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.
Josh Monroe, Staccato Prints: Green/Blue Woodblock and handmade paper, 3.5″ by 3.5″, 2015
It’s a wild, wide world of potential for hand papermaking, especially when paired with other art-making mediums. Paper pulp itself has a huge variety of capabilities, including a remarkable memory suited for casting.
Let’s take a quick look at work by Josh Monroe, an artist who combines printmaking (relief woodcuts) and papermaking.
Who knew that hand papermaking art could be so alive on the internet?
Angie Shen is an artist who works with ceramics, video, web art, installation, and, our favorite, papermaking. She studied papermaking and book arts in Southern California, and took the time to answer a few curious questions for Paperslurry.
Lindsey Beal, The Venus Series: Figure #2, Ambrotype (wet plate collodion on black glass); 3.25″ x 4″; 2010
Hand papermaking’s versatility as an artistic medium makes it an area without defined edges. Combination with other art processes have only just begun being explored. Let’s look at how alternative, or historical, photographic processes and handmade paper can intersect.
Lindsey Beal is an artist, educator, and dear friend of mine, who generously answered a few questions about her work, experience, and thoughts on hand papermaking and photography.