Paper Bears Spiritual Weight

Paper Bears Spiritual Weight

The Sunday Paper #324

August 9, 2020

Papermaker of the Week: Maria Amalia Wood

This is a new column. If you’re a papermaker and would like to be featured in the coming weeks and months, please fill out this form. I’d love to hear from you!

© Maria Amalia Wood. The Metamorphisms artist book was pushed around on a movable pedestal to engage participants in writing down their prejudices, biases and “isms” (racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, etc.). The written reflections were beaten into a slurry that was then made into new sheets of paper and were printed with social justice quotes by famous activists.

Maria Amalia Wood is an artist, designer and maker working with textiles, papermaking and community-focused storytelling. As an immigrant from Honduras, her work delves into the complexities of a life lived between cultures. Working intuitively, she draws upon material culture and the natural environment to create beautiful marks that refer to specific memories of lived experiences. With an individual and socially engaged art practice, she is interested in using art and design as a tool for social justice.

In the Studio: Final Day to Place Your Order!

Last Sunday, I woke up to lots of sales in my online shop, and I sold almost all of the paper I had in my online handmade paper sale that day. THANK YOU to those of you who placed orders!

What’s left? I have a (very) small number of the colorful packages you see above. And there is one paper that I make to order – the translucent abaca. This is a favorite of many customers, and you can place an order for 5 or 10 sheets (today please). I’ll be making this paper next week and shipping shortly thereafter.


Papery Tidbits


Retiring University of Iowa Center for the Book director, MacArthur Fellow, and renowned papermaker Tim Barrett reflects on his storied, 34-year career at Iowa. Watch this video to the end to see how you can help Tim raise $2.5 million for the UI Center for the Book. Tim was one of my first guests on Paper Talk.

Here’s a fun project to do with the kids (of any age). Construct this simple paper helicopter that spins to the ground, and read about the helicopter that is on its way to Mars. The real helicopter has to be super lightweight to fly on Mars, and it needs large blades that can rotate really fast so it can generate enough lift to overcome the gravity of the Red Planet and lift off the ground.

Check out these intricate paper cuts by Badhrieaswari Rajagopal. She created her own 100 day challenge to perfect her paper cutting technique.

This is a great story about a young and resourceful artist who incorporates handmade paper into her practice. CalArts student Jennie E. Park was recently one of 10 out of 1100 applicants to win a Future Art Award from Mozaik Philanthropy, a competition that invited artists to share work that reimagines the pandemic and alternative futures.

In Jewish tradition, paper bears spiritual weight. Be it notes placed in the Western Wall or the strict laws regarding disposal of sacred texts, paper is treated as a sacred material. Carmel Ilan came upon pile after pile of books placed sheepishly beside trash cans. She took them to her studio.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Translucent abaca (made to order), The Papermaker’s Package, Star Watermark Package, Playing With Pop-UPs.

How-To Books


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