Paper Talk / Paper Activism

Paper Talk / Paper Activism

The Sunday Paper #218

July 22, 2018

Paper of the Week: Paper Talk!

Every month I record a podcast episode for Paper Talk, an ongoing series of interviews featuring artists and professionals who are working in the field of hand papermaking.

Last month I was in Chicago where I had a conversation with Melissa Potter in the papermaking studio at Columbia College. Through her practice, which includes art making, writing, curating and teaching, Melissa focuses on traditions that are endangered, underpaid and under-recognized due to industrialization, war, gender bias, and globalization. We talk about her Quaker upbringing in New Jersey and how that instilled in her a desire to be an activist, and how she has expanded upon The Papermaker’s Garden (that I initiated at Dieu Donné Papermill in the mid 90’s), and has continued to develop it as a socially engaged practice.

On the podcast, Melissa also talks about Seeds in Service, a project she runs with collaborator Maggie Puckett. They are currently fundraising to publish a book about the first five years of the program that combines feminist and ecological concerns with the art of hand papermaking. An Illuminated Feminist Seed Bank is sure to be a good one – check it out!


In the Studio (sort of):

Speaking of podcasts, I’m on Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Podcast this week talking about transforming creative ideas into multiple income streams (aka how I make a living at this paper gig). Here’s a photo that my recent intern Lata Gedala took of me in the studio that Alyson’s team turned into the graphic for the podcast episode. I love how it looks like I’m scooping up that bubble of words!

Papery Tidbits


I can’t think of a better topic for a residency program at a Children’s Museum than papermaking (but I’m biased of course). Claire Reynes, a Chicago-based papermaker and educator, is the first guest artist in the program at the DuPage Children’s Museum that will bring professional artists with a variety of expertise to the museum’s studio. And hats off to the museum for including artists in their programming!

Courtesy of the DuPage Children’s Museum

Maggi Miller shared her wonderful collages created with handmade paper over in Club Paper recently! If you happen to be in Austin, these are currently on view at the Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Westgate through September 2nd. Or you can visit Club Paper to see more of her images and join our group!

© Maggi Miller 2018

“The Little Prince” by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has touched millions of hearts around the world since it was first published in 1943. A recent exhibition at the Eslite Bookstore in city of Suzhou, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, used origami art to bring scenes from the fantasy novella to life.

A gift passed down from the gods, Echizen in Fukui Prefecture is known for its 1,500- year history of washi (Japanese paper) making. About 80 factories engaged in papermaking are concentrated in one small valley. The exhibition, “Kami to Kami” (神と紙), explores various utilization of washi through traditional/contemporary printmaking, lanterns, and large-format washi (ends July 29th).

Piece of Paper, an exhibition of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild curated by Karen Kunc is up for just a few more days. They produced a nice looking catalog featuring a broad selection of artists and styles.


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  1. Great Podcast, thanks for all the info and good luck in your business.

  2. The photos of all people working in bookmaking and paper making have the most wonderful hands. I noticed in this BLOG alone, the intelligent “touch” of these artists is so important and shows such respect for the process.