Paper Talk is an ongoing series of interviews by Helen Hiebert featuring artists and professionals who are working in the field of hand papermaking and paper art. Tune in to subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Anchor.fm.
Please browse past episodes below to learn more about our featured guests and their art.
Episode 104: Carol Barton
Carol Barton is a painter, paper engineer, book artist and teacher who has published several editions and has organized both local and national shows, including the traveling Books and Bookends show and the Smithsonian Institution’s Science and the Artist’s Book exhibition.
Episode 103: Andrew Dewar
Andrew Dewar was born in Toronto in 1961, and has degrees in Journalism, Japanese Studies, and Library Science. He has lived in Japan since 1988. Since completing his Ph.D. studies at Keio University in Tokyo, he has taught at several colleges, and for the past decade has been principal of Tokai Daiichi Kindergarten as well as professor and Library Director at Tokai Gakuin University in Gifu, Japan. Soon after arriving in Japan, he rediscovered his childhood love of paper airplanes, and has been flying, designing, and publishing for more than three decades. He also teaches papercraft at schools, community centers, and museums around the country. He has more than 40 publications in English and Japanese.
Episode 102: Megan Singleton
Megan Singleton is a practicing artist, educator, and mother located in St. Louis, Missouri. The investigation of ecological relationships within society and the landscape is the basis of her work. As an interdisciplinary artist, she creates works that resonate with the materiality and rhythms of the natural world. Her creative practice intertwines sculpture, handmade paper, found objects, photography, and books arts.
Episode 101: Simon Arizpe
Simon Arizpe is an award winning pop-up book designer, paper engineer and illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. His work received the 2018-2019 Meggendorfer Prize, the highest honor in pop-up book design, as well as the Award of Excellence from the Society of Illustrators. A graduate of The Pratt Institute, Arizpe worked for over 10 years as the senior paper engineer at several of the top pop-up book studios in the world before opening his own pop-up book studio in 2014.
Episode 100: Helen Hiebert
Helen Hiebert is the author of six instructional books on papermaking and papercrafts and is widely respected as a generous teacher and mentor. Working from her studio in Colorado, Helen hosts classes and retreats, and extends her outreach by teaching online.
Episode 99: Susan Ruptash
Susan Ruptash is a Toronto washi artist who works in a variety of paper arts including explorations of handmade heritage washi, printmaking and bookmaking, building on a lifelong fascination with the properties and possibilities of paper.
Roberto Mannino explores form with an abstract, process oriented, non-realistic approach. In Papermaking the very fact that there is a molecular change from liquid to solid implies the presence of natural energies that are embedded in the process itself. His hands-on practice enables him to have a dialogue with the nature of things in relation to his own personal motivations.
Bruce Foster has paper engineered over 65 pop-up books, over 100 pop-up cards, and at least a dozen other unpublished works. Originally from southern Louisiana, Bruce attended art school at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, earning his BFA with honors and returning later for graduate studies in studio art. Eventually settling in Houston, TX, he worked as a graphic designer and art director before discovering and launching a career in movable books in 1989, although it was not until 2005 that he had enough work to take it full time.
Sara Garden Armstrong
Sara Garden Armstrong is a visual artist whose decades-long practice embraces a wide range of scales and techniques, from large site-specific sculpture to artist’s books. Lyrical, nature-based biomorphic abstraction characterizes the work, focusing on life processes and systems. It addresses organic change and transformation, while exploring properties of materials. Armstrong received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama and a Master of Art Education from UAB. After living in New York City for 36 years, in 2017 she returned to Birmingham, where she currently lives and works.
Russell Maret is a book artist and letter designer working in New York City. He began printing in San Francisco as a teenager before apprenticing with Peter Koch in Berkeley and Firefly Press in Somerville, Massachusetts. He set up his own press at the Center for Book Arts, New York in 1993 and has been printing and publishing ever since. In 1996 Russell began teaching himself to design letterforms, leading to a twelve year study of letterforms before he completed his first typeface in 2008. In 2011, he began working to convert some of his type designs into new metal typefaces for letterpress printing. Since then he has produced four metal typefaces and four suites of metal ornaments.
Tom Balbo has spent most of his life in and around Cleveland, Ohio. His earliest work was primarily in ceramics and printmaking. As his interest in papermaking grew, his work turned towards expressing his artistic creativity in this area.
Marianne R. Petit
Marianne R. Petit is an artist and educator whose work explores fairy tales, anatomical obsessions, graphic and narrative medicine, as well as collective storytelling practices through mechanical books that combine animation and paper craft.
Owen Gildersleeve is an artist specializing in handcrafted illustration, set design & art direction. His unique style honed over the past 12 years brings graphic designs to life through layers of hand-cut paper and a playful use of depth & shadow. His practice ranges from intricate illustrations, to large-scale sets and installations, teaming up with the likes of Apple, LUSH, Penguin Books & NASA.
Gill Wilson’s background is rooted in craft practice, and she has had a papermaking studio for over 30 years. She studied papermaking in Japan after University. Since then, she has been a university lecturer and has worked as an advisor for Arts Council England. She was the manager of the Harley Gallery and is currently a director of Gallerytop.
Cathryn Miller has had an interest in making things out of paper since early childhood, and still believes that anything —except, perhaps, internal combustion engines— can be made out of paper. After being sidetracked in adult life by a short career as a theatrical designer, then a twenty year career as a textile artist, Miller returned to playing with paper in 1994. Since then, as Byopia Press, Miller has published limited editions of conventional books and produced multiple artist’s books, altered books, and paper toys. Through the Byopia Press weekly blog, she offers frequent DIY projects for readers as well as sharing her own works in progress.
Molly Grosse is co-founder of Rock Paper Store and an artist who works in a variety of mediums. Prior to founding Rock Paper Store, she worked as a wedding photographer, and her initial explorations with the paper were wedding products, like party favor boxes, invitations or waterproof flowers.
