Paper Came First

A replica of Cai Lun, the man credited with the invention of papermaking in China.

I was talking with an esteemed colleague the other day, and she put something into words that has been bugging me for some time. She was at a celebration for a book arts organization and couldn’t help comparing our field (hand papermaking) with book arts. There are many

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Handmade Paper Exchange

I recently participated in a paper exchange called Paper Experiments, and look what I received in exchange for sending in a set of paper swatches! This swap has taken place before (at least once) and the participants vary from year to year. This year 16 papermakers from six countries performed their magic. Julie Johnson and Jane Dolan from Portland, OR created everything that tied this

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Pressing for Papermaking

I was in Salt Lake City this past weekend, teaching an Experimental Papermaking workshop at the University of Utah. They had this really cool press! You could raise and lower that top bar to accommodate varying post sizes. And check out that cute little jack. This press worked really well for our 8″ x 10″ sheets of paper.

Often when I’m teaching, the

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The Story of Interluceo

Making an artists’ book is a long and involved process, and I find it helpful to review once a project is complete. Here’s the story of my latest book, Interluceo.

The box that houses Interluceo (binding and box by Claudia Cohen). Notice the blind embossed title on the spine.

I started reading about sacred geometry about five years ago and discovered a wonderful

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Paper Sale + Paper Hoarding

I completely spaced on publishing this post yesterday! I’ll chalk it up to the fact that my hubby got was treated to a complimentary stay at a luxury hotel in Vail last night, so I joined him there for dinner and the night. And between coordination of the dog and the kids, well, this fell through the cracks!

Some of you get my monthly e-newsletter

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Experimental Papermaking

I’m a huge fan of experimental papermaking, which takes many forms of course (quick, what did you think of when you read that phrase?).

My version of experimental papermaking involves embedding string and wire between sheets of high shrinkage abaca to see what happens as the sheets dry, something I began exploring in 1993 when I was introduced to the idea in a class at

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Vote for The Wish!

I’m off to California tomorrow to teach a workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book, followed by the Codex Book Fair, which begins on Sunday. I’ve just completed the first short leg of my trip – I’m at my friend and fellow paper artist Jill Power’s home in Boulder, because I didn’t want to have to get up to drive the 2-1/2 hours

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Book Fair Prep

I’m busy getting ready for the Codex Book Fair, which takes place February 8-11 in Richmond, California. If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by my booth!

The highlight at my booth will be my new book, Interluceo. I am looking forward to seeing the first bound copy later this week! Here’s a sneak peak of one page spread (professional

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Seeing is Believing

Making hops paper at Rogue Brewery in Portland, OR

How do you learn best? I’m a kinesthetic learner, although once I grasp a subject and have a tactile experience, I can absorb more information through reading and seeing examples. Wikipedia’s definition of the term: Kinesthetic Learning (also known as Tactile Learning) is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student

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Making a Drying Box


The following text is excerpted from my book The Papermaker’s Companion, with a few additions.

Drying System being loaded, illustration by Alison Kolesar from The Papermaker’s Companion

This restraint drying system is the highest-tech system I’ve seen, and it yields flat and dry papers in about 24 hours. I use it myself. The laminated cardboard is a bit costly, but this system

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Drying Techniques

For some reason, i’ve been getting a lot of queries about drying paper recently. The following text is excerpted from my book The Papermaker’s Companion, with a few additions.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a drying system: climate, space, and the look of your finished sheets. I recommend starting simply. There is no need to invest in an elaborate system; I

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A Weekend at Constellation Studios

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being a visiting artist at the University of Nebraska and Constellation Studios in Lincoln, Nebraska. I met Karen Kunc, who brought me there, when we were both artists-in-residence at the Oregon College of Art & Craft in 2010.

Karen just opened Constellation Studios a year ago, and it is truly an amazing facility. Just

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A Visit to The University of the Arts

I spent a week in Philadelphia recently (can you see the LOVE sculpture above? – it was a rainy day!), and I was a visiting artist at the University of the Art (UARTS) for a day, where an old coworker from Dieu Donné Papermill – Cynthia Thompson – is now the director of the MFA Programs in Book Arts/Printmaking and Studio Art.


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Holiday Gift Making!

Forgive me if this seems like a bit of an infomercial, but a girl has to do her marketing! And pardon me if you receive a message like this twice in the next day or two. If you live in Colorado and subscribe to my newsletter as well as this – my BLOG – you’ll receive two similar notes. I give you permission to delete

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Paper Retreat Wrap-Up


The town of Red Cliff: population: 285, elevation: 8650

From September 5-7, 2014 I held my first annual Red Cliff Paper Retreat. Ten participants and one assistant joined me for three creative days in this tiny hamlet on top of the Rocky Mountains. Here are some images and thoughts.

My studio is located in the old school house, also home

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Summer Camp

I think it was in 1992 that I had my first exposure to a summer camp for artists, and I totally dug it! I was living in NYC and had just started working at Dieu Donné Papermill. A friend told me about the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

In 2006, my students at Penland helped me construct a hot air balloon,

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Make Your Own Mould & Deckle

I’ve been making paper for many years and I have to say that my absolute favorite mould is made by Timothy Moore. I’m not sure that he is even taking orders for moulds anymore (and if he is, he has a pretty long waiting list). Tim’s moulds are very expensive, which is totally worth it if you are a professional papermaker, but not so much

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Strange Papers

I had the pleasure of meeting Fred Siegenthaler at the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artist’s (IAPMA) meeting in Fabriano, Italy in early July. I’ve known about him since the beginning of my career, but our paths hadn’t crossed, but when I was doing research for my book, Papermaking With Plants, I discovered his book, Strange Papers. The New York Public Library owns

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A Map To Now

I enjoy collaboration. So far in my artistic career, I’ve collaborated with a choreographer, a sound artist, a poet, a videographer and other artists.

Here’s my newest creation, a broadside created in collaboration with poet Carl Adamshick. The publication of this piece coincides with Carl’s new book of poetry Saint Friend (which also features the poem) and you’ll find a description of the book at

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Paper Connection International

Dear Readers,

First, a quick note to let you know that I’ll be traveling for the next month in Europe. My posts might be sporadic due to internet connection (or lack thereof). I’ll be teaching, lecturing and vacationing, and I’m sure I’ll have lots to share with you…. enjoy your summer!

Lauren Pearlman Sugita with her papers

Way back in

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Tin Can Papermaking

Replication in the papermaking process can be challenging. I’ve made overbeaten abaca pulp for the past 15 years, but I still have to make a test sheet to ensure that the pulp is translucent enough and shrinks the way I like it to. Better safe than sorry (and I speak from experience).

When I think the pulp is finished beating – this takes about

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How Long Did it Take?

Detail of The Wish, photo by Carol McIntyre

This is the most common question I get asked about my work: How long did it take you to make it? It was a frequent question at the unveiling of The Wish last Friday. And I have to say that I didn’t feel like I had a good answer, even though I had several chances

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Papermaking Auction

You must know by now that Hand Papermaking is one of my favorite organizations. They host an annual on-line auction of papermaking goodies, and it is going on right now (through April 30, 2014)! Among other items, there are some amazing opportunities to work in some of the finest papermaking studios in the country … and the world!

Click here to view and bid.


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The New Year

This is my first post of the year! It has been busy, with the kids out of school and a trip to Salt Lake City last weekend to attend the College Book Art Association’s annual meeting. I’ll give a full report on that soon, but here’s a picture to whet your appetite. Kimberly Maher, a grad student at the University of Iowa, gave a fascinating

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Kids Workshop at Walking Mountains

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of leading a papermaking workshop for children (and their parents) at Walking Mountains Science Center here in Avon, Colorado. I tried some new things, taking advantage of the location. We started with a quick demonstration and then headed outside to collect plant parts to include in our papers. The center has a lovely nature trail,

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It delights me to witness and acknowledge the dedication and love that some people have for their craft (especially when it is also my craft). About a year ago, artist Mary Ellen Long invited me to be in a group show in Durango, a city in the SW corner of Colorado.

Washi and Other Ephemera: The Art of Hand Papermaking opened last

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On the Papermaking Farm

What a treat it has been to spend the past few days at Hook Pottery Paper in LaPorte, Indiana with my papermaking friend Andrea Peterson, her potter husband Jon Hook and their teenage sons Ry and Lu. They millk their goats and make goat cheese.

Ry and a goat.

and collect 2 dozen eggs a day from their chickens. They eat home grown

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A Sale Is Coming!

Due to the generosity of The Celebration Foundation in Portland (for seed money) and Storey Books and Rockport Publishers (my publishers who helped pay the production costs) I have a surplus of the DVD I produced last fall, The Papermaker’s Studio Guide. In honor of downsizing (we’ve just purchased a condo and there is no storage space) I’m selling my excess inventory at a reduced

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Abaca Workshop

I had a wonderful 3-day workshop in Portland last weekend at the Oregon College of Art & Craft. Ten ambitious and enthusiastic women brought their diverse skills into the classroom to create a variety of interesting objects. The table above is filled with samples I brought made from abaca, a plant fiber which is extracted from the trunk of a non-fruit-bearing banana tree. I

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On the Bookshelf

I am in Portland for 12 days (the first five have flown by). Yesterday, the kids and I went to Powells Books and we each went our separate ways (they know where to find me… in the papercraft section). I was delighted to see all four of my books on the shelf grouped together. Nearby was Dard Hunter’s well known publication, Papermaking. And a

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Papermaking in Latvia

Shortly after we moved to Colorado last summer, I received an e-mail from Latvia. I’d heard of Latvia, but I had to look at a map to pinpoint its location. Aha, just north of Lithuania, where my husband’s ancestors hail from (no, I didn’t take his name – Katauskas – but that is another story).   Ilze Dilane wrote that she was interested in working

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Artist Profile: Liz Faust

Liz Faust in her papermaking studio

When I was in Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to spend some time with Liz Faust, who lives in Eldorado (a lovely community outside of Santa Fe) and runs Red Paper Studio. I first met Liz in Banff, Canada in 2005, when we both attended an IAPMA (International Association of Hand

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Artistically Speaking Radio Interview Tomorrow!

