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susan ryan’s paper mache sculpture

Susan Ryan’s sculptures begin their life with an armature of foam core, cardboard or recycled materials.

paper mache pulp, oil glazes, recycled wood
16″ x 16″ x 16″

The artist covers this armature with paper mache clay made from boiled newspaper, PVA glue, plaster and linseed oil.

Dreamway: Accept the Gift
paper mache pulp over cardboard armature
oil glazes on gessoed surface, sisal rope, brass fittings, recycled wood
38″ x 11″ x 11″

At One
paper mache pulp over cardboard armature
oil glazes on gessoed ground, recycled wood
44″ x 12″ x 12″

Once hard and dry, she uses wood files and sand paper to shape it, then coats it with gesso and paints the sculptures with oil glazes to make them look like stone, ceramic or wood.

Gathering of Spirits
paper mache pulp, recycled wood, found objects, acrylic and oil glazes
18″ x 14″ x 11″

Ryan’s favorite part of the process is the painting. Read below to see what she says about the importance of this part of the journey.

Spirit Stones
paper mache, oil glazes, glass, found objects, recycled wood
8-1/8″ x 21-1/4″ x 9″

“Starting to paint is the most exciting and most intimidating part of the process. It is now that I begin to see what this piece might look like finished and sometimes it looks very different than what I first imagined. The work might now flow easily or I might begin to argue with it; I want the piece to look one way and the piece wants to look another. In the end the piece always wins. For the times when the work just flows to finish, I am grateful and delighted. For the times when I struggle to the finish, I am also grateful–enriched by the journey down a path unimagined and in awe of the creative force within.”


Susan Ryan’s website



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