Join a very brave girl and her furry friends on an adventure to Read Island! Through the power of imagination and the pleasure of reading, this curious trio set sail for a magical island made of books. On their way they discover a joyful collection of animals converging by sea and land, just in time for an unforgettable story hour.
Kelli Anderson is a designer and paper engineer whose work operates in the space between conceptual art, graphic design, and tech. Her whimsical books have featured a working paper planetarium, a pop-up pinhole camera, and a paper record player.
Maro Vandorou is a visual artist of Greek origin, who is living and working in California. Her formal training has a strong interdisciplinary character informed by studies in the visual arts, interaction design, literature, psychology, digital and computer technologies. Her work explores the process of transformation through installations of original photographic material, writings, and artists’ books. Her tools of choice are film cameras, Gampi – a rare Japanese handmade paper – and platinum–palladium printing.
Deborah Balmuth is the publisher and editorial director at Storey Publishing, the publisher of my books, where she heads up efforts to acquire and publish outstanding, long-lasting nonfiction books that support Storey Publishing’s mission of promoting personal independence in harmony with the environment.
Radha Pandey is a papermaker and letterpress printer. She earned her MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she studied Letterpress printing, Bookbinding, and Papermaking with a focus on Western, Eastern and Indo-Islamic Papermaking techniques. Her artist’s books are held in numerous public collections, she has lectured and taught workshops on Indo-Islamic papermaking around the world, and she is currently working on an artists book inspired by Mughal miniature paintings of botanicals from the 17th century. Radha splits her time between India, where she grew up and Norway, where she and her partner Johan Solberg run Halden Bookworks.
usan Kristoferson specializes in surface design processes on paper such as itajime (Japanese fold, clamp, and dye) and hand painted paste papers, She lives and works in Turner Valley, Alberta, in Canada, on hilltop with a view of the foothills and Rockies along with her husband and a small farm of chickens and sheep. Kristoferson is inspired by the long-distance view from her home and studio where she creates unique landscape “paintings” and abstract images using the papers she has made, painted, dyed, and collected during the past 40+ years.
Jerushia Graham is the Museum Coordinator for the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking and a working artist. Graham is interested in creating spaces for socially-minded introspection and empathy through her artwork, workshops, and curatorial projects. The Atlanta-based printmaker, papermaker, book artist, and fiber artist who exhibits both nationally and internationally, and is a member of the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color, the Movable Book Society, and the North American Hand Papermakers. Graham served as the first VP of Exhibitions/Curatorial for the North American Hand Papermakers (2020-2021) She has also been a guest curator for the Zora Neale Hurston Museum in Eatonville, FL and The Hudgens Center for Art and Learning in Duluth, GA.
Nicholas Cladis is an interdisciplinary artist and papermaker who lives and works in Iowa City, IA. He is the papermaking specialist at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, where he lectures and manages the Oakdale paper research facility. Cladis is an active researcher and practitioner of traditional and non-traditional papermaking processes. For six years he lived and worked in Echizen, Japan — an area with over 1,500 years of papermaking history — and continues to maintain an active relationship with the papermaking community there. He regularly contributes to the Future of Craft Villages research group at Fukui Prefectural University, and serves on the executive committee of Imadate Art Field, a non-profit arts organization based in Echizen.
Entrepreneur, educator and origami artist Miri Golan hopes to use her installations as a catalyst to unite people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Many of her works use the book as a symbol of education, wisdom, and spirituality—ideas that can be used to help bring people on opposite sides of conflicts together. Her sculptures incorporate a variety of spiritual texts in unexpected ways and suggest that despite religious differences, people are fundamentally the same.
She is the founder of the Israeli Origami Center and Folding Together, an organization that encourages Israeli and Palestinian children and adults to fold paper forms as a team, turning origami into a collaborative expression of hope for a more peaceful world. She also designed and developed a mathematics curriculum called Origametria that has been accepted into the curriculum by the Israeli Ministry of Education, in which children learn geometry principles by folding origami models. Enjoy our conversation!
June Tyler is a visual artist who has been making paper for 32 years. Her studio, Pondside Pulp and Paper was established in 1995 in Norwich, NY, where she has offered workshops during the summer and fall months. Tyler has spent most of her professional career teaching at various colleges, as well as offering workshops at her studio and other venues. Tyler likes to work in a variety of media: Painting, drawing, printmaking, artist books, papermaking, sculpture and mixed media, depending on the idea or imagery she is pondering at the time. Her work has been shown in solo, group and juried exhibitions.
Paul Jackson is a professional paper artist, paper engineer, writer and teacher since 1983, who specializes in origami and the folded arts. Jackson has written more than 40 books, the first of which were origami books for adults and children, and his more recent books have been about the application of folding techniques into design, a subject he has taught in more than 80 Universities and Colleges in 13 countries, to design students of many disciplines, including Fashion, Architecture, Ceramics, Jewelery, Product Design and Textiles.
Heavily influenced by the cycles of life, much of Richard’s work is a response to the metaphysical energy exhibited in nature, particularly within the detritus or “relics” that remain after life is gone. Using the inner bark [bast fibers] from specific plants, Richard strives to capture nature’s vibrancy in her sculptures, prints, paintings and artist books.
Sierra Nevada-based visual artist Andie Thrams uses watercolors in wildland forests to create paintings and artist’s books that explore mystery, reverence, and delight, while grappling with vanishing habitats. Merging the lineages of illuminated manuscripts and natural history field journals with a contemporary art and science awareness, her imagery weaves intricate botanical detail into rich layers of shape, color, and hand-lettered text to evoke the complex interconnections within ecosystems of the Greater West.
Jackie Radford is a papermaker and book binder working in her studio near Charlotte, NC. Radford’s work is heavily influenced by the texture and sensory nature of the materials she works with — she needs to feel them as much as see them.
