Ancient Goddesses and Festive Birds: The Papier-mâché of Joanne Ivey

When I was a girl, my favorite projects in art class were papier-mâché. I loved using soggy strips of newspaper to create new forms. Once the papier- mâché dried, it was so much fun to add bright colors with paint. I remember making a sun and a puppet and a cake with chocolate frosting.

But I’ve never seen papier-mâché with such whimsy and grace as the work of my new artist friend, Joanne Ivey. After Joanne showed her creations to my art group, I asked her to share them with Friend for the Ride.

Here are three female figures Joanne created, all to be featured in her upcoming art show, Boxes and Birds, in Hillsborough this month.

Joanne writes: The female figures in the show are modeled after idols and goddesses from ancient Mediterranean cultures. I have long been inspired by these simple, sometime crude, forms that were made during a time when maybe women were more well respected and revered.

Over centuries the paint on the original pieces has faded or been erased. In making them anew, I’ve tried to give them some attitude and verve. I’ve tried to make the figures in a way that I want to see them.

The show will also include Joanne’s festive birds. Love these creatures! They’ve got attitude and verve too.



I asked Joanne to tell us a bit about her life as an artist:

From an early age I have been committed to making and surrounding myself with art. I studied painting for many years, but over 20 years ago I began to experiment with papier mâché.  It seemed to offer all of the possibilities that I was looking for to create the work I envisioned.

The versatility and plasticity of the medium were the initial appeal, but now I think that environmental considerations are important as well. Making the papier mâché sculpture offers another way of thinking and working before applying the paint, so it’s the best of both worlds.

Boxes and Birds opens Friday, October 26, from six PM to nine PM at the Skylight Gallery in Hillsborough, North Carolina.  The show features Joanne Ivey’s Painted Papier-mâché Sculpture and Assemblages by Julia Adams Scheurich.

The Skylight Gallery is located above Antonia’s Restaurant in downtown Hillsborough at the corner of N. Churton and King St.

You can read more about The Skylight Gallery here.