There I was, tidying the kitchen cupboards and I came across several boxes of unused coffee machine filters, of varying sizes. I use a cafetière now. I’ve had these redundant filters for years. I don’t like throwing things away even if I’ve no longer any use for them. This time round, I saw how I could use them as art papers, so up they went to the studio.
Look what I’ve done with them! They’re fans!
Fans have a variety of symbolic significances. I like this – that the small end represents birth and the blades, the many possible paths leading away from this beginning. Red and white on Japanese fans are supposed to bring luck, gold attracts wealth. Designs are repeated an odd number of times – odd numbers being lucky numbers, groups of five, particularly so. Fans keep evil away, were used in religious ceremonies. A closed fan between you and another is an acknowledgement of the other’s superior rank. In Japanese Kabuki and No theatre, fans are used to emphasise the stylised movements typical of these performance forms.
First, I slit the side of the filter and it unfolded it into the fan shape. I painted, stamped and stencilled four of the filters, on both sides, scrunched them then ironed them flat again and brushed them with hot encaustic wax. I scanned and edited them, and also used the invert filter, giving me, in the end, 16 images to play with, from only 4 coffee filters.
At the same time, an email popped into my box from singer, musician and composer Rob Stevens. He’s just released a new suite of music: Megalithic Tons of Dog. I’d been in touch to ask him how he produced his lovely CD covers.
I saw how four of my coffee filters together formed a circle – just like a CD. They also made a cell and are perfectly appropriate for my Below the Line project.
These are very quick studies. I used watercolour paint from a new box of 24 tubes – a cheap find in my local Oxfam shop.
I’ll be building on fans, using my paper coffee filters. I love the fan shape.
Anybody out there used paper coffee filters for making art? I’d love to see what you produced.