Matthew Reinhart is a world-renowned children’s book author, illustrator and paper engineer, known best for cutting and folding paper into gravity-defying pops in his acclaimed pop-up books.
Mindell Dubansky is head of the Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation, Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she is Preservation Librarian and book conservator. She writes on the book arts, particularly in the areas of 19th century publisher’s bindings, hand papermaking, bookbinding, the history of book-shaped objects and American decorative paper arts.
Erica Spitzer Rasmussen
Erica Spitzer Rasmussen is an artist who creates handmade paper garments and small editions of hand-bound books. Her current work explores family stories and issues of identity. Her work has been featured in such magazines as FiberArts, Surface Design Journal, American Craft and Hand Papermaking. Rasmussen teaches studio arts as a full professor at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota (USA). Her artwork is exhibited and collected internationally.
Kelsey Pike is a production papermaker based in Kansas City, Missouri. She learned papermaking and started her brand Sustainable Paper And Craft while attending the local art institute in 2010 and since then she’s sold over 100 thousand sheets of paper. She specializes in papers specifically designed for artists and makers, made from recycled fabric and other sustainable fibers. She’s currently searching for a long term apprentice who will work with her in the studio for the next few years to learn the tedious and back-breaking process.
John Sullivan started Logos Graphics 46 years ago when he moved to San Francisco, CA. The shop transitioned from offset lithography to letterpress in 2000, and it was letterpress printing that sparked Sullivan’s interest in the subtleties of paper.
Paula Beardell Krieg
Paula Beardell Krieg is an artist and educator who uses paper for drawings, decoration, and building. She loves to explore the internal structure of books, including the patterns of folds, the sewing and knotting of bindings, and how everything fits together. Krieg’s work lies at the intersection of art and math, using color and line to illuminate symmetries and geometry in and on paper. She often collaborates with classroom teachers to design projects for arts-in-education classes and writes about her work in classrooms, as well as her own adventures with paper.
Nicole Donnelly – Part 2
Nicole Donnelly is a hand papermaker and visual artist specializing in sculptural paper artworks and invasive plant papers. She is the President of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), 2015-2021; and the founder of the creative papermaking studio paperTHINKtank.
Nicole Donnelly is a hand papermaker and visual artist specializing in sculptural paper artworks and invasive plant papers. She is the President of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), 2015-2021; and the founder of the creative papermaking studio paperTHINKtank. She is master papermaker for The Brodsky Center at PAFA (2019- present) and for The Brandywine Workshop & Archives (2018-present). She teaches paper and book arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and other institutions.
Rosston Meyer is a designer, paper engineer and publisher who creates pop up books under the name Poposition Press. Working mostly with contemporary visual artists, Rosston has self published over 20 pop up books, cards and pop up art prints since he started Poposition in 2013.
Susan Joy Share
Susan Joy Share is an Alaska based visual artist, bookbinder and performer. Her passion for the book form, its structural variations, materials and potential for movement blends with her interest in sculpture, painting, sewing and collage. Susan creates an array of wearable books, figures and architectural forms. Her innovative, early performances with foldout sculpture connected the book with the human body.
Meg Black is an artist and art historian who studies historical works of art and connects her work to the great artists who have come down to us through the ages. The subject of her work is nature and its impact on our sensory experience, and she studies how artists have recorded nature, and considers these approaches in her own designs. She doesn’t try to copy the natural world as she sees it but, rather, as she feels it. Black’s paintings and wall reliefs are made with abaca, a fiber that she is constantly discovering the potential for and is challenged by. She finds that the texture of this material provides an almost three-dimensional quality to the surface of her work, mimicking nature in all its splendor.
HELEN FREDERICK is recognized as a distinguished artist, curator, educator, coordinator of international projects, and as founder of Pyramid Atlantic, a center for contemporary printmaking, hand papermaking, and the art of the book. As an advocate for, and an active participant in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area arts scene, she has served on the directorial boards of alternative art spaces, various local and national boards and national peer-review panels.
Eugenie Barron was born in 1952, growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. She studied art and anthropology at the University of Missouri, Columbia campus before becoming a piano tuner/technician as well as studying hand papermaking as a craft and an artist. In 1979 she moved to New York City to study with Douglass Morse Howell and further her interest in papermaking. There she developed her skills, lecturing, curating, and teaching, primarily in the city and around the Hudson Valley of NY, where she has maintained several homes and working studios. She is currently semi-retired in Catskill, NY, yet she tries to maintain a connection with her contemporaries in both papermaking and the world of piano technology. Since beginning retirement she has been deviating into Garage Band and singing, which is quite an endeavor, given her voice and computer skills.
Beatrice Coron is a French-born artist who has been living and working in NYC for more than 30 years. I met Beatrice at the Center For Book Arts in NYC when we both took classes and participated in events there in the 1990’s. We talk about how Beatrice developed her unique paper cutting style, which has gotten her everything from illustration gigs to public art commissions in other materials, based on her paper cuts. She discusses her favorite papers and cutting knife, and how she goes back and forth between hand cutting and design on the computer. A theme that seems consistent in her work is how one thing leads to another! Here’s an example: When a show at the museum of art and design inspired her, she contacted the curator, which led to her being a consultant on their exhibition Slashed! Under the Knife, a paper cut exhibition, and she was also an artist in residence during that show. Someone from Alliance Francais saw that show and since Beatrice is French, invited her to give a talk there, where whe met someone who invited her to give a TED talk! And the story keeps unfolding.
Cathleen Baker began her journey with paper as the paper conservator for the Courtauld Institute Galleries in London, when handling the old papers in the documents she was preserving sparked an interest in paper. Among many other interesting projects, Baker wrote the biography of Dard Hunter, which involved moving into his home in Chillicothe, Ohio (which his grandson now owns). Baker publishes her own work, along with award-winning books about the history and technologies of papermaking, printing, and bookbinding by others under her imprint, The Legacy Press. Enjoy our conversation!
