Elizabeth Adams-Marks, "Cornwall [re]Constructed"

Handmade paper construction by Elizabeth Adams-Marks
Handmade paper construction by Elizabeth Adams-Marks

Cornwall [re]Constructed is a solo exhibition by Elizabeth Adams-Marks. Adams-Marks channels her interests in maps, rivers, soil and organic systems into assemblages of highly-textural, hand-made papers. Her current work is based on the history and landscape of Cornwall, UK, especially the remnants of the regions’ 19th century tin mines and china clay pits.

To tie in with her exhibition, Adams-Marks will be teaching a Papermaking with Plant Fibers workshop at the Guild on Saturday, October 12, from 11am to 4pm. In this workshop, students will learn how to transform their garden plants (such as hostas and daylilies) into handmade sheets of paper. These beautiful papers can be used for a wide variety of arts and crafts. All supplies will be provided. This workshop costs $45 for a Guild member, $55 for a non-member, with a $25 materials fee. Please click here to register.

Artists' Statement

This newest series of landscapes [re]constructs divergent tangents of historical meaning and myth, abstracting place over time and space, by building up layers of handmade paper subjected to natural elements that rust, tint, dye, emboss, and inform the marks left behind.

For many summers, my husband, Peter, and I have returned to his birthplace – Cornwall, the inspiration for my paintings and handmade paper constructions. Located on the farthest western tip of the United Kingdom, Cornwall holds two coastlines (the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean) with a 258-mile coastal footpath, and is divided from England by the River Tamar. Cornwall is a land of one-lane hedgerows blanketed in wildflowers; mythical piskies; wild ponies and herds of sheep wandering the moors; tidal pools and estuaries; Neolithic stone circles; and Iron Age villages.

From the time of the early Bronze Age, Cornishmen have mined for copper, silver and tin down into the earth … and out under the sea. Since kaolin, used for porcelain and later paper, was first discovered in Cornwall in the mid-16th century, the china clay industry pitted the moors and altered the horizon with their white mica waste tips standing proud like gleaming pyramids on the uplands.

While Industrial Age tin mines are now slowly rusting into the granite landscape and china clay tips have all but disappeared, replaced by modern mica plateaus, the people of Cornwall are as strong and resilient as their ancestors. Working fishing villages hold dear to their culture while embracing 21st century tourism. Celtic crosses and ancient stones still stand watch along rocky cliff paths and yellow gorse lined moorland trails. Yet deep in the woodlands, where moss covered stones lead to pre-Christian wells, and hillsides of blue bells are walled by mountainous rhododendrons, one only need to quiet one's heart and listen —  for the flutter of wings, the gurgle of springs, and the Spirit of God all around.

About the Artist: 

  • Commerical Art Program, 1974–1976, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, St. Louis, MO
  • BFA in Art & Design, 2006, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
  • BS in K-12 Art Education, 2006, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville,IL
  • MSED in Secondary Education/Art, 2010, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville,IL
  • MAED with an Emphasis in Character Education, 2013, Lindenwood University, St. Louis, MO

Elizabeth began her art career in the 1970's as a freelance illustrator for educational publishers, magazines, and ad agencies. While attending SIUE twenty-five years later, she received an Undergraduate Research Academy Fellowship to research handmade paper processed from local crop fiber. In 2005, she presented a boxed set of handmade books of her research, "Handmade Paper from the Crops of Madison County," to the education library of Eden Project in Cornwall, UK; while a companion sculptural book was juried into the permanent collection of the Crane Museum of Papermaking in Dalton, Massachusetts. After a trip to Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006 with SIUE art students and her mentor, Laura Strand, Professor of Textiles at SIUE, her article about her papermaking experience at "The "Smaller" Papel Oaxaca" in Mexico was published by the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) in the fall of the same year. In the summer of 2007, Adams-Marks had the pleasure of presenting her research in papermaking from crop fibers at the IAPMA's 19th Congress in Oxford, England.

Elizabeth currently teaches art at Oakville Middle School in the Mehlville School District in St. Louis County through an interdisciplinary Art-for-Life philosophy of education. Inspired by Cleveland artist, Seth Chwast, who is autistic, her student's pastel animal paintings were exhibited along Seth's work at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in 2008. In the spring of 2009, her lesson plan "Abstract Expressionist Landscapes," was featured in the St. Louis Art Museum's E-Newsletter for Art Educatiors. Also in 2009, her student's group project focusing on papermaking from corn fiber received second place in the "Power of Plants" competition at the Missouri Botanical Gardens; and she presented her award-winning lesson plan, "From Seed to Final Stitch," at the National Art Education Association Convention in Minneapolis. In 2012, Elizabeth, in collaboration with three other Mehlville School District middle school art teachers, was awarded the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers Grant for "Masks: Teaching Character Education in the Face of Cultural Diversity." Meanwhile, Adams-Marks has taught adult papermaking-from-plants workshops at Missouri Botanical Gardens and Eugene Field House in St. Louis, as well as Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL.

Jacoby Art Center, Alton ILIntertwined (2013), Small Works (2008) and Delicate Nature (2006).

Edwardsville Art Center, Edwardsville IL Women's Marks (2013), Innovations in Textiles (2011)
St. Louis Artists' Guild, Clayton MO Cornwall [re]Constructed (solo show, 2013) and Horizons (2008)
The Centre, Rolla MO Westward Bound (2012)
Art St. Louis, St. Louis MO Textures (2012)
Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles MO In, On, and Of Paper (2010) and Books, Books, Books (2009)
Main Street Art Gallery, Edwardsville IL Tossed and Found (2010), Elements (2010) and Texture (2008)
Eugene Field House, St. Louis MO Papercraft (2009)
Craft Alliance, Clayton MO Emerging Artists (2006)

Friday, August 23, 2013 - 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Exhibition Dates: 
Friday, August 23, 2013 - Sunday, October 20, 2013
Free and Open to the Public