Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Paper Collage Chinese Style. Review.

Zhu Liqun Paper Arts Museum

Better Link Press 2016

Hardcover $25.95 USA

ISBN 978-1-60220-023-4

Star rating: ****

Paper collage – creating picutures from layered and glued pieces of torn paper – is an often overlooked corner of papercrafting. This superb new book by Chinese  papercraft  expert Zhu  Liqun (he has his very own museum in Shanghai) and his team reveals how to finesse your approach to the craft.

The book teaches basics – choosing appropriate papers, preparing paper (crumpling or splitting to create texture and torn edges if required) and how to go about assembling the compositions (which are representational rather than abstract). Apparently, there are two basic styles of paper collage – component tearing – in which you tear the desired finished shapes to order – or scrap assembly method, in which the finished shape is constructed from smaller pieces.

The how-tos instruct you to use glue stick to adhere the pieces – a bit vague. A few technique tips would have been appreciated.

A truly fun aspect of the book is how it teaches how to craft paper collage in various painterly styles – Abstract Expressionism, Watercolour Style, freehand brush style (as in trad Chinese brush painting), Impressionism. The results are impressively painterly – yet paper-y!

For teaching purposes, specific compositions are taught in photographic step-by-step sequences. This is paint-by-number-y... but the goal is to be able to eventually create original compositions.

Paper Collage Chinese Style provides an excellent intro to a niche papercraft, and a fascinating insight into Chinese papercrafting and artistic traditions. 

I note that there are two other titles in the series – Paper Quillin: Chinese Style, and Paper Relief Art: Chinese Style. Based on the quality of this title, they are worth a look.

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book.