Pink Paper by Mark Pawson
In 2003 I bought a big roll of Fluorescent pink paper from the old Shepherds Bush
BBC Car Park car boot sale, for 50p or a pound, cheap, when I got back home I cut a long
strip of the paper and covered my bedroom door with it - but it was just too bright,
eye-searingly bright, especially next to the deep marine blue walls of the hallway. I
wanted an intense splash of colour on thedoor/in the hallway, but needed to make it
less harsh, so took the paper down off the door and crumpled it up, then flattened it
out again, this made it slightly more interesting - messy and bumpy, but I wanted to
alter it more, so carefully repeated the crumpling and flattening process another 3
times, until white veins appeared and a marbled texture developed, satisfied that this
process had softened the intensity of the Flourescent pink paper, I taped it back onto
the bedroom door.
Soon afterwards I thought about making a book using this material and technique,
withrepeated crumplings and flattenings the paper changed slightly each time, getting
softer physically and visually, developing a complex network of lines and white veins,
and feeling more like fabric. After 20 crumplings it didn't seem to change any more.
Starting with a pristine flat sheet of pink paper and lining up 18 progressively more
crumpled pages alongside it, the differences between each sheet were very slight, but
by omitting every other sheet, the changes and development were emphasised, so this
sequence dictated the number of pages in the book:- 0,2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18 crumplings.
I measured the amount of paper left on the roll, and worked out the most efficient
way to use it with minimum wastage. I wanted a square all pink book, without the white
reverse side of the paper showing, and arrived at a sheet size of 35 x 17 cm, which would
be folded in half, (french fold, although I didn't know it was called that at the time)
and then trimmed to 16 x 16 cm. I rolled the paper back on itself to get rid of the curl,
then cut everything down to 35 x 17 cm, counted the pages and found that I had enough for
Then I started screwing up the pages by hand, one by one into small tight balls
that fit in the palm of my hand, and then carefully, unfolding and flattening them out,
placing 50 pages to one side and repeating the process. At the start of the process the
paper felt quite hard - and my hands got sore.
Flatten, press, discard badly torn pages, mend small rips with scotch tape, fold
in half, press, collate, trim, sign, stab, sew, sell.
Signing and dating with pink ink was too subtle, so red was used. The fluoro
pink thread I found was too light on it's own - so I used red and pink thread twisted
The majority of the edition was made and dated in 2004, with a small final batch made
and dated in 2009
I also made a single 'inside out' version of the book.
The 'Fluorescent Pink Snot' postcard was made shortly afterwards, it's all
true, but my snot wasn't quite as bright as the ink used on the postcards!
The card is a separate peice of work, a spin off from the process of making the
book, not intentionally made to accompany it.
(I was aware of Jiri Kolar's 'crumplage' collage technique.)
(but was not yet aware of Bela Kolarova's work)
This text is an revised and corrected version of an e-mail sent to Maria White 7 March 2013.
and is still to be revised and corrected further... Mark Pawson. 21 September 2014