202-528-0477
Floyd Studio: 540-745-6331

3345 Bridge Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
174 Sarvisberry Lane Sw, Floyd,VA 24091