Pickens County

Combed Paste Paper Paintings

This most unusual art work began with Melba finding a broken powder rock, just a little bowl with powder inside. She mixed acrylic medium with the powder and began to experiment. The mixture was too coarse to move easily with a paint brush, so she tried using a cardboard comb. It worked! And, a new creation was born.

Now, Melba’s art work begins with the collection of powder rocks. They are then broken open, and the powder is removed. It is mixed with an acrylic medium. Once the paint is prepared, the composition must be created quickly using the cardboard comb, or the paint will begin drying.

Melba has worked with combed paste paper for about ten years, but she has done much study in art prior to that. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mississippi University for Women and a Master of Fine Arts from University of Alabama. She has also taken courses at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Savannah College of Art and Design. Other than the combed paste paper technique, Melba has done drawings, acrylic painting, and photography.

Melba says, “The combination of a traditional technique (the combed paste paper) with a natural pigment and a modern acrylic medium is most enjoyable and rewarding.”

Her work is presently available only at Black Belt Treasures.