The macerated paper or papier maché is a dough-based paper to shreds or powder, cooked / macerated in water and then pounded / crushed and bound by an adhesive to reach the consistency of modeling clay. The resulting object will be done air-dried or cooked in the oven at low temperatures. The paper can be added to other materials such as plaster, fine sawdust, cloth etc.. such material is therefore different from cartapesta: a card superimposed layers bound together by glue pressed in a mold, although the two techniques are often present in the same artifact and classified under the generic term of papier-mâché.
The papier-mâché is an ancient technique, we know manufactures paper fibers or similar dating to the third century. A.D. – The death masks of the Fayum – often linked to popular art, the ephemeral or preparatory sketches for low cost and easy perishability, but not only. In fact, this technique is not only linked to the carnival and cribs. Papier-mâché artifacts are present in many churches in the form of statues and bas-reliefs, such as papier-mâché are the votive statues of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie near Mantua or the Golden Angel by Giuseppe Sammartino in the Charterhouse of San Martino in Naples. From the fifteenth century there are different artists, Ghiberti, Donatello, which in Italy using this technique.
Antonella Zaggia: “For me, this technique had always been linked to my puppet theater. Of course, from statues to the puppet heads the transition is natural, is part of the tradition. A little ‘more daring is the jump to the jewel in the paper. Paper and jewel (or bijou), seems like an oxymoron: poor, ephemeral and perishable idrosensibile the first; valuable, long-lasting and durable – within – the second. In fact, we should not exaggerate the delicacy of paper soaked, as it is also hard and durable material. It was, however, to return to goldsmith’s art, which I have practiced as a young woman, according to a less committed and dedicated to the ephemeral, with a continuous translation of alternative materials to those classics: from metal, gold and silver the paper, precious stones to the glass beads, the thousand trifles that you can pick strolling through the streets and fields.“