I needed to wrap some awkward high-country gear, snowshoes. I knew I would have to neutralize their various edges and somewhat-sharp parts. So I wrapped them first in bubble wrap. Then I began apply layers of wrapping-paper scraps. Each piece of paper, long or square was given folded edges, as in creating band wraps. The folding ads dimension and and hint of finish to the scrap. Hot glue was my binding medium. I applied the large, and longer pieces first, adding rectangles and skinny bands later. When enough pieces are applied the wrap has stability you do not expect when you apply the first, ungainly pieces.
The skeleton is made of cast paper pieces that are used to protect the corners or edges of furniture being shipped. I discovered them in the alley a fews days before I made this wrap. As soon as I saw them I imagined what they could do: easy to cut, easy to glue. Long, light, rigid and versatile.
I rested the somewhat squishy scrap wrap on my work bench. I studied it with a measuring tape, choosing a length for the long parts. I cut the verticals and lay them upon the wrap. I measured and cut short horizontals, one longer, one shorter, to make the vertical angle inward as the tower rises. Hot glue rapidly joined the four pieces. Once I had a similar second side, I cut four more horizontals and assembled the whole tower around the wrapped gift.
Ribbons on the verticals brought the gift-wrap feeling to the cast-board verticals. But the top seemed incomplete. So I glued pine cones to pine twigs, to make four finials to complete the tower’s architecture. Since the gift had to be carried over the river and through the woods, I attached the pine-cone assemblies using using velcro patches.
I was impressed by the sturdiness of the final piece. And the contrast between the exoskeleton’s linear form and the brecciated patches of the scrap wrap was satisfying.
It all began with a box and the black paper. The gold pyramids had arrived a few months earlier. The contain pyramidal tea bags. The gold foil was on the inside of these beautiful little boxes. They had no glue, just folds and inserts, so I could unfold and refold them, revealing the foil. I know that ribbon would bring this wrap nearly to completion. I picked a fat one with gold edges. Next I added a thick plastic cap from some cosmetic product, an item that I had saved for a long time.
The wrap looked better standing rather than lying down. But it would not stand up on its own. So added feet. Its label was a stick-on file label.
Wrap art contributor Carmen Zimmer submitted this imaginative wrap. With an odd shaped gift, the flexibility of tissue was the choice for a base wrap. She used the contrast of color for graphic punch.
But the material of the moment was chenille (pipe cleaner) stems that form the animal’s fur. To place them she wisely avoided my usual hot-glue technique and instead included a layer of styrofoam underneath the magenta tissue. Then it was a simple snip and poke to place each one.
Corks made legs. And she happened to have eyes left over from some toy to complete this curious creature.
While cleaning the kitchen one day, I consolidated an excess of plastic knives, spoons and forks. The beauty of multiples forced me to save them in plastic bags. The knife bag went into my wrap warehouse.
On Christmas day my son was attending to his last-minute wraps, and I volunteered to wrap one of his smallest presents.
I gave it a white-paper wrap and then began gluing plastic knives onto the box. I looked upon them as lines or strokes, and began creating a constructivist composition of angles. I had planned, and still do plan, to glue on a lot more of them. But we ran out of time and so this was my wrap. The dense-pack knife wrap awaits some future opportunity. In the meantime, the relatively sparse application of knives works quite well, and perhaps better honors its derivation in Russian artists.
The wrap began as I rummaged through my wrap paper drawer and discovered an old type catalog, “X-Height.” It’s tall large page size, each page with a grid of square type samples, offered a paper suitable for small boxes, and one that was rich in non-repeating graphic forms.
I wrapped the present. However, the end folds did not quite cover each other, so I reached into the ribbon box, and retrieved a wide orange ribbon. I like to use ribbon on the small sides of a wrap; it provides more color and a texture change, but it leaves the stage empty for sculptural play.
Next I glued on four wine-cork legs. Raising a wrap on legs has an amusing and quietly transforming effect on any gift. The resonance with tables and benches lifts the wrap away from the metaphor of storage or inventory and places it into the non-wrap realm of furnishings.
At this point I did not have to place anything on this table. The paper’s symbol-filled square were amply entertaining. But I was having fun, and began to play with the variety of wood and rock materials cluttering my studio. A pedestal of sample engineered bamboo felt good sitting on the type-sample wrap. I then tried numerous rocks and twigs until I finally settled on the flat gray “label” rock and its companion, a shiny black rock. I added the name of the recipient in white colored pencil, and glued all three pieces onto the table wrap.
I have already posted the two separate wraps you see in this image (December 25 and 30, 2009). When these two wraps went under the tree, I suddenly saw that they were meant for each other. So, without the need for any additional fastening technologies, they rested one atop the other until Christmas morning, when they went their separate ways.
It is perhaps not so surprising that they would go together, a head and some legs. But I was pleasantly surprised at this amusing synergy arising from this year’s theme of animal wraps.
Things got a little busy on the afternoon of the 24th. I had to return to roots of wrap art: speedy work with just enough play to keep it lively. I wrapped this box with fragments from the recycle closet.
Then I remembered that in my box of juice and milk caps were some big, shiny caps from spray deodorants. I had saved them thinking they could make excellent legs for wrapped presents, short stubby legs like those one finds on couches, sideboards and other load-bearing furniture. I put two blobs on each cap, turn the cap upside down and place it on the wrap. The hot glue is still fluid. It slides down the sides of the cap and flows onto the wrap. You have to put the package aside and let the glue cool down; the cap insulates the glue so it takes a few minutes.
The leg/caps are made of a shiny, slightly mettalic plastic, and quickly loose any sense of their source as they join in this new context.
Why is the bow on the side? And a fold-end side too? At first I tested it on top of the package. It looked ok. But when I put it on the end, it had more the feel of a formal bowtie, on the shirt of the red paper. An alternate reading, in response to the shirt legs, is that the bow is either a head or tail of this strange creature.
I’ve been thinking about animal wraps since last year, when I made a robot wrap with popsicle stick legs and arms. So this is my first of the season. The legs, neck, horns and tail are made with a very thick packing foam that I found in my dumpster last fall. It is .5″ thick, and thus is capable of bearing an impressive weight when made into legs. It is also very easy to cut.
I am using hot glue, which is almost essential for sculptural wraps. The head is a small wrapped box itself, which could contain a second gift.