TREES. PAPER. LEAVES. Making art with paper sculpture.

Hello Fiber Enthusiasts,

I’m so excited to feature Paper Artist Dana Slowiak! I’ve just met Dana through working on the Threaded Streams Fiber Arts Trail in Baraboo, Wisconsin and I have to admit that I have a fascination with paper sculpture and paper arts. Dana and her husband, who is also an artist, recently opened D2 Squared Gallery in Lodi, Wisconsin. Below are snippets of what Dana thinks about fiber art, what inspires her and excitement about her future in paper making.

Dana’s current work deconstructs books and re-forms them into paper sculptures. Her primary interest surrounds oak leaves that are hand-cut from book pages. These new leaves are formed into sculptural works incorporating handmade papers, natural tree branches, wood, and other embellishments that ask viewers to explore their own relationships with trees, wood, and paper.

Detail white oak suspended

“White Oaks Suspended” –Handmade paper, book page, scrapbook paper, metallic threads, beads

A little bit of background about your interest in fiber and textile arts. What types of fiber (medium) do you work with most often?
I work in the paper arts. I am a handmade paper maker and also recycle book pages into new works. I create paper sculptures and artist books.

When did you first become interested in working with fiber? What about the medium of fiber appeals to you?
I have been working with paper, namely book pages, for about five years. Last year, I took a papermaking class and am now hooked on handmade papermaking. I have always been interested in paper. I loved new notebooks as a kid and still relish the smell of anything paper. I also am a writer, so paper is integral to the process of handwriting text. I started working with book pages five years ago because I love the idea of text, often old, being used in new ways to create new things. Learning handmade papermaking was a natural progression of my exploration as an artist.

Your creative expression. Describe how you approach your work and your creative process.
I generally start with an idea for a piece and see where it leads. I believe in organic, natural processes.

Are there themes or recurring ideas in what you make?
I work with botanicals and other natural materials in a lot of my work, across media. A lot of my subject
matter revolves around oak trees, playing with the idea that we use trees to make paper, which becomes books, which I then deconstruct to recreate leaves and trees in a new form.

Sail Away_2

“Sail Away”–Iron rod, handmade paper, book page, metallic thread, beads

Do you have any creative challenges?
Right now, I am waiting for my own paper beater and drying press, so hand-making paper is a bit on hold until I acquire equipment.

What are some of the pleasures you get out of working with paper?
One of my favorite papers to create are those from recycled cotton sources, including t-shirts, jeans, and bed sheets. There is a great reward in turning something we wear into paper with a new life and new possibilities.

The community around you. Describe ideas that inspire you. Where do you find inspiring ideas? Where do you sell/exhibit your work?
Most of my sales have been private. I’ve exhibited in Madison at the Overture Center, local libraries, and Commonwealth Gallery, to name a few. Please see below for information about D Squared Studios.

Sail Away_detail

List groups/guilds in which you’re a member.
1. D Squared Studios, owned by my husband and myself, in Lodi (We just opened an art gallery and have a 2016 summer gallery season to correspond with the Lodi First Friday Art Walks. Each month, we exhibit one or a group of local artists.
2. artsTRIBE, Madison-based collective of seven artists that exhibited in Madison.

Social media/online presence: Website/blog/Etsy/FB, Instagram and contact info:

Contact Dana

Dana’s gallery will be included in the Threaded Streams Fiber Arts Weekend in March, 2017! There’s a lot more info coming on that event, so check back!

Thanks for stopping by Midwest Fiber Arts Trails!