|Artwork by Robin Millan, member of Imagine That!
Walt's Mouse was the beginning -
My first experience with papier mache was when I was 4 years old and nearly entombed in an Minnie Mouse head made by my mother. Luckily, this resulted in no lingering phobias and eventually I tried the process on my own. I even managed to make the occasional piece that was identifiable.
Years later, Robin revisited the "messiness of it all" - but only as an occasional pastime. It wasn't until 1999, when she became involved with Imagine That! Artisans' Designs, that papier mache evolved into more or less a full time endeavour. "It's a real pleasure to be a Member of Imagine That!".
I start by building an armature to create the basic shape. LOTS of masking tape is used at this stage. Then the paper starts going on - either strips, hand made pulp or both. I work on several pieces at a time and speed up the drying with fans. Details and outer coatings to create texture are next. I often incorporate found objects. Painting and sealing finishes things off.
Robin's pieces include quirky chickens, sheep, pigs, dogs and cats - chefs and butlers - a dancing diva and a life size sea captain who welcomes visitors to a waterfront home on Vancouver Island's west coast. Other pieces have gone to more distant locations - including Japan, England and Jupiter (Florida, that is).
Robin also hand paints reclaimed furniture, beautiful glass stemware, and keeps people chuckling with "A Bit of Cheek" - a series of fun-loving, chunky, naked ladies. She also works with hydrostone, creating 3 dimensional castings and wall hangings of her original sculptures.
I want people to look at my work and smile. There are other things to be serious about - I don't want my stuff to be one of them. I've got a sign in my studio that I like - "don't let the laughter pass you by".
As appeared in the Cowichan Valley Voice - July, 2011, page 20