Pamela Paulsrud is a Chicago artist who began papermaking to examine and exploring the creative process from inception to completion. From the formation of sheets, to working with fibers in its various degrees, she was led to create spontaneous marks within the pulp, and the medium became an art unto itself and now offers her a multidisciplinary approach in her exploration of capturing sound, or resonance in paper with sound wave phenomena. We talk about the Treewhispers project that Pam and Marilyn Sward started in the year 2000 after Pam conceived of it on a bike ride (her daily practice) and where the project is today (it is still going strong). More than 7,000 paper rounds created by people from around the world feature stories, poems and imagery about trees. These disks are strung into tree-like forms for exhibition, and Pam tells me about the time Greenpeace contacted her, and how Treewhispers became an influential part of one of their activist campaigns to save a forest.
Pam Thorne lives in Burnie, Tasmania, on an island south of Australia. Pam is best known for creating, with her artistic partner Ruth Rees, a series of life size papier-mache sculptures which are displayed in numerous locations around Tasmania. Pam is the concept originator of paper on skin, a biennial wearable paper art competition, Gala Event and exhibition. In 2012 Pam was Burnie’s Citizen of the year.
Douglass Howell, a Conversation with Elisabeth Howell King
Douglass Howell is probably the first person to have used hand papermaking as an artistic medium as early as the 1940’s, creating what he called Papetries which were shown at the Betty Parsons Gallery in NYC. Howell mentored several people, who went on to establish papermaking studios and paper programs at the university level. His daughter, Elisabeth Howell King, tells me about his life with paper.
Sarah Brayer is an American artist living in Kyoto, Japan. I met Sarah back in the 1990’s, when she would come to make work at Dieu Donné Papermill, a hand papermaking studio in NYC where I was working. Sarah talks about how she traveled to Japan after studying art at Connecticut College and ended up making Kyoto her home. She works in printmaking and papermaking, and we discuss her early interest in Japanese covered door panels called fusuma. She ended up discovering Imadate, Echizen where they make these panels, and she has been creating her own large-scale poured-paper images there since 1986, and is the only western artist to do so. It was fascinating to hear Sarah talk about the nuances between working with Eastern and Western fibers – she talks about their personalities as well as their unique voice.
Today, I’m talking with Ioana Stoian, a british-born artist currently lives and works in Minneapolis. When I met Ioana there a few years ago, she gifted me a black t-shirt with the word ARTIST in white and all caps across the front. We began our conversation talking about self identifying as an artist – that was fun! Ioana got interested in hands-on learning during a five year decorative painting apprenticeship in France, and that interest led her to travel to Japan, where she discovered the art of paper folding. She was inspired to create her own designs, which she has published in a couple of books. You can read all about her books and watch Ioana read her latest children’s book, Always Be You, in the show notes. Enjoy our conversation!
Richard Flavin did the illustrations of Japanese papermaking in Tim Barrett’s book of the same title. Richard grew up in Boston, and he learned about woodblock printing and handmade paper when he was in the army in Korea and traveled to Japan, where he has lived and worked since 1970. We met to talk about his work with paper in the gallery that he and his textile artist wife Ryoko Haraguchi, run.
Robbin Ami Silverberg
Robbin Silverberg is a paper and book artist in Brooklyn, NY. I have long admired Robbin’s content-rich artist’s books, that show off her unique papermaking techniques. We had a lovely meandering conversation about her first paper sculptures, how she started creating artist’s books while living in Vienna, Austria but didn’t even realize they were a genre. She returned to NYC when she discovered there were others making artists books – she’d found her tribe. Robbin currently has a 30-year retrospective at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and she took me on an audio tour, describing some of the works having to do with the book as an object, women, language, transformative reading and more. One fun fact: Robbin and I were on Sesame Street with a bunch of cute kids making paper in the mid-1990’s.
Michael LaFosse runs Origamido studio outside of Boston with Richard Alexander. This is a really unique studio, because not only do they create, fold and teach unique origami techniques, but they also produce handmade papers designed specifically for folding and origami. Michael and I talk about how he discovered origami as a child, first learning to fold a paper airplane with his uncle, and then by chance seeing one episode of a black and white TV show about origami. We chat about how he developed his style and how he teaches beginner to master level origami at Origamido Studio, as well as in schools, where he often uses origami to teach math and geometry. Enjoy our conversation!
You can listen to this episode by clicking on the white arrow above, (or find more listening options on Anchor.fm) so you never miss an episode. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it! Thank you so much. PaperPaul is a self-employed illustrator, graphic designer and web designer from the Netherlands. His interest in paper engineering started when he bought his first pop-up book in 2014. He and his girlfriend Denice started an online fan platform and YouTube channel called BestPopUpBooks.com, which features video reviews, author interviews, pop-up tutorials and so much more. PaperPaul also creates his own unique pop-ups and likes to share the progress of his pop-up projects and the results of his abstract experiments. Visit BestPopUpBooks.com to learn more about […]
Matt Shlian is a paper engineer whose work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. We talk about the trajectory of his career – from immersing himself in various media first at Alfred University and then at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, to working as a visiting research scholar at the University of Michigan, where he collaborated with scientists using paper techniques he developed. Matt works with art consultants and galleries worldwide to place his artwork, which is created using technology and a lot of handwork. And we talk about the balancing act of making work, hiring employees to help, being a husband (he and his wife have collaborated on some pretty cool projects) and raising two young children. Enjoy our conversation!
Robert J. Lang
Robert Lang is a leader in the field of paper folding – he uses mathematics to advance origami folding techniques for applications in technology – like folding a giant telescope into a compact form so that it can travel to space. We chat about his journey, from discovering origami as a child and devouring books on the subject, to coming up with his own designs and methods for folding, to developing a computer program called Treemaker, to help with complex folding structures that has led to consulting jobs around the world.
