Jane Ponsford

Jane Ponsford is a London-based papermaker and artist who makes exquisite sculptural forms. Her pieces resemble organic forms – hummocky and wrinkled, some could even be mistaken for mushrooms on the forest floor. Working mainly with linen and cotton rag, Jane mixes chalk, clay, natural dyes and even volcanic ash into her papers. She regularly teaches papermaking courses at places such as West Dean in Sussex and Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall.

Artist & Maker

Jane
Ponsford

London

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THE PROCESS

Jane makes a vat of pulp from beaten linen and cotton rag fibres, which she often casts in an improvised mould and deckle to create uneven sheets. She mixes organic materials into the pulp to create unusual textures. Her pieces are imbued with a flighty, ethereal quality and are inspired by the landscape of the Downs in southern England.

  

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

I am motivated to make by the world around me, particularly by the materials of the natural world. Much of my work is made in relation to particular places and spaces, and by the materials which can be found there. I collect chalk, clay and other organic materials like bark, to produce coloured dyes which then imbue each piece with traces of these places and roots my work firmly in the natural world.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

Making dyes using found materials such as oak galls and fallen bark greatly inspires my work. Birch, with its pale bark and slender trunk, is one of England’s most characteristic native trees, particularly in the South. It is fairly shallow-rooted and you can often find fallen birches, especially after storms. If you come across one it's easy to peel the outer bark away which reveals a pinky-red layer, and that is what gives birch dye its pink colour. Using material from a particular place always summons up memories for me, of walking and foraging in nature.

Recently I have also begun making dyes with ancient methods, using plants such as madder, weld and indigo. Like the materials I find while walking, these plant dyes have huge connections to human history and sense of place – they are extremely evocative. Indigo in particular has captivated me; it is known to many as the colour of denim and workwear, and also conjures up a range of associations connected with summer. Working with indigo is quite magical! The extracted dye is a pale green with metallic scum on the surface, and after submerging and removing the item I’m dyeing from the liquid, it is pale greenish until oxygen in the air changes the chemical composition of the dye and transforms it into a beautiful indigo-blue within a minute or two.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

I am a papermaker but my work is not functional. I beat cotton and linen rags and other fibres to make pulp which is suspended in a vat of water and couched with a mould and deckle onto felts to make paper. The mould is a frame covered with mesh, and the deckle is the frame that sits on top of the mould. This process is very similar to the huge number of papermakers throughout history who have produced handmade paper. Where I differ is that I don’t make paper to write or draw on, but instead use it as a material in its own right. I work with custom-made moulds and deckles and often improvise to form the smaller elements that make up my work. It is at this stage that I shape the forms by hand and embed any threads or wires which I may be using to structure the work.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

The most recent exhibition or commission can often seem defining. I’m thrilled to have shown recently with two exceptional contemporary galleries, one based in London and the other in Bruton, Somerset. But, perhaps what I’m most proud of is bringing a ubiquitous and overlooked material into a different context.

5. What is your dream project?

My dream project would be a commission which employs the same natural approach that I use in making my work from locally gathered materials of the Surrey landscape, but elsewhere in a very different environment.

 

ALL PRODUCTS

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11 Products found

  1. Holmwood Paper Sculpture
    Holmwood Paper Sculpture
    Jane Ponsford
    £340
  2. Buddleia Garland Paper Sculpture
    Buddleia Garland Paper Sculpture
  3. Silhouette Paper Sculpture
    Silhouette Paper Sculpture
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £400
    Out of stock
  4. Birch Paper Sculpture
    Birch Paper Sculpture
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £340
    Out of stock
  5. Indigo Paper Sculpture II
    Indigo Paper Sculpture II
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £440
    Out of stock
  6. Indigo Paper Sculpture III
    Indigo Paper Sculpture III
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £440
    Out of stock
  7. Indigo Paper Sculpture IV
    Indigo Paper Sculpture IV
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £400
    Out of stock
  8. Indigo Paper Sculpture I
    Indigo Paper Sculpture I
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £540
    Out of stock
  9. Chalk Circle Paper Wreath
    Chalk Circle Paper Wreath
    Jane Ponsford
    £1,155
  10. Chalk Garland Paper Wreath
    Chalk Garland Paper Wreath
    Jane Ponsford
    £2,400
  11. Gatherings Paper Sculpture
    Gatherings Paper Sculpture
    Out of stock
    Jane Ponsford
    £540
    Out of stock
View as Grid List

11 Products found