'heatherelizawalker Oops! My burning/singeing technique nearly got out of hand - using a different paper which goes up like a firework!'
If you have seen my Instagram today you will have seen this post about Drawing 67 from the Drawing A Day blog - it’s true, different papers do catch fire at different rates!
Normally I would test a new paper ...
... in a safe place for its singeing capabilities before actually applying a flame to a finished drawing. For instance, I discovered that my favourite Japanese tissue, the (now discontinued) kozu shi simply disappears in a shower of sparks when a flame is held anywhere near it - quite a shock, and luckily I hadn’t done hours of drawing on it before I found out!
I don’t always know when I want to include scorching or singeing or burning in a work, so it makes sense to test a paper first to know what to expect. However, on the occasion of Drawing 67, I thought I had already used this paper and knew how it would react. It came from a notebook which looked the same as my last one, in which I had successfully burned and scorched without setting the house of fire (examples above). It turned out the manufacturers produce the same notebook covers with different papers inside from time to time.
I must be getting out of tune with my materials not to have noticed the difference … anyway, I extinguished the flames fast enough to save the drawing, and it worked out pretty well.
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland