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Amy Richard is a native of Miami, Florida. After working for many years as an artist/illustrator, science writer and educator, a fascination with hand papermaking processes led her to complete an MFA in Book Arts at the University of Iowa. Her focus was on Japanese-style papermaking, along with the history, traditions, and the spiritual/ healing aspects of the practice. 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.
Here is Amy Richard’s papermaking on the go set up. So clever, and a back saver too.
We discussed how Richard processes kozo fiber, including her own home grown Florida kozo. Here’s a shot of the hand beating process.
Kozo leaves are so distinctive!
The amount of raw fiber it takes to yield enough to make a batch of paper is astounding. Richards teaches online papermaking courses that go into depth about this and many other facets of hand papermaking.
Amy Richard’s recommendations:
- Richard uses this scallop knife to scrape bark off the kozo.
- She began researching alternatives to the black vats we’ve all been using which contains chemicals that cause cancer. These shallow 3” trays from restaurant suppliers seem safer since they are designed to store food, and they work well in spaces where water has to be controlled.
- Lynn Amlie’s video on papermaking ergonomics.
- She uses this ½ inch styrofoam Polystyrene foam board insulation [16 x 20 inches] as couching boards instead of heavier wood or other alternatives like cardboard.
- Richard’s article in Hand Papermaking: A Papermaker’s Dilemma: Examiningthe Use of Invasive Plants.
- Tim Barrett’s book, European Papermaking.
- Don Farnsworth from Magnolia Edition’s website is a treasure trove of information.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport (“Deep Work” is focused, uninterrupted, undistracted work on a task that pushes your cognitive abilities to their limit.)
Music featuring excerpts of Makin’ Paper folk song by Peter Thomas. Listen to the full song and find out about other paper and book arts folk songs.
Gary A. Hanson did the sound editing for this episode. He practices and refines his skills in audio production while making his own podcast I’ll Have a Beer and Talk, a show about tech news, culture, weird animal stories and of course, beer. Gary is also the Deckle in Pulp & Deckle, a Portland-based community hand papermaking studio.