Reading Road Studio

Paper Talk
Paper Talk
Helen Frederick

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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. Her work has been exhibited at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan, and is in collections of the Whitney Museum and Brooklyn Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., among many others. She has received theSouthern Graphic Council International Printmaker Emeritus Award, the College Art Association Distinguished Teacher Award, and was invited into the Feminist Art Basearchive, the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Frederick is an alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design and a Professor Emerita in the School of Art at George Mason University. Throughout her life, Frederick’s passion for diverse cultures and histories has led her to travel to observe the material cultures of many societies, their skills and ideas and to make connections among disparate cultural traditions. She has fulfilled speaking engagements around the world, always emphasizing collaboration across disciplines.  She serves as the organizational curator for the Kala Chaupal Trust, New Delhi, India.

Below you see Randi Reiss-McCormack and Preston Sampson working in Reading Road Studio on pulp paintings with stencils and brushwork, sizes 42″ x 22″.

Frederick’s private Reading Road Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland, provides collaborative opportunities for artists interested in works in and on paper, constructions, artist books, and critical conversations about social justice, cultural and visual literacy.

Milestones were specifically designed as a sequence of 7 images. Words received from over 100 participants who answered a question “Milestones for Hope” are embedded, printed or wrapped around the ellipses in the works. The ellipses are a reference to the shape of a satellite disc that receives information. The various found algorithms from all the participants are hand applied to create each construction as a unique work, some even distorted in shrinkage of the paper, rather than editioned by a uniform print media. The sequence of the images goes from flat to dimensional distortion, to purposefully illustrate the environmental changes found in nature – such as oil spills, dried riverbeds, and water desecration. One construction with dense collages words and an uneven ellipse, and another featuring an implied lasso for social danger, are the last two in the series.

MILESTONES, 2020. 1 of 7 in a series of pulp painting constructions with wrapped word ellipses, 48″ x 48″ x 3”

PARADOX, 2020, 18″ x 18″, Flax pulp painting


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.