Work In Progress- Cella

An abstract paper mache sculpture in progress by MJ Seal that resembles a cross between a giant starfish and a peculiar fungus

Stranger than fiction-

“Cella “- Original sculpture by MJ Seal. Paper Ephemera, sack cloth and PVA glue. Approximately 23″ x 32”. C. 2019

“Cella” (pronounced chell-ah) is Latin for cell or honeycomb.

I started this piece years ago as what I was envisioning as a sort of gray wasps nest like form with the cells of gold-

After hanging on the wall partially complete for ages I decided I should probably try to get it finished- and that it needed something else-

I got this idea of a more fungus-like shape with spreading arms and tendrils. So first I attached paper mache arms to the original honeycomb. Next I glued shredded up sackcloth (from a burlap coffee bag) along the edges-

Then I sculpted more cells into the front of this form with paper mache clay made from mashed up ephemera. The torn up edges of the burlap looks like little roots reaching out and the shift in size of the individual cells gives it the appearance that “Cella” is actually growing. I also made some small clumps of burlap fibers that will be arranged along the edges of the main sculpture to look like little offshoots- kind of like spider plants or colonies of moss.

Next I filled up the cells with nuggets of wadded up paper ephemera soaked in glue water-

I am veeerrryyy happy with how alive and bizarre this beaute etrange is looking. It looks like a mixture of a fungus, a living honeycomb and with the arms a menacing starfish.

From the side it looks like it could actually be moving 🤗

Now that it’s fully formed I am going to let the “clay” cure for a month or so and then it will be ready for a skin of paint. Stay tuned and stay inspired…


  1. I thought this was a finished piece and I think it’s amazing. Then you said you’re going to paint it. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. All the bits around the edge remind me of spiders. Makes my skin crawl xD But still aaaaamazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m taking paper mache to strange new places! Yeah the borders of the cells and the outside will be a light warm gray- the little nuggets will b a rich gold- I might even use real gold leaf depending on how patient I’m feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly I’m not even sure. I had these ideas for paintings of strange forms- but I felt they would just be illustrations of what I wanted to make-and I thought “why not just make the form in 3D?”. I dunno- maybe I just needed more substantial- and im liking how they look alive and pop off the wall.

        Liked by 1 person

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