The Sunday Paper #320
July 12, 2020

Papermaker of the Week: Pamela Paulsrud

I had the recent pleasure of talking with Pamela Paulsrud on Paper Talk. Pam 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. 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. Enjoy our conversation!


Inside the Studio: Paper + Light, Oh My!

If you follow me on Instagram, check out the single sheet lanterns that participants in my summer online class, Paper + Light have been working on this week. I’m working a bit ahead of the class, writing instructions and shooting videos for Week 5, when we’ll be applying konnyaku, crumpling paper and stitching illuminated paper forms. You can join us for Session 2 – it begins on August 3rd and runs for 4 weeks.


Papery Tidbits

  • Speaking of Paper + Light, Kyoko Ibe has worked wonders with both for many years. Don’t miss “Between Eye and Light,” a special online Zoom event on July 15 to celebrate the publication of the Paper in Performance (Summer 2020) issue of Hand Papermaking magazine.


In 2019, Melanie Mowinski used ‘obstructions’, or constraints from family and friends who know her work well, to create something that reframed the divisive events occurring in our country at that moment. With The Obstruction Project, the resulting creations range from traditional letterpress prints to handmade paper, outdoor sculptures, wall drawings, sculptural objects and more. Some of the artworks were impossible to edition. For those months, Melanie created companion pieces that complement and extend the experience of the original works, sometimes using letterpress, other times creating stickers, and digital prints on rag paper. One month she even printed on paper made from her 50 year old baby diapers (pictured below).

100% of the profits from Obstruction Project sales is being donated towards anti-racist efforts including Multicultural Bridge, Campaign Zero, Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Civil Rights Museum, Black Women in Visual Art, The Sentencing Project, and Black Women in Politics.

Hand Papermaking Magazine is having a really cool fundraiser called The Handmade Paper Wheel of Fortune. Sixty contemporary papermakers and paper artists (including yours truly – those are my papers pictured below) have donated bundles of 10-12 sheets of medium-sized handmade and/or hand-decorated paper. YOU can receive a surprise bundle by making a contribution of $100. Everyone who “spins” wins a bundle of handmade paper!

I’m seeing illuminated paper everywhere! These cool objects were shared over in The Paper Studio, my facebook group. Kell Black created the shadow puppet theater for dinner table entertainment, and Elliot Fan made the sculptural light box. You have to answer three easy questions to join The Paper Studio (this keeps trolls away) – please join us!
Check out this work by Tai Hwa Goh that recently debuted (virtually) at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Target Gallery. Goh created these flowers, with the intention of making us understand the relationship between organic growth and human desire, using printed and cut wax paper.
Need a crash course in basic papermaking? I wrote this article for beginners a couple of years ago.
Featured this week in my Studio shop:
Paper + Light Online Class, Water Paper Time, Sound Blocks: Make your own set of paper vowels, and Playing With Paper.


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