Arts & Crafts Magazine

Paper Maché Home Decor - Natalie Wargin

By Ann Martin @allthingspaper
It isn't often that one thinks of paper maché as elegant, but the moment I saw Natalie Wargin's fine decorative pieces, that was the word that sprang to mind.
Paper Maché Faux Bois End Table
Natalie is a versatile artist who left her small graphic design firm in Chicago where she produced work for big-name clients to move to rural New York. There she creates watercolor illustrations and paper maché art pieces inspired by flora and fauna of the Hudson River Valley.
Paper Maché Decoupaged Bowl - Nest
Natalie's objets d'art and tables are a unique combination of paper maché, decoupage, and faux bois. Astonishing but true, the one-of-a-kind pieces are composed of the most ordinary materials... strips of newspaper, phone books, and used cardboard boxes.
Paper Maché Faux Bois Console
Paper Maché Faux Bois Console - Detail
Natalie told me she isn't sure how she became interested in paper maché, but she enjoys the slow, simple process of layering strips of newspaper dipped in white glue.  Experimentation was her main teacher, although she has a number of reference books and looked online for process information when first learning.
Paper Maché Decoupaged Hen
I asked Natalie if she upcycles worn wooden tables by adding paint and decorative techniques. Quite honestly, I was wowed by her answer:
The tables are built from scratch from tri-layered corrugated cardboard which is covered with a few layers of newspaper and white glue, then sanded, painted and decoupaged, and finally varnished. The faux bois legs and details are made by applying paper mâché to wire mesh. Then the faux bois is painted and varnished. The tables are functional. 
Paper Maché Faux Bois Table - Demilune
Sculptured containers are made of upcycled cardboard and paper, then painted before she applies original watercolor and gouache paintings.  The garden trug below has a faux bois paper clay handle.
Paper Maché Garden Trug
Each piece is finished with several coats of matte varnish which results in a very sturdy, yet lightweight and water resistant object.
Paper Maché Bowl with Decoupaged Illustrations
To see more of Natalie's work, visit her website and Etsy shop, as well as her beautiful blog.

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