Artist Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave shares her portfolio of paper constructions, in the form of books, boxes and more. We caught up with her to learn more about her work and her direction.
ABI: What is the major focus of your current studio work?
JFM: Abstract, color-field ink paintings on paper are always my first focus—both for the sheer joy of painting, but also to create the base papers for my constructions.
My other work continues to concentrate on new possibilities in paper construction. I am always stretching to find new forms and purposes using paper. I try with each piece to explore some new element—whether architectural, or visual.
I’m always experimenting with different materials such as handmade papers that will incorporate natural substances, as well as recycled industrial papers that haven’t been used yet in art constructions.
I’m also developing more figurative structures, to incorporate symbolic and mythical elements in the constructions.
ABI: Tell us about the books you create. How can they be used?
JFM: The books and boxes come from a desire to take the color explorations of my ink paintings to the next level. Just as my paintings are a celebration of the way colors move against each other, the constructions are three-dimensional combinations of those paintings in a playful way.
In both the boxes and books, I incorporate traditional bookbinding and paper construction techniques that are hundreds of years old. I also use building processes drawn from other craftsman fields, including woodworking, tailoring, and even welding steel sculptures.
Each piece, whether book or box, follows traditional forms. I use the standard conforms of fanfold or stitched albums, as well as boxes with sections or drawers—but they become unique with the ink-painted papers that cover or fill them.
While I am eager to explore alternative papers, I only use archival inks, glues and finishes to create pieces that will maintain their beauty.
As far as how my works can be used, it is always my intent that my constructions be a starting point for their new owner. Whether a box becomes a special receptacle for personal treasures, or a book becomes an album for wonderful photos or new artworks, I always hope my pieces will be used, not just displayed. I’m always a little dismayed when someone “compliments” me by saying the book or box is too pretty to be used!
ABI: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
JFM: Certainly, I intend to continue my own work exploring new constructions in paper and other materials. But I would also do more teaching. I’ve taught classes and workshops in many arts to every age and ability level. I would especially like to work with groups, who could use some of the book-making techniques to go forward, not only with that art, but to let it be a foundation for her or his writing or other arts.
I believe it is not only wonderful to share my love of creating beauty, but even more joyful to share the techniques I’ve learned that anyone can use to create their own art.