We recently printed our 6 millionth (!) newspaper but we’re still constantly being surprised by new and imaginative uses for newsprint. Our Paper of the Month for September is a perfect example: Medea/Worn is a script for an original play printed in the style of a 1950s dress pattern. It’s a beautiful piece of work, printed as two separate digital tabloids that are folded together. The paper was designed by writer and illustrator Emily Juniper, who was just nominated for Best New Playwright in the Off West End awards. We asked Emily to tell us more about project:
Medea/Worn is a limited edition, illustrated script, designed to look and feel like a 1950s dress pattern. I explored the narrative of Medea’s bloody decision by giving voice to her wedding gown. I wanted to give voice to her wedding gown, as it turned from innocent dress to murder weapon. I wanted this transition to act as a vehicle for Medea to explore her justification and anguish as she considers the consequences of her horrific notion, that she must slay her own children in order to punish Jason completely for his treachery.
I hand-made pocket-gusset envelopes, risograph printed by Ditto Press, which you must tear open to discover the folded sheets of newsprint within. The quality of paper was so important to me, and the Newspaper Club allowed me to produce pages that really look and feel like the real thing.
I’m currently studying for an MA in Illustration and Authorial Practice at Falmouth University. When I was commissioned by The Faction Theatre Company to write a version of Medea, I felt it was a great project to combine with my exploration of illustration.
I wanted to create a space for the play text that would utilise the performative quality of paper and also exploit the intimate encounter of the book as an object.
As the new character in Medea was going to be her gown, I chose to set my poetic text against the schematic drawings of a dress pattern. I loved the tension between the dense words and economical drawings.
I sourced vintage patterns and created a grid for my words. As Medea begins to lose her mind, the formal structures of the pattern disintegrate and the final page, when she has made the decision to kill her children, is blank.
My hope is that the mathematical lines and shapes provide the same canvas for the imagination as is employed when unpicking metaphors or similes in prose. Which is why this seemingly disparate connection between poetry and schematic drawings can be made. The drawn lines in the pattern are compared to the folds and falling of fabric, but one is ink on a page and one is a three dimensional object. The conjuring act involved in this might be compared to the way Shakespeare describes winter branches as Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. The writer asks the reader to perform an act of poetic creation. This is what an illustrator is doing with ink lines on the page. It is not the same thing as the object, yet it invokes it.
Congratulations Emily, and thank you for sharing your brilliant project with us!
About Paper of the Month
Every month, we give a £100 Newspaper Club voucher to one paper shared in The Newsagent. If you’ve printed a paper with us, share your paper (through the settings in your account) for a chance to win.