Break started two weeks ago, so I finally had some time to work on the Lion Brothers Project again. Last time, I finished attaching gauze to the frame I built from scratch and also paper mache’d about half of it. This time, I finished pasting the first layer of paper mache and got about half done with the second layer.
For the first layer, I used a brown grass paper instead of the typical white rice paper. My friend recommended this type of paper to me several years ago and I’ve found it to be a bit stronger than some of the white calligraphy papers I’ve used. When both grass paper and rice paper are combined, they become a very strong and crisp surface to paint on. By the way, I don’t think rice paper is actually made from rice. It’s made from rice straw and other fibrous remnants from other plants like mulberry. It makes me wonder what combinations of fibers make the strongest paper. I’ve heard my parents tell me multiple times that Xuan paper is the best stuff for calligraphy, but I wonder if there’s better stuff for papering lion heads.
Only about half of the second layer is done so far. I used white calligraphy paper instead of grass paper to keep track of the number of layers pasted. That means the next layer will be grass paper again. One thing that I’d do differently next time is to double up on the grass paper for the first layer, since remoistening it with starch to attach the second layer made everything very wrinkly.
I’m planning to do a total of 4 layers of paper on the outside and 1 layer on the inside, for a total of 5 layers of paper with one layer of gauze. Should make a nice and beefy frame to paint on!
On a side note, I’ve been wondering about doing cloth mache for the other frame that I’ve repaired. I’ve read online that cloth mache is much stronger than paper mache. What if I did a base layer of cloth mache then finished it off with one layer of paper mache? So many ideas!
Anyway, school is starting again in a few days so I’ll have to continue papering the lion during winter break. Until then!