Janna Willoughby-Lohr runs Papercraft Miracles, an eco-friendly handmade paper company in Buffalo, New York. We chat about how life can throw you a curveball, and you can choose how to react. This quote, from Janna’s instagram, will give you an inkling about how she reacts: “This is your Sunday evening reminder that you can handle whatever this week throws at you”. We talk about Janna’s handmade paper stationery products, that include custom wedding invitations, seed bombs, paper flowers and planning tools; and how she is shaping her business – she’s the recipient of the Prestigious Ignite Buffalo Grant and was recently recognized as one of Stationery Trends Magazine’s “40 Under 40” for Stationery & Gifts. Janna is also a musician and a poet, and the mother of two little boys and her energy is infectious!
Kathryn & Howard Clark
Howard & Kathryn Clark founded Twinrocker Handmade Paper, a legendary papermaking studio in Brookston, Indiana, in 1971. We talk about how the two of them met in graduate school at Wayne State University in Detroit cleaning silkscreens, (how sweet) and how they were introduced to papermaking by Aris Katroulis, a Tamarind trained printer who was exposed to paper by Laurence Barker, who was also in Detroit teaching at Cranbook. Kathy says she thought there were papermaking studios everywhere, since there were two in Detroit! After Grad school, they moved to San Francisco, where Kathy was the first woman to print at a Tamarind offshoot shop in San Francisco. Howard, who studied mechanical engineering and industrial design started building equipment and Twinrocker was born. Eventually, the couple moved to Brookston, Indiana to a family farm and the business grew over time, creating some of the finest papers in America, collaborating with numerous artists and selling papermaking supplies. Howie tells me how one of their key mentors in developing fine papers (because they were some of the few doing this at the time) was old books and old prints – they learned a lot from the paper in old books.
Stephanie Hare runs Share Studios in Philadelphia. Stephanie has one of the most beautiful instagrams about paper that I’ve seen, featuring images of fiber in water, equipment and sheets of handmade paper in luscious colors. Check it out at instagram.com/share.studios. We had a lovely chat about how Stephanie’s business has evolved since she learned to make paper after college in Maine, while working in a gallery specializing in handmade paper and paper lights. She tells me how she has built a strong online following, first for her lights and then her stationery products. We talk about the decisions she has to make while running a business with popular products all by herself – not only does she make paper, but she creates moulds & deckles and sells a basic papermaking kit too.
Look Inside, An Installation
Listen to me and my artist friend Berneil as we reflect on the debut of this installation at Anything Wright Farms Library in Denver. It’s 10-minutes, and I apologize for the sound quality. Look Inside is an interactive installation that invites viewers to ponder and write about the way they see themselves, to look inside. Here’s the prompt: Each of the six spheres you see represents a way in which we inhabit the world. As you walk around the piece, your position changes. Reflect on your- Self, Relationship/s, Family, Communities, Planet, the Universe. How do you think about yourself, as an individual and as a member of our world? What bothers you? What delights you? What questions do you have? How will you contribute? Please […]
Madeleine Durham is an artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico who was introduced to paste painting when she studied painting and book arts at Santa Fe Community College. One day when she applied paste to a sheet of paper with a brush, she noticed a line that her brush created on the sheet of paper. She tells me how she’d probably created similar lines lots of times, but something happened that day that inspired her unique and gorgeous style of paste painting. We chat about a couple of unique commissioned papers she’s created, where she travels to sell her papers in person, and how she decided to teach her unique process to others.
Melanie Brauner is an artist in the Pacific Northwest who makes lovely hand dipped paper & metal jewelry. She grew up around artists, makers and craftspeople, and she never questioned whether she could be an artist and make a living. She learned to make paper with me at the Oregon College of Art & Craft, where she studied book arts and metals. We talk about how her business took off after she started wearing her jewelry around campus – people were buying the pieces she was wearing – and how she’s built a super successful jewelry business with her work in over 50 retail shops around the country. Enjoy our conversation!
Jocelyn Chateauvert is a paper artist in South Carolina who manipulates abaca and flax in astounding ways. She discovered hand papermaking while getting an MFA in metals and jewelry at the University of Iowa. We talk about how she started out combining paper and metal, two seemingly disparate materials. Jocelyn then tells me how her work has evolved from jewelry and body adornment, to sculpture, installation, and lighting, and how she has come up with a vocabulary for the more than 50 unique techniques she has developed for manipulating paper.
Drew Matott, like so many papermakers I talk to, stumbled upon the medium by chance, when he was at Buffalo State College, where he wanted to study film. He is the co-founder of Combat Paper and the founder of Peace Paper Project, programs which involve turning meaningful pieces of old clothing into handmade paper. 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!
Vernon & Madeleine Weiring, a father-daughter team based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently launched their company Papillon Papers. I fell in love with some of the gorgeous decorated papers I’ve seen on their website and wanted to learn more about them, especially after reading that they call themselves design archeologists – how cool is that? – they dig through the past to find designs and decorated papers and resurrect them. In this episode we talk about how they look through old books, mostly from the 19th century, seeking decorative end paper designs that appeal to them, and then bring theses sheets that have been hidden under the covers of old books back to life! Listen to our conversation to find out how they are doing this. Enjoy!
Sarah Horowitz is a printmaker based in Leavenworth, Washington, who also makes drawings and artist’s books. We talk about how her parents fostered her artistic interests by always providing her with access to materials and art classes as she was growing up. She attended Hampshire College in Massachussetts, where she ended up focusing on printmaking. After college, she honed her printmaking skills at studios in Switzerland and Scotland before returning to the Northeast, where she got involved with the book arts community. Eventually, she ended up on the West Coast when she was looking for a community print shop to work in. She tells me how she discovered there were more papers to print on than Rives BFK, and we discuss one of her artist’s book projects in detail, which involved custom handmade paper. Sarah talks about the reciprocal process of printing on paper, as she explores how the paper responds to her imagery and the ink, and how her plates print on the surface of the sheet. We also have a long discussion about how she pigments and sizes Japanese papers to obtain the exact colors she wants and the tooth that allows her pen to glide smoothly across the surface for her drawings.
