Peace Paper on Paper Talk

Peace Paper on Paper Talk

The Sunday Paper #268
July 14, 2019
Congratulations to Lou Ellen Plummer from North Carolina for winning last week’s giveaway. Thanks to everyone else for participating!

Paper of the Week: Peace Paper

Drew Matott, who runs Peace Paper Project is on Paper Talk this week! Like so many papermakers I talk to, Drew stumbled upon the medium by chance. Drew is the co-founder of Combat Paper and Peace Paper Project, programs which involve turning meaningful pieces of old clothing into handmade paper and works of art. We chat about the unique business model of Peace Paper and the most recent developments, including a DIY Hollander beater and St Pauli Paper, a new papermaking studio in Hamburg, Germany. Enjoy our conversation!


In The Studio:

I’m making flax paper a few ways in the studio. I cooked a batch in a 20% solution of soda ash and then made flat sheets, flax leather (air dried, spritzed with water and then restraint dried) and watermarked flax paper. Now I have a second batch that I’m beating without cooking. What you see here is the raw (uncooked) flax almost finished in the beater. It is such a stringy fiber! I’m hoping to be able to pull thicker sheets with the raw stuff, and all of these papers will be available in my online paper sale next month!


Papery Tidbits:

  • Santa Fe area peeps! I’ll be at the Gerald Peters Gallery, 1011 Paseo de Peralta, next Saturday, June 20th, at 2pm for an artist’s reception. Join me if you can!
  • I’m a member of the Craft Industry Alliance, and I can’t say enough about how much I get out of the organization: access to articles about running a business, a fantastic forum on facebook that always has multiple answers to my questions, and discounts which have paid for my membership! Learn more here.


Growing Paper was born in Cape Town when Founder Roxanne Schumann was at a friend’s wedding and couldn’t help but feel bad about all of the beautiful wedding stationery that was going to waste because no one could keep it forever. This thought inspired Schumann to think of ways that paper could be reused, and the idea of seeded paper was born.

Seed paper labels and gift cards designed by Lize Beekman.

I love these giant flipbooks! A pair of enormous, solar-powered, steel-and-glass enclosed flipbooks designed by teenagers are now on display in Dumbo’s Pearl Street Triangle (my old stomping grounds). If you want to experience the moving pictures for yourself, bring a friend — one person needs to crank a handle on the side of the devices to let another enjoy the show.

Dumbo BID. Spin the wheel: To watch the flipbooks in action, on person must turn a handle on the side of each five-foot-high contraption.

Christine Aaron’s Memory Project is a fascinating installation that involved collecting memories from the Larchmont Mamaroneck, NY community. Some memories were written on specialty gampi paper, others were audio recorded, and the collective memories were woven into an audio and visual art installation exhibited at Mamaroneck Artists’ Guild in 2017. The resulting artwork represented a joining of voices, where both participants and the audience listened to, read and shared one another’s memories in the community they all call home. You can read and listen to the recorded memories here, and there’s also a catalog about the project.

“Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is on display through Aug. 25 at the Mississippi Museum of Art, and is the first major museum exhibition to explore the art form. The museum-curated companion exhibition, “A Closer Look: Silhouette Artists in Antebellum Mississippi,” highlights work by early 19th century “scissor artists” and their winter social-season visits to New Orleans, Natchez and Vicksburg. The article is fascinating in that it touches on racial and LGBTQ issues through the silhouette.

Unidentified Artist, “Flora and Bill of Sale,” 1796. cut paper on paperboard with pen and brown ink. Stratford Historical Society, Stratford, Conn. This work is part of “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

You know I love paper and light. Check out Kiruma: an illuminated kirigami lamp of a Castle in the Sky.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:
Playing With Paper, my films about paper, the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar (now 1/2 price) and Handle With Care, an artist’s book.
Twelve Months of Paper


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  1. Penelope Ortmann says:

    I’d be quite interested in specifics of your experiments with Flax, cooked and raw. Took a class where we made paper from Flax pulp. Have thought of ordering Flax Fiber to go with my Hollander Beater to be delivered this summer. Very interested in using plants that grow in northern MN also. While learning about the Beater thought I would start with cotton. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. Helen says:

    Hi Penelope, I will try to remember to post about the flax paper! In terms of what to start with, that’s a good question. I wouldn’t think too much about it – dive in and see what happens.

  3. Phoebe says:

    The silhouette exhibit is amazing! I saw it last summer at the National Portrait Gallery and was blown away. I’d seen a show of Kara Walker’s work in Bellevue, Washington and was incredibly impressed by her work. Seeing it in conjunction with the historical silhouettes was stunning. Thanks for writing about this exhibit.

  4. HELEN says:

    How lucky you are to have seen that in person, Phoebe!

  5. christine says:

    gorgeous blog. I’m going to lose hours reading through these posts 🙂