Tucked away in upstate New York, off busy Route 9W, there’s a little nook next to a stream. Quiet, peaceful, and green, this happens to be a site of interest to hand papermakers.
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.
A papermaker, printmaker, and artist living in northern New South Wales, Australia, Heather visited a traditional amate papermaker and several other hand papermaking studios in Mexico.
Amate paper is a pre-Columbian, indigenous papermaking tradition that survives in the small village of San Pablito.
If you’re a hand papermaking geek, you’re going to fall head over heels for The Research Institute of Paper History and Technology.
Tucked away in Brookline, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, is the coolest 100-year-old carriage house in town, housing a paper museum and hand paper making facility.
Once-upon-a-time the only paper you could get was handmade, and ‘Vat Man’ and ‘Coucher’ were non-esoteric job titles.
The process of hand papermaking is a “useful art [that could have an] especially compelling economic rationale,” as this recent New York Times article puts it, in reference to working with your hands.
And, others are feeling a need for “actual, printed-on-paper, snail-mail letters…in envelopes…with stamps” in order to effectively reach their contacts (check out the write-up by Business2community).
History can be an inspiration to such a resurgence of handmade papers, and in turn, more contemporary handmade paper mills like Porridge Papers, Shotwell Paper Mill, Twinrocker, or Carriage House Paper.
Created sometime between 1840 and 1890, this print gives you a glimpse back into the paper industry in Germany. Three men are making paper, one standing at the vat with a mould and deckle, one pressing, and the last applying sizing.
A system that is efficient, sustainable, productive, and even better if you can source local and/or waste fiber (check out what Fresh Press is doing).
Makes you want do some hand papermaking, right? Learning about history is the best.
- See how Christopher James, owner of Porridge Papers: Papermill & Letterpress Studio in Lincoln, Nebraska is making handmade papers from recycled fibers. Watch the Video >
- Watch a real-life replication of the traditional three-person paper making team, capable of making up to 200 sheets per hour. Two-hundred. Sheets. In an hour!
- Go visit some traditional paper mills, like the Museu Molí Paperer de Capellades in Spain.