Cast Flax Paper with Jacqueline Mallegni


Cast Flax Planters and pebbles by Hilary Lorenz

“The Making of a Rock Garden”  is a cast paper and linocut installation that I am creating for the exhibition Call & Response curated by Gabriel de Guzman at Wave Hill – a public garden and cultural center in Riverdale, NY. The exhibition opens September 10 and runs through December 3, 2017. Call & Response celebrates the 10th anniversary of Wave Hill’s Sunroom Project Space.

In preparation for this artwork I have been experimenting with casting paper pulp. Part of the experiment is finding the right aesthetic for my idea, the other is learning technical skills. Today, I got to spend the day with the amazing Jacqueline Mallegni of Paper Rain Studio in Abiquiu, NM.  Jacqueline makes minimalist sculpture and custom lighting all from natural materials.  Today she is teaching me how to make shaped flax paper. Jacqueline teaches classes in her studio as well as  at the Espanola Fiber Arts Center in NM;  Palo Alto Art Center;  Gospel Flat Farm Gallery  and Commonweal both in Bolinas, CA and the O’Hanlon Art Center Mill Valley, CA. You can find details on these links or her website.

The first component of my art installation is the paper planters.  I would like them translucent, they must resemble real planters while respecting and taking advantage of the material properties. I also need to make 50 in a reasonable amount of time.

I will share with you some of the steps I learned today from Jacqueline.


Combing and layering the flax onto screen


The pressed and glued flax ready for forming


Applying and forming the flax sheet around the planter


Smoothing out flax sheet around the form


Creating the creases on the form


Letting the forms dry in the sun  – the one to the right is painted with indigo


The flax forms drying under the hot New Mexico sun.


After drying the detail of the top lip of the finished planter. I experimented with a soft frayed edge and a hard edge.


Tiny flax wrapped pebbles


Indigo painted bleached flax in a creased and pleated form


Close up on edges of planters


One days work, four different forms plus pebbles. A combination of natural flax, bleached flax and silk. Thank you to Jacqueline Mallegni at Paper Rain Studio

I love learning new things and today was an exceptional day. I am excited to see how these planters evolve and how they will influence the making of the linocut plants that will tumble out of them.