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Painting With Paper: In The Studio of Guitta Corey

artist spotlight guitta corey

Anchorage, Alaska, artist Guitta Corey works in a technique called chigiri-e using torn washi paper to create images that give the illusion of painting.

If that sentence was a bit confusing, worry not! Here are some terms to start us off with:

  • Washi comes from wa meaning 'Japanese' and shi meaning 'paper'. The word is used to describe paper that uses local fiber, processed by hand and made in the traditional Japanese manner. So washi = Japanese paper.
  • Chigiri-e is a Japanese collage technique using torn washi paper to create images that give the illusion of painting. Handmade paper is essential for the creation of chigiri-e images. So chigiri-e = collage with Japanese paper.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's see what it's all about!

Before she began exploring collage work, Guitta Corey earned a degree in Printmaking from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and worked as a print maker at her studio in Anchorage. While working as a printmaker, Guitta developed an affinity for fine papers and began collecting washi and other decorative papers. As an avid collector of papers, Guitta started creating her torn paper collages over 20 years ago and has refined her craft into the ethereal landscapes we see today.

About her work, Guitta says "The fantastic qualities of the papers suggest natural environments. They inspire me to use the colors and textures inherent in the paper to depict the landscapes I see around me." 

Guitta uses the chigiri-e collage method to create a painting-like image. She blends the papers like an artist might blend colors of paint, and from a distance, the viewer may even believe they are looking at a painting. As they approach the piece, they can start to appreciate the beautiful papers and varying textures that went into its creation.

"Like the paintings of the Impressionists, these collages are not about lines, but rather dissolve into bits of color and texture when viewed up close...Embedded flecks of gold and silver leaf may glint like light on the water’s surface. From any distance the papers fool the eye and become a cohesive image." -Guitta Corey

Here Guitta shows us her Anchorage studio where she stores her many flat files of papers that she uses to create collages.

In addition to her collages, Guitta also uses papers to create decorative finishes on glass plates. Often Guitta will incorporate accents such as stamps to add visual interest and unique touches. Each plate is an original work of art as there are no two plates that are alike.

Using a similar technique to her collages, she adheres the torn papers to the back of a glass plate then seals them so they are usable and food-safe. Here Guitta shows us her process of creating the plates.

When framing Guitta's work, simple designs go a long way to highlight the textures and subtleties found in her work. Guitta uses high quality paper to produce prints and the rough deckled edge of the paper gives the effect of an original piece.

In this piece, "A Sense of Place," that we recently framed, the print was "floated" on top of the green matboard. This framing technique leaves the edge of the paper visible instead of concealed underneath the matboard and gives the effect that the print is floating.

This framed piece is available now at the gallery along with a variety of Guitta's limited edition prints and glass plates. Guitta produces small editions of prints (typically no more than 50, sometimes only 10) and each glass plate is totally unique.

As always, thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any questions about Guitta's work. We hope you enjoy Guitta's serene landscapes and peaceful scenes as much as we do!

Artfully yours, 

Maria at Scanlon's


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