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Creating art out of paper

For most of us, making a paper mâché figure is the closest we get to using paper as an artistic medium.

Now artists from all over the world who use this simple material have to brought together to create some beautiful, three-dimensional objects, or Brit-Art style, edgy, conceptual art.

Some of the finest examples of this work are on show at the exhibition, PAPER: East Meets West, at the Beldam Gallery, at Brunel University, in Uxbridge, Middlesex, which includes pieces from Korea and Europe, this summer.

Co-curator Hilary Sussum, of Ley Hill, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, said: “I'm really delighted by the quality of the work. The contrast between East and West isn't as sharp as I had expected.“

She has selected work from professors of art in Korea, artists from Europe, and a student from Buckinghamshire.

These include beautifully exquisite, lacquer and shell jewellery boxes by Seok Sim Oh, and Bucks-Chilterns University College student Jayne Wilton's conceptual piece, In Good Stead consisting of the artist's own school books, (“in the subjects of English, Maths, History, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Studies, French“ writes Jayne on the display card) half-burned and blackened.

Hilary herself, who returned to university when she was 50 to start her career as an artist she reveals that she now has her “bus pass“ -- is exhibiting her unusual cobweb-like paper-and-metal creations. Her fragile, tall copper and paper structure Hoodoo was inspired by the amazing geological formations by the same name in the Canadian Rockies.

She lives with her husband in an 18th century house which has a converted barn, her studio, in which she also makes her own paper material out of beating wild flax.

After studying for her BA at the University of Hertfordshire, Hilary went on to do an MA at Winchester School of Art, had one of her creations accepted by the V&A Museum, in London, and she is convening an international congress and an exhibition of the International Association of Hand Paper Makers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), in Oxford, this summer.

“Exhibiting can be scary,“ she admits. “You are putting a little bit of yourself in the public domain.“

George Mogg, who designed the show, remarked: “This is a unique exhibition. It is the only opportunity to see such a diverse range of approaches to using this material.“