welcome!

Whether you've reached this blog willingly or by force I'm happy to have you here.
ersi marina's workroom is always open to the public, even when I am not in. Sometimes I need to sleep.
And to paint.
And to play with my four cats.
My name is Ersi Marina and I live in Spain though I was born and grew up in Athens, Greece. I kept it all very Mediterranean.
This blog is a means to share my work and snippets of my life, as well as to be in contact with you all. I hope you'll enjoy your visit.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

paper bowls - how I make them

Here I am again, only two days after my previous post. Not feeling upset anymore about the un-meeting with the gallerist, since I vented my anger here the other day and I felt very supported by your comments. Thank you, my friends.

Today I'm here to show you a couple more of the paper bowls I made for the Art Market. I haven't made any new ones since then but I will, soon I hope. To me, they are small paper sculptures that may or may not be put to practical use.

strips of tissue and craft paper / broken twigs

I had to force myself to work with materials other than white but the results were rewarding. I enjoyed discovering how the different types of paper reacted to the pasting and how each one of them stretched or crumpled in a different way. The tissue paper here is white and very thin, so the warm earthy colour of the craft paper shows through.


I used a very easy, crafty technique to make my bowls. I simply glued multiple layers of paper strips on an inflated balloon. Once the paste is dry (it takes several hours to a day to dry completely) you simply burst the balloon and remove the shreds from the inside of the bowl. You can then continue working on it in any old way. In this case, I added a few twigs I picked up during one of my walks.


It's funny but the major difficulty while pasting the paper was to keep the balloon still. You need to place it bottom (round) side up and find a way to avoid it moving. I stack the lower side into a tightly-fitting jar but still had trouble keeping it in place. As a result, this particular bowl came out rather tilted and I placed a pebble inside so it would stay upright.

The truth is that I like the tilted bowl much better, it comes through less like a utility object and more like a piece of sculpture -decorative as it may be. The pebble was my concession to the commercial side of the Art Market.

strips of kozo paper / chiffon gossamer ribbon

Yet another non-white bowl. The strips of fabric are from an olive-coloured chiffon gossamer ribbon. I like its semi-transparency and the way it frays at the ends.


Kozo paper is a delight to work with, either pasting it or painting on it. I am running out of stock and need to buy some soon. I do have a large stock of silk sari ribbons, I bought them just because I liked them but had never quite found a use for them till now. Expect more paper and fabric bowls/sculptures from me in the near future!


Since this blog entry is dedicated to my paper bowls, I hope you won't mind if I include a couple of pictures of the white ones, that I already posted in my previous entry. Just so that they can be all together.

strips of Kozo paper / shreds of scrim



I'd like to be more specific about the kind of glue I used. Just plain acid-free PVA glue mixted with some water, about 50% of each. I applied it with a flat brush, about 2 inches wide, the kind that you can get at any paint shop.

strips of Kozo paper / shreds of scrim

So there is really no mystery to it. Paper bowls are easy to make though the process requires some patience. What makes them special are the decisions each one of us makes about the materials to use, the way we combine them, the additional work on the object once it's dried, etc. That's what can turn a nice crafty object into something more personal and -artistic?


As I mentioned in my previous entry, these bowls are quite sturdier than they look. They can hold small items like keys, jewellery, beads, pebbles, nuts, etc. Or they can stand alone, small pieces of sculpture on a tabletop or shelf. Of course, if anyone is bent on breaking them, they will.

Handle with care but I assure you that if they fall on the floor they won't break. They won't even dent.

12 comments:

  1. Lovely! (I used the same method when making a pinata with my neighbour's son and using wire to fasten the balloon to a steel rod helped)

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    1. Never thought of using a rod, thanks for the idea! Really pleased you like them, Dinah.

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  2. Lovely and delicate. I like the subdued colour scheme

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    1. Thanks so much, Jac! I like subdued colours too but maybe I should try making a bright, provocative yellow-and-pink bowl too? :-)

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  3. Wonderful pieces, I like the different structure. Greetings from Hamburg. J.

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    1. Thank you! I just visited your blog, your work is very interesting and beautiful. Greetings from Spain.

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  4. These are beautiful Ersi. So light and fragile-looking, like egg shells, and there are so many, many ways to take them, if you choose to. All the best for the market! xx

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Amanda, and thanks so much! I love how you see my bowls and I love being able to convey fragility. Markets are crazy places, apparently, but I'm trying to match their madness :))

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  5. My group at a Resource Centre made bowls like these inspired by Ines Seidel and we sent her a photo of those we had made. We worked over kitchen bowls and even small plant pots and used pressed leaves in the layers. If you have some Kozo fibre it can be gently pulled apart and when wet shaped over the bowl or in your case the balloon. Lovely, I like the green ribbon.

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    1. Ines Seidel and Ann Symes have been my main sources of inspiration as far as paper bowls go till now. I don't have Kozo fibres but I'll see if I can buy online. I'd love to experiment with them. Thanks for the tip, Jackie, and for the lovely comment.

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  6. These are truly beautiful, Ersi - I especially like the one with the bits of ribbon - and it was great to hear details about how you make them...so many possibilities, and such distinct personalities. As much as I love the colors of the ones you've shown us, I can also imagine the (cheeky?) yellow & (fuchsia?) pink one - maybe with a little orange thrown in too : ) Enjoy your explorations!

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    1. I may just have to try the yellow-pink-orange combination. It reminds me of India and that's a good thing, right? Delighted you like my bowls (concave sculptures to me), I am already investigating new forms and possibilities. Thank you!

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