Nancy Cohen is a New Jersey artist who was introduced to handmade paper during a residency program at Dieu Donne Papermill in New York City in the early 1990’s. She became entranced with paper as a material, and she talks about the similarities and differences she finds between paper and glass, a material she also works with. Nancy creates all of her work without a papermaking studio – she brings wet sheets that she makes at Dieu Donne back to her own studio – and she is pushing the medium in really interesting ways. We discuss the life cycles of her installations, which she often exhibits multiple times, her pulp drawings that were recently on view in NYC, and how she helped her son and daughter-in-law create their handmade paper wedding invitations gorilla style.
Lynn Sures is a Maryland-based artist who works with handmade paper in a variety of ways. Lynn tells me how she first discovered that paper was made by hand while reading the book Papermaking by Dard hunter, and that she assumed that nobody on earth made paper by hand anymore (she was wrong!). We talk about her teaching philosophy and her work with pulp painting. And we discuss the paper she makes to draw on (she says if you make your own paper, it isn’t scary to draw on a blank sheet). She describes one paper she took to Africa with her on a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Lynn has spearheaded several unique papermaking efforts, including the Pulparazzi and the National Collegiate Handmade Paper Art Triennial. And she was recently elected president of Friends of Dard Hunter, the national papermaking organization that was founded to preserve Dard Hunter’s collection and currently meets annually in a different part of the country.
Peter Dahmen is an artist and designer based in Dortmund, Germany. I discovered Peter’s work on the internet, which is how he has become well known in the field of pop-ups, and has connected with clients around the world. We talk about the first pop-up book he saw in a bookstore as a child, how that interest was rekindled about 10 years later when he was studying communication design at the university, and how he became a youtube sensation 20 years later! Peter describes some really interesting projects he’s been involved in – from designing a pop-up wall for a car manufacturer to creating a pop-up book for a magician – along with the challenges and breakthroughs that he’s made with new paper and new technologies.
I met Leigh Suggs 10 years ago when she took a sculptural papermaking class with me at The Penland School in North Carolina. We talk about her upbringing with a mom who was an art professor, how she didn’t think she’d ever be an artist, but how her life just kept going in that direction and today she makes a living making paper art. She tells me about the process of applying to grad school and finding the right fit, both in terms of funding and discipline. And of course we chat about her work, which involves optical trickery. She’s interested in getting us to think about how we see and how we use language to describe what we see in her pieces that employ optical trickery. And we discuss a unique ongoing collaboration Leigh has with two women she met during that session 10 years ago at Penland.
Craig Ancelowitz is an artist and designer affiliated with Awagami Papermill in Japan. I first met Craig over 25 years ago in New York City, when he was a paper buyer for Kate’s Paperie. We talk about Craig’s work in product development, which took him from Kate’s to ABC Carpet and then to Thailand and Japan.
Aimee got interested in paper when she took a class about artist’s books at Oberlin College. She went on to focus on papermaking at Columbia College Chicago where she got her masters degree. It was there that she got interested in the history of papermaking, and when she learned how hand papermaking travelled from China to Korea to Japan – she got curious about hanji, Korean paper – Aimee grew up in New York City as the child of Korean immigrants – but she discovered that there wasn’t much information out there about papermaking in Korea.
Arnold & Mabel Grummer
In this episode, I’m talking with Mabel Grummer, the wife of Arnold Grummer. Their daughter Kim Schiedermayer is with us too. We talked about Grummer’s career, which eventually led to the family business that Kim still runs today and provides papermaking kits and supplies for educators and artists.
Rachel Hazell divides her time between Edinborough and the isle of Iona in Scotland. We discuss how she teaches five or so workshops in cities around the world (Venice, Iona, Paris anyone)? These sound absolutely delightful – I’ve seen photos of some of the book and paper shops she frequents. Rachel is perhaps the first book artist to offer an online class – you’ll hear about her two popular courses: Paper Love and Book Love as we chat about some of the advantages of taking an online class. And we talk about Rachel’s brand new book: Bound: 15 beautiful bookbinding projects. You’ll hear about some of her favorite tools and papers, how she helps break down the barrier of facing a blank page and her belief that everyone has a book inside of them. Enjoy our conversation!
Laurence Barker is an influencer in the field of Hand Papermaking. Born in 1930, Barker went to Principia College and got his MFA from Cranbrook, where he also ended up teaching from 1960 – 1970 and ran the first classes in hand papermaking at the college level in the US. Several students (and others who visited that studio) went on to become luminaries in the field of hand papermaking. A theme that came up time and again during our conversation was the way Barker followed his intuition. After college, he wrote to Stanley Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris about the potential of studying with him. He never heard back, but he went to Paris, looked up Hayter, and he was able to study with him! Later, he wrote a letter to Dard Hunter asking whether he knew of a beater he might use to set up a papermaking studio at Cranbrook, and Dard Hunter found one for him! And after reading James Michener’s book Iberia, which describes Spain as a place centered around the book, Barker surmised that printing would follow the book, so he moved overseas and started a papermaking studio in Spain. And he was right! Enjoy our conversation.
Hedi Kyle & Ulla Warchol
In this episode, I talk with Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol about their new book called The Art of the Fold. We talk about Hedi’s childhood in postwar Germany, when she made paper dolls and paper chains, among other things and how she ended up in the US after her studies in Germany. Ulla is Hedi’s daughter and grew up in and around Hedi’s studios in the Bay Area and New York City, where she went to the Cooper Union to study architecture. We talk about how this book came about, the process of creating the book – Ulla rendered the illustrations from Hedi’s hand drawn diagrams; her husband Paul Warchol did the photography; and there was a lot of discussion about the belly band – a term I hadn’t heard before! Hedi tells me about a paper made in the Netherlands from the sails of old windmills, and I ask her about the storage system for all of her models. And we talk about some of the clever inventions that are found within the pages of the book.
