Environmental Sculptures on Display – South Gippsland Sentinel-Times

Meg Viney pours plant material into her mold and plate to create paper. A08_1622

Meg Viney holds sheets of natural vegetable paper that she has made. A07_1622

WOOREEN artist Meg Viney is ingenious in using a range of mediums to create her “environmental sculptures”.

“I constantly collect environmental objects, so I tend not to buy from art stores,” Meg said.

Many of her sculptures incorporate natural plant paper which she makes from scratch using locally sourced plants.

For example, she picks pampas grass to create a beautiful pale green paper.

Meg demonstrated her papermaking technique for the Sentinel-Times, using a mold and a bridge she built, consisting of a wooden frame and fly wire.

Red Hot Poker was the plant of choice, with the paper being made from the grass-like foliage rather than the spectacular flower from which the plant’s name is derived.

Meg mixed the already cut and cooked plant fibers, pouring the resulting dark red liquid into her mold and shell.

She squeezed out the excess liquid with a rag, transferring the newly created wet sheet of paper to newspaper to dry.

Meg described how she developed her artwork “papaveraceae”, the Latin name for the poppy family, and the materials she used.

The poppy sculpture rests on a cumbungi paper base produced from cumbungi (river reed) that she harvested from streams.

During the papermaking process, before the newly created cumbungi leaf dried, Meg incorporated tiny bits of grass collected on her walks with the dog Wally.

This addition to the cumbungi paper added texture to the base of the poppy piece, giving it visual flair.

Air-dried clay was used to create the poppy head, eliminating the need for firing.

Lettuce paper surrounds the poppy head, simply made by sun-drying lettuce leaves.

Translucent silk dyes were used to paint the work, with the poppy stems created from yarn tightly wrapped by hand in yarn.

The artwork took about a month to complete and, like Meg’s other environmental sculptures, is sealed in a clear case that protects it from damage.

Despite the painstaking nature of the creative processes involved, she willingly sells her environmental sculptures, believing this encourages her to move on and keep creating.