Leigh Suggs

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.

Continue reading Leigh Suggs

Craig Anczelowitz

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.

Continue reading Craig Anczelowitz

Aimee Lee

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.

Continue reading Aimee Lee

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.

Continue reading Arnold & Mabel Grummer

Rachel Hazell

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!

Continue reading Rachel Hazell

Laurence Barker

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.

Continue reading Laurence Barker

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.

Continue reading Hedi Kyle & Ulla Warchol

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.

Continue reading Paper For Water

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.

Continue reading Melissa Jay Craig

Matt Simpson

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!

Continue reading Matt Simpson

Melissa Potter

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.

Continue reading Melissa Potter

Tom Leech

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!

Continue reading Tom Leech

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.

Continue reading Pat & Peter Gentenaar