Please join me in a live interview with host Rebecca Parsons on her radio show Artistically Speaking this Sunday (5/19) at 3:30(PT), 4:30(MT), 5:30(CT) 6:30(ET)! I’ll be talking about my new book, Playing With Paper as well as my art, my other books and DVD’s. I’ll post the link to the show on Tuesday for those of you who can’t tune in.

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Three Days in Santa Fe

Today’s blog post is short and (hopefully) sweet. I drove to Santa Fe last Thursday, where I did one-day workshop for the Santa Fe Community College papermaking class and gave a lecture and a two-day workshop for the Santa Fe Book Arts Group. I’m home already – it was a whirlwind! I enjoyed two morning runs by the traditional adobe architecture in the Capitol Hill

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Artist Profile: Jenny Pinto

I met Jenny Pinto twelve years ago when she came to work in my studio in Portland. She had posted a note on the BookArts listserv, and the subject line read: papermaking with plants & lampshades, or something to that effect. Well, that caught my attention since I’d just written Papermaking With Plants and I was also making lamps with my handmade paper.

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Support Hand Papermaking!

There are only a few organizations dedicated solely to the field of hand papermaking. Hand Papermaking is one of them, and I encourage you to check out their on-line auction that is happening right now (ends at 5pm on May 4th). There are lots of goodies to be gotten: decorative papers, papermaking tools & equipment, artists’ books, portfolios and more!     Many of you

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The Wish

With dandelion season looming here in Colorado (not quite yet though – it is snowing right now, and the ski season officially ends on April 15th) – I’ve been thinking a lot about my next installation, The Wish. Truth be told, I don’t have it all figured out just yet, but I’ve decided to start talking about it because I know that will help bring

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Hook Pottery Paper

Ok, I’ll say it up front. The real reason I’m writing this blog post is that I’d like to invite you to come and work with me at one of the most unique papermaking studios in the country, Hook Pottery Paper. I’ll be teaching a Watermarking Workshop there (in LaPorte, Indiana – just outside of Chicago) the weekend of August 3/4. A note of fame:

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This past weekend, I taught a workshop on how to make watermarks at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Watermarks (designs which appear in a sheet of paper when illuminated) have intrigued me since the first time I laid eyes upon them. So you can imagine how excited I was when I learned how to make them myself!

A really old watermarked

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On Writing Books

I have to admit that, for the most part, I hated writing in highschool and college. So when I received a letter from an editor at Storey Publishing in 1997, asking whether I’d be interested in writing a book about making paper from plants, I had to think twice about it! I ended up saying yes and was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing

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The Papermaker's Wet Floor

I guess I’ve been spoiled when it comes to worrying about water when making paper. Until my current studio that is. My last two studios were in garages with concrete floors that were graded, so the water conveniently flowed outside into nearby drains. When I moved into my current studio in November (located in Red Cliff, CO), it was carpeted. I removed the carpet, hoping

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Paper Walls & Windows

The last time I saw wallpaper being applied was in the early 80’s when my mother was re-papering our bathroom. Wait, I take that back. I installed a commissioned wall piece in a condo in Portland a few years ago, and there was a guy installing designer wall paper in the bathroom there too! But I don’t encounter wallpaper very often. When I was living

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My 10 Top Paper Picks

When I tell strangers what I do, it usually includes some sentiment about how small the field of paper art is. But even though it is small, I had no trouble coming up with this list of 10 of my favorite paper organizations. Here goes:

Current issue of Hand Papermaking Magazine

Hand Papermaking Magazine is a bi-annual publication, the journal in the field.

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The Papermaker's Studio Guide

  I want to share the evolution of producing The Papermaker’s Studio Guide, which has been quite a feat! I have to say there were moments when I thought I’d throw in the towel, but now that we’re at the other end, I am proud of what has been accomplished and pleased that I stuck with it. I sought funding for this project from

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A New Paper = For the Birds!

Green Bird Paper

I wrote about this technique a couple of years ago in Hand Papermaking Newsletter. I came up with the technique after failing to create a unique paper utilizing a heavily pigmented watermarked paper. I have been fond of watermarking ever since I learned to make paper in the early 1990’s, and I still believe that it is an under-utilized technique

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Columbia College Chicago

I’m teaching at the Chicago Center for Book & Paper Art this weekend. What a treat to work in a studio that is designed specifically to papermaking! Here’s a snapshot of their equipment. And mind you, this is only the papermaking studio… there is also a bookbinding studio, a letterpress studio and more! This is the beater room, equipped with 7 lb and 2 lb

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