Week 3: a poetics of water

water draining (2)

It’s always exciting when you have new batch of pulp in the vat ready to make paper. This week I recorded the sound of the mould coming out of the vat. The first strong vibrations are of the water draining quickly as the pulp forms on the mould. Then the successive drips as less water falls back into the vat until it finally stops dripping and the pulp is a consistent sheet (sheet formation).

It is a meditative exercise, a repetition of actions and sounds which is intensely calming. Water, rhythm, action. The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote an entire book about water ~ Water and Dreams: An essay on the imagination of matter. In it he talks about L’eau (water) as a “being with body, soul and voice.” He continues; “A poetics of water, despite the variety of ways in which it is presented to our eyes, is bound to have unity.”[1]

Next week I will be recording more watery songs, making watermarks during the paper making process, exploring watery pulp in all its lustrous combinations. I have also started sewing words onto my banana paper. I like the connections between thread and paper, a link to my mother, grandmother and great aunt all of whom were great embroiderers and sewers. Paper will be my substrate and narrative.



[1] Gaston Bachelard, Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter (Dallas: Pegasus Foundation, 1983), 15.


2 thoughts on “Week 3: a poetics of water

  1. Hi Heather, your work is so inspiring. Your words are really resonating with me too. I’m definitely going to look up Bachelard’s essay on the Imagination of Matter! I heard an incredible talk a couple of months ago by the artist Jaques Kauffman, and he spoke about the ‘dream of the material’, I love this idea about the imagination of matter. Thanks so much for sharing! xClaire


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