Out of the box

Cut paper artwork is much more interesting if you can get up close to it. Boxing it in with glass is seldom the best solution. Paper cuts made of heavy stock can stand upright as sculptures, but some of my current work made of Tyvek is too flimsy to stand on its own. The advantage of Tyvek over paper is that it is very durable. As long as the piece hangs well (without too many cutout areas), there’s no reason it needs to be under glass.

I’m now experimenting with scrolls. Here (below) is a recent one, along with close up details of Tyvek stained with India ink and Tyvek sprayed with a metallic acrylic paint. Scrolls of Tyvek can be rolled and stored or shipped without harming the artwork since Tyvek, unlike paper, has no grain and resists wrinkling.

Lillian Trettin_Kiln Queen

The Kiln Queen


The pair of Brew paper cuts, exhibited last March in Alexandria Virginia, now hang in the 2016 Spoleto juried art exhibit at the Waterfront City Gallery in Charleston (May- June). Because the City Gallery has lots of natural lighting, this shot (below) demonstrates the typical problem of glare when light from a nearby window hits a work under glass.

Lillian Trettin_Malevolent and Benevolent Brew

Malevolent and Benevolent Brew

The picture also shows one of my favorite works in the exhibit, a white glove painstakingly unstitched and repurposed into an organic fiber form by Camela Guevara.   Another favorite is this pair of sculptures made out of silverware by Matt Wilson. I love the subtle surprise of the serrated knife reimagined as the soft downy under feathers of a bird.


Speaking of surprises, here’s a gallery overview of my favorite exhibit of the 2016 Spoleto Festival, tucked away in a warehouse: “The Talking Cure” by Melissa Sterns. You can read about it and see more pictures at   http://reduxstudios.org/exhibits/the-talking-cure/

The story for each of these sculptures is available to hear by accessing a QR code located next to the artwork using  a smart phone or ipad.

Talking Cure

The Talking Cure

About Lillian-Trettin

I grew up in the Appalachian "Bible Belt" of East Tennessee in the southern United States, listening to banjo music and gospel lyrics as well as the Beatles. As a kid, I was curious about religious rituals like speaking in tongues and snake handling but resistant to the fundamentalist thinking they involved. Flannery O'Connor's tales of religious fanatics, con men, bigots, and the spiritually bereft or ambivalent resonate for me. Despite having traveled widely and lived in other places, I am (as so many Southerners claim to be) permanently "South haunted." I returned to making art full time in 2011, following a career as a teacher, researcher, and consultant and after raising two sons. I’m convinced the delay enriched rather than impeded my growth as an artist.
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