The Sunday Paper #363

May 16, 2021

It has been awhile since I’ve had anyone in the studio, and it was so fun to offer a private lesson on Friday. Judi and Anita were interested in sculptural papermaking with abaca, so I introduced them to a variety of ways to work with this amazing fiber.

Here’s an interesting history of abaca. A few years ago, I asked Elaine Koretsky, the founder of Carriage House Paper, how abaca – a fiber from the leaf stalks of banana plants – came to America. I knew that she’d been selling it through Carriage House for years. She explained that in the 1970’s, she discovered that abaca was being used by some specialty mills in Massachussetts and Connecticut to make filter papers and teabags, because it has both wet and dry strength. She visited the research and development departments of those mills, and was told that originally they had tried using paper mulberry fiber from Asia, which worked, but it was very expensive, so they sought an alternative and discovered abaca. Koretsky obtained samples of the abaca pulp in sheet form, and found it wonderful to work with. The Koretsky’s (Elaine, her husband Sidney, and daughter Donna) started traveling to Asia, and after introducing abaca to artists in America through their workshops, they started importing and selling the fiber. Elaine passed away a couple of years ago, and bringing abaca to artists in the US is part of her long and varied legacy.


This looks like a great show. Crossroads: Book Artists’ Impassioned Responses to Immigration, Human Rights and Our Environment, curated by Maria G. Pisano, is now on view through September 5th at the Hunterdon Art Museum in New Jersey. “We are at a crossroad, our world is changing in myriad ways: refugees and migrants are being displaced, our environment is visibly in peril and there are constant conflicts/wars between countries and nations. These changes are jarring and artists are reacting, lending their voices and presenting book works that reflect our tumultuous times. The artists in this exhibit showcase and share personal stories, positive and reflective changes that they observe, alongside concerns for our current policies towards immigration, climate change and equal rights.”

Thomas Parker Williams, Paradise Lost

Papetura is a new video game that features gorgeous animated paper sculptures. The storyline is about Pape and Tura, who have to face dark and flaming monsters that are trying to burn down their beloved paper world. Click through to watch a video that shows the paper sculpture in motion.

Ziya Tarapore is a member of my Paper Year membership program and recently posted her intriguing work in The Paper Studio (my free facebook group). About the work, she says: “The timelessness and spirituality of Nature informs my work. My background in woven textiles informs my practice as I manipulate wet paper as though it were fabric. I am hugely motivated to save our planet from waste and destruction, transforming found packaging materials into artwork.”
© Ziya Tarapore, Water”Fall”, hand dyed cardboard, packaging material, and paper on a framed canvas, 33″ x 49″


This is a fascinating obituary about the inventor of the post-it note.


Paper Tidbits:


In the Studio:

I’m delighted that so many people share my interest in unique papers from around the world. And there is so much behind each sheet in my current Curated Paper Collection: the maker, the process, the potential for using the sheets, the history, and more! I also love learning about my customers and why they are purchasing the papers. One recent purchase came from the Fine Arts Library Material Collection at the University of Pennsylvania, where I’m guessing it will be joining other papers and all kinds of materials – how cool is that? The collection is available while supplies last, and they’re going fast.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Party Light Try It! Workshop, The Papermaker’s Companion, Package of 3 Films, Papermaking With Garden Plants & Common Weeds


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