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Turn the Page, Sing a Line, Form a Sheet:
Hand Papermaking for Artistic Expression
and Social Justice

August 23 - October 8, 2017

eric avery print

Eric Avery, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2000,
linoleum block print on handmade paper, SLU 2004.43

While making paper by hand dates back to China ca. 105 C.E., the practice has only been used as a form of artistic expression in its own right for past century. Dard Hunter is considered a leading 20th-century authority on the craft of handmade paper after his publication of Old Papermaking (1923) and Papermaking by Hand in America (1950), in which he prepared every aspect of each book himself. Hand papermaking in the United States gained further popularity in the 1960s and ’70s through the establishment of small-scale paper mills such as Twinrocker and Dieu Donné and through papermaking studios within the higher academy. At the same time, the use of handmade paper as an art medium in itself, rather than a mere substrate, grew as artists experimented in two-and three-dimensional forms, often creating sculptural works and installations.

sultan and emma making paper

Peace Paper intern Emma Krueger assists Sultan Alawar
in making paper in Hamburg, Germany.

Inspired by