I grew up calling it cardboard.
"Bring me that cardboard box!" someone would say.
That was until one of my students corrected me. I suggested she screen print onto 'cardboard'. She looked at the paper in my hand and said, "Actually, Mr. Carter, that's corrugated paper. Cardboard is just one of the layers- like a cereal box."
"Oh," I blinked.
"That's O.K. Most people make that mistake." Her Dad sold corrugated paper so she knew more on the subject than most teenage girls.
Greg Card paints on corrugated paper. I was surprised when he told me because Greg is big on 'permanence'... something corrugated is not known for. He stresses that an artist's work should outlive the artist- art should be archival. "The problem is air," he explained. "Corrugated breaks down when allowed to interact with air. Seal out the air and the temporal becomes permanent." Varnish is a good sealant.
Why paint on corrugated paper? Here are a few reasons Greg gave:
- the paper is abundantly available, and free
- the surface is interesting to work on, sometimes the printed side adds an element
- corrugated paper is both rigid and light
- painting on 'previously owned' corrugated paper is an artful way to recycle (I imagine a buyer's face as they look at the back of the newly purchased painting and discover they are holding a piece from a toilet box- which I am currently painting a series on)
Corrugated is from the Latin- corrugare- to wrinkle up. As a verb, it means to draw or bend into folds or alternate furrows and ridges (dictionary.com). Corrugated paper is composed of a 'wrinkled' layer of cardboard sandwiched between smooth layers. It is this hidden layer of ridges and valleys that provides strength.
My life is corrugated... a series of highs and lows, covered by a smooth veneer, but frayed, with worn spots in the corners. There is strength that comes from weathering a valley storm, and there is renewal that comes from a mountaintop.
Sometimes I think my faith is like cardboard- a thin, flat cereal box. What I want is corrugated faith: layered, dimensional, with places that go deep while reaching high. Corrugated faith is being wrinkled up with God.
Thanks to Greg, I have begun painting on corrugated paper. I rescued several pieces from a nearby dumpster. The surface is smooth, until I tear it... which I do. The strength should be revealed.