Paper For Water
Paper For Water is a non-profit organization that raises money to build wells around the world so that everyone will have access to clean water. Listen to Isabelle and Katherine describe how they started the organization with a goal of raising $500 by folding origami ornaments and accepting donations for them when they were 5 and 8 years old. They ended up raising $10,000 and never looked back. Paper for Water has now raised more than $1.3M and has helped fund over 150 water projects in fourteen countries. Trinity talks about how she invented the Candy Dish, which is featured in the 2019 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar. Their father Ken taught the girls origami, which he learned as a child from his Japanese mother and then from the books of Tomoko Fuse, whose modular origami led to the ornaments his girls now create. And their mother Deborah tells us about some of the projects, the volunteers and just how much of a difference kids can make in changing the world.
Melissa Jay Craig
Melissa Jay Craig is a Chicago artist. In this episode, she explains how her first artist’s residency coincided with having just learned about papermaking, and how instead of lugging 400 books to the residency to create the type of work she had been making, she took just two books and some kozo fiber and was able to cast paper-shaped books instead. We discuss a nomadic artistic life comprised of a period in which she traveled around the country doing residencies and teaching gigs. And we touch on one of her works, S/Edition, that ended up going viral by being featured on This is Colossal.
Matt Simpson is founder and CEO of Green Banana Paper in Micronesia. We talk about how Matt ended up on this remote island as a teacher, his desire to stay there and surf, and how he put two and two together when he realized that all of his students were leaving the island to find work and that the banana fiber that had been used to make clothing in the distant past could also be made into paper. Listen to how Green Banana Paper creates jobs through sustainable practices on the tiny island of Kosrae, with a people population of 6000 and a banana tree population of 250,000. It’s fascinating!
Through her practice, which includes art making, writing, curating and teaching, Melissa Potter focuses on traditions that are endangered, underpaid and under-recognized due to industrialization, war, gender bias, and globalization. In this episode, we discuss her Quaker upbringing in New Jersey that instilled her desire to be an activist, 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. We also discuss her career path – as an advocate for artists at the New York Foundation for the Arts, her work through the Fulbright Program to build paper studios at the University of Serbia and the University of Sarajevo and her current position as Associate Professor of Art & Art History at Columbia College Chicago, where some of her goals are to give students who may never have access to a papermaking studio after college a transformative experience and to document the legacy of hand papermaking as a craft form in the United States.
In this episode, Tom Leech tells us about his early memory of the smell of paper, when his missionary aunt sent him toys from Japan wrapped in Japanese paper; his first experience with papermaking when he studied sculpture and printmaking with Winifred Lutz; and how his interest in environmentalism led him to make recycled paper at 18,000 feet on Mt. Everest. He also tells us about reintroducing monks at a monastery in Tibet to hand papermaking and how the word ‘recycled’ wasn’t translatable so the closest they could come was to call it reincarnated paper. At that point, everyone at the monastery was interested!
Pat & Peter Gentenaar
Today I’m talking with husband and wife Pat Gentenaar Torley & Peter Gentenaar in the town of Delft in The Netherlands. Peter & Pat met in the late 60’s at the California College of Arts & Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in Oakland and settled in the Netherlands shortly afterwards. Peter talks about how the struggle to make three dimensional prints led him to envision making his own paper, and how an introduction to commercial papermaking at the Royal Dutch Paper Factory got him started. Pat talks about how studying fiber arts at CCA with well-known fiber artist Trude Gueromonprez ultimately led her to creating pulp paintings before there was even a name for the technique. We discuss how they navigated the financial support system for Dutch artists, raised two daughters, and restored the historic farmhouse where they still live and work.
In this episode, Mina Takahashi reveals how a college internship in Philadelphia planted the seed for her career in hand papermaking, she talks about a key moment when a Japanese papermaker showed her his hands and she understood what it means to dedicate yourself to a process, material and way of life, and she discusses her visit to a Thai village where they made hospital gowns out of handmade paper. We also talk about her work as an advocate and promoter for hand papermaking as an artistic medium as director of Dieu Donne Papermill and her current position as editor of Hand Papermaking Magazine.
In this episode, Sue Gosin discusses her childhood in a commercial papermaking family and her desire to get away from paper. But she saw paper in a new light during her college years at the university of Madison and shortly afterwards moved to NYC to start a paper studio in a loft in Soho in 1976. She tells the story of how the mill almost fell through the floor when they first turned on the Hollander beater and how she met the painter Howard Hodgkin when he walked into her bathroom. We talk about how young the field of hand papermaking was when she started and how she had to find rags in the garment district, research chemicals to come up with the proper pigments for coloring pulp and commissioned a press that looked like a tinker toy compared to the other equipment in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Sue’s journey ends with a glimpse of the show she is currently co-curating with Mina Takahashi at the International Print Center New York, which will tell the story of how hand papermaking has been revolutionized from a craft into an art form.
Priscilla Robinson is an artist who divides her time between studios in Austin, Texas and Taos, New Mexico. In the early 1980’s she began working with handmade paper, when she was exhibiting abstract paintings in Santa Fe. Her work has been shown internationally, she exhibits regularly in national and international galleries and she has created commissions for Boston University, Chevron, Vanderbilt University, and Kaiser Permanente to name a few.
Beck Whitehead is a San Antonio artist who served as Chair of Papermaking and Book Arts at the Southwest School of Art until 2016. In addition she has taught workshops in papermaking around the country and in Canada. Exhibitions include the Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago and the Robert C. Williams American Museum of papermaking in Atlanta.
