Performance, Handmade Paper, and Language: Soliloquy in English by Patrick Blenkarn


Hand papermaking allows an artist to take ownership of their materials. Choosing a fiber for paper pulp, making handmade paper, creating the final form—papermaking is a mutable art medium that allows for a multitude of options. When used in interdisciplinary manner, the process can be a way to add context, content, and meaning to an art piece.

Patrick Blenkarn is a Canadian artist based in Vancouver who recently created Soliloquy in English, a performance piece about English as a second language. It uses a rich combination of materials: words spoken aloud, a book containing varied experiences, and paper handmade from a secondhand dictionary.

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Money! Paper! Let’s Visit the Crane Museum

paper, papermaking, paper money, crane paper

How does that crumpled twenty bucks survives the terrors of the washing machine, while your grocery list disintegrates into oddly shaped white fluff in your pant pocket?

To answer these paper thoughts, let’s take a short internet tour of the Crane Museum, and spend a moment with the intrigues behind the paper made for United States currency.

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Stare at This Handmade Paper Watermark (Animated GIF)

Handmade paper watermark

Elusive, mysterious, surprising. Watermarks can be an art form, a papermaker’s mark, security method, or design effect unique to paper.

Regardless of purpose, it’s an eye-widening moment when you hold a deceptively blank sheet of paper to light and a hidden image suddenly appears.

How does this work?

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The Papermaker’s Bookshelf: 4 Great Resources for Your Studio

Hand papermaking books

While the internet is full of eye-catching papermaking videos and illustrative blog posts, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin. One great way to switch up your research routine is to turn to the classic standby–a good old fashioned book!

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Women’s Studio Workshop: Innovators in Papermaking, Book Arts & More

Women's Studio Workshop

Papermaking as fine art is a new, growing seedling compared to the long history that painting, sculpture, or even photography has.

So. Who are the innovators driving contemporary hand papermaking practices?

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