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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Jacki Parry at Glasgow Print Studio

Jacki Parry: Resonance
Glasgow Print Studio
Trongate 103, Glasgow
0141 552 0704
Until March 4

Inside Jacki Parry's studio
After I left Jacki Parry’s eyrie-like Paper Workshop studio in Glasgow’s Gallowgate last week, it occurred to me that, for the first time in a 25-year-long career in journalism, I hadn’t used paper to record the journalist’s stock-in-trade process of looking and listening.

As Parry talked about her work and showed me examples of her work, which was being bubble-wrapped in preparation for dispatch to her latest exhibition at Glasgow Print Studio (GPS), I got out my newly upgraded iPhone4, opened up the Notes app and started tapping in information and quotes. I also took photographs as a form of note-taking. All on the trusty iPhone4.

When I got home, I emailed the notes to myself to use in the writing of this article about Parry’s work, which is all about the pleasure and possibilities of paper and paper making, an art form which she has made all her own.
It seems ironic, that as the world undergoes a complete virtual shift towards a paperless planet, Parry is still passionate about pursuing the inherent possibilities of paper.

Jacki Parry loves paper, and it has been a love affair which has been more than 40 years in the making. 
For most of that time, Parry’s investigations have been based on developing ideas in paper using it variously as an independent medium, and in combination with other materials, often in sculptural form. 

Be it creating small ‘books’ out of ancient plants such as rush and papyrus, or making small luminous, plumped up sculptural forms out of hand made, hand-coloured paper or fashioning towering paper-thin Towers of Babel, Parry brings a quietly contemplative hand and head to the table. 

Works such as the beautiful deep blue Small Ocean, in cast handmade paper, have an almost watercolour feel to them and are surprisingly robust when you touch them.

Parry is not averse to using digital mediums in her work. She has made a series of prints created by what she calls ‘memory weaving’. This technique sees her using computer paper or photocopies of old newspapers, some of which her mother, suffering from dementia, had hand written aide-mémoires over the newsprint. These bits of paper are then shredded and she weaves the strips together to make a ‘drawing’.

It is fitting that Parry’s solo exhibition, Resonance, marks the opening of GPS’s 40th year because, as a student at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in the early 1970s, she was a founding member of the studio in its first home of St Vincent Crescent.

Parry was born in Australia and has lived in Scotland since 1970. She ‘discovered’ etching and became interested in paper as a medium while a printmaking student under Philip Reeves at GSA in 1971 and has passionately pursued an active interest in all aspects of papermaking ever since. 

She has studied with the Master American papermaker Laurence Barker at his workshop in Barcelona and also with the renowned Japanese papermaker, Tadao Endō of Shiroishi City, in the north of the country.

From 1991-2001, Parry was a senior lecturer and Head of Printmaking at GSA. In 1985, she established The Paper Workshop, in the east end of Glasgow, where she continues to work full time since retiring from teaching.

During the last four decades, at the same time as she explored a breadth of approaches and applications, her most intense interest has been in the structural aspects of the pulp itself and with the development of a paper membrane, which is both strong and translucent. 

Using her own paper as a vehicle for creating sculptural work, Parry presents at GPS, a selection of innovative sculptural paperworks, alongside a variety of intaglio prints and a new screen-print produced with GPS’s master screenprinter Scott Campbell.

Often, after visiting an artist in their studio, I am struck by the utter devotion which they have to their art. Most artists are not naturals at promoting their work and often work away in conditions which would have many people half their age scurrying to workplace health and safety officers.

Artists like Jacki Parry do what they do and make what they make because it’s like eating and breathing.
Her work reflects this. Go see it. It is not virtual. It is real. You may even be able to touch it.

Small Ocean, cast handmade paper, by Jacki Parry, 2011

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