I always thought that Rice paper was made from rice but no – it’s made from the bark fibres of the Mulberry bush.
And I don’t know what its relation is to the paper that’s wrapped around your Vietnamese Spring roll but what I can tell you is that it is a lovely surface to paint on (once you’ve become accustomed to its Oriental idiosyncrasies).
Why do I mention this? Because I’ve been using it for a while now and I can’t help wondering if I should try tasting a bit. I read on the internet that “using rice paper as an alternative to bread is a great way to manage your carbohydrate intake and you can tick a lot of nutritional boxes while you’re at it…”
But no, this rice paper is a traditional paper which comes from China and has been used for centuries for calligraphy, artwork and architecture. It is as white as alabaster, known for its strength and smooth surface, very delicate when wet but said to last for a thousand years (if you treat it right).
Now, I mentioned before that I have a solo exhibition opening at the Olivier Cornet Gallery this October. It will be your first chance to see this famous rice paper up close and I have to tell you that you could be in for a big surprise.
I’m preparing a lofty installation for the gallery space this time. My idea was to recreate a ‘forest experience’ in the gallery, using sixty-four lengths of rice paper. The photo above in my studio gives you some indication but you’ll have to come to the gallery to encounter the “paper forest” for yourself.
And I’ve also been working on a series of watercolour paintings of various aspects of the forest – the solitude, the changing seasons, the peace that one feels on a woodland walk contrasting with the danger and the devastation of forest fires…
It won’t be long now – if you’d like an invitation to the official opening, be sure to let me know.