A Papermaking Gathering

A Papermaking Gathering

The Sunday Paper #483

October 22, 2023

I’m traveling home from Providence, RI today, where I attended the North American Hand Papermaker’s conference. It was so good to see my paper friends and colleagues after a 3-year hiatus, and the number of young people in attendance gave me hope for our field. Here are a few highlights, and I’ll be back with your regular Sunday Paper next week.

We had at least 5 Coloradans in the house, and 3 of us met up on our flight to Providence. I’m flying home alone today.

Chris Leatherwood, Helen Hiebert, Joyce Gold

We visited Special Collections in the Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design (located in a gorgeous old building). It was fun to get a tour behind the scenes of their artist’s book collection and a really interesting Visual + Materials Resource Center, where students can check out different materials to explore throughout the design process.

The wall of artist’s books; bins containing the paper section of the materials lab (cardboards, sample books, etc). 

We had two keynotes, one by Shel Bassel, who managed to get here from Israel (read his diary about the current situation). He spoke eloquently about his work as a scribe and Hebrew calligrapher. It was fascinating to learn about which side of the parchment various sacred Jewish texts are written on and the tools and materials he uses to write with. Tom Balbo talked about his artwork throughout the years, his studios in Cleveland and the Morgan Conservatory, which he founded.

Shel Bassel did a hands-on demo in addition to his keynote; Tom Balbo talks about papermaking. 

Ayako Yoshizumi traveled from Japan to teach us about Kinkara-kami (gilded “leather” paper).

James Ojascastro, who has a PhD in botany and a lifeline passion for origami, shared his interest in exploring plant fibers that work well for origami.

Rebecca Hutchinson shared her large-scale installations, informed by her observations of the natural world.  Her technique, which incorporates handmade paper + clay, is fascinating.

Timothy Barrett gave a delightful presentation about restoring Japanese travel lanterns.

I’m writing on Saturday and there is so much more to share, but I have to run off to the next thing, friends. See you next week!


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