Shawn Sheehy has been teaching book arts courses and workshops on the national level since 2001. His broadsides and artist book editions have been collected by numerous prestigious institutions, including Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, Library of Congress, UCLA, and Harvard. Sheehy’s trade pop-up book Welcome to the Neighborwood (a mass-market version of his artist book) was released in 2015, winning numerous awards. He’s currently at work on his next trade book—a mass-market version of his artist book Beyond the Sixth Extinction—and it will be released through Candlewick in Autumn 2018. He holds an MFA in the Book Arts from Columbia College Chicago.
Jennifer J. Woodward is an artist and small business owner living and working in Portland, OR. With a background focused on mixed media installation, drawing and papermaking, Jenn is currently exploring the relationship between local and sustainable materials and the themes of empathy, identity and mindfulness in her art practice.
From being a TV commercial producer and director in bombay, Jenny Pinto moved to bangalore 20 years ago where she now lives and has a studio where she and her team make paper from banana and lokta fibres. She also designs and produces a range of lights from both paper and papercrete. Her interest in sustainable materials and practices urges her to keep exploring.
Oblation Papers & Press
Oblation Papers & Press is an urban paper mill, letterpress print shop, hand-bindery and fine paper boutique. Our in-house team of designers releases roughly 30 new items annually, inspired by music, quirky conversation, toys, textiles, travel, food, architecture, literature and historical objects.
Ray Tomasso lives in Colorado where he works as a professional fine artist exhibiting and appearing in corporate, public and private collections internationally.
Michelle Wilson is a printmaker, papermaking, book, installation, and social practice artist. Her practice includes frequent collaborations with other artists, in particular her ongoing projects Book Bombs (with Mary Tasillo) and the Rhinoceros Project (with Anne Beck). Wilson currently teaches printmaking at San Jose State University and Stanford University.
I interviewed Mary Heebner at the CODEX Book Fair in Berkeley, so pardon the background noise and distractions! What I find fascinating about her work is the way that she takes her understanding of paper and the papermaking process and collaborates with experts to create the papers for her books. It is a lovely organic process.
Jillian Bruschera is an interdisciplinary artist and arts-activist creating works in visual art, writing, public installation, body performance, and social practice. Alternating between a studio and a social practice, handmade recycled paper is a primary material for installation, assemblage and performance.
Jill Powers creates environmental art, mixed media sculpture, and installation fiber art with unusual natural materials. Her primary art material is bark fiber, which she has developed as a contemporary art medium. Jill is on Visual Art faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Jill has shown her work internationally, and her work is in private, corporate, and museum collections.
Susan Mackin Dolan
Susan Mackin Dolan was born in a small town in Maine near the northern end of the Appalachian Trail. She received her MFA at the University of Colorado Boulder, in printmaking and papermaking. In 1984 she helped establish the first papermaking studio in south Texas, Picante Papers, at the Southwest School of Art and was the original Chairperson.
Simon Barcham Green
Simon Barcham Green is the sixth generation of the family that ran Hayle Mill, Maidstone from 1812 to 1987. He has a BSc in Paper Science from the University of Manchester and worked in half a dozen machine mills before joining the family business where he introduced the first alkaline sized mould-made water color and hand-made papers in the world.
Mary Hark, Associate Professor in Design Studies, affiliated with African Studies & Art, teaches papermaking and textile design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is invited to conduct workshops and lecture at Art Centers and Universities internationally. She is the proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper where she produces limited editions of high quality handmade papers in collaboration with book designers and artists, as well as paper artworks that have been exhibited internationally.
Amanda Degener graduated from Bennington College and then received an MFA from Yale School of Art. Her work is in countless private collections including Library of Congress, Walker Art Center, and Cowles Media Company and she has collaborated with many talented artists from coast to coast. In 1984 she moved her paper studio to the not-yet-opened Minnesota Center for Book Arts where she was a Founder, their first Artist in Residence and later, their first Artistic Director. Cave Paper was the recipient of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library 2012 Minnesota Book Artist Award sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group based on her work as a production hand papermaker. Degener founded and for eight years co-published Hand Papermaking Magazine, they just had their 30th anniversary. Her community service work includes volunteering for non-for-profits, co-organizing national paper conferences (four of them) and teaching Tai Chi. Degener educates through writing, publishing and traveling to teach and exhibit her work in the United States and in places such as Japan, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Korea, and Taiwan/China.
Bridget O’Malley is a master papermaker and co-owner of Cave Paper Inc., a handmade paper mill specializing in natural dyed flax papers. She is an adjunct professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She offers book, paper, and print workshops around the country. Her artwork focuses on forms found in nature, and bringing those to life through the interplay of print, paper, and sculpture.
Eden Marek is a unicycle-riding, soccer ball-wielding artist from Ames, Iowa. She has a B.A. in Studio Art from Grinnell College, where she graduated in 2015. Eden works in sculpture, hand papermaking, and sound art, preferring to combine all three when possible. A recipient of the Faulconer Gallery Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship, she remained at Grinnell College for a year to assist with the Artists@Grinnell Residency Program, help coach the Grinnell Women’s Soccer Team, and collaborate with sound artist and composer Abby Aresty.
Andrea Peterson is an internationally exhibiting artist and educator. Her work is multifaceted exploring all types of paper fibers and processes and includes paper works, prints, artist books, and environmental installation pieces. She combines paper arts, printmaking and book arts to make works that address human relationship to the environment.
Timothy Barrett is a professor in the University of Iowa Center for the Book and the School of Library and Information Science. He was director of the Center between 1996 and 2002 and became director again in the fall of 2012. His recent research can be found here and by searching “Chancery Papermaking” on YouTube.
Tatiana Ginsberg makes drawings, prints, installations, and books, most of which use her own handmade paper. She studied at the University of Iowa Center for the Book before spending two years in Japan researching naturally dyed papers under a Fulbright grant.
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Catherine Nash specializes in Japanese and Western hand papermaking, encaustic painting and mixed media drawing. She is a teaching artist who balances her studio work with artist-in-resident teaching, lectures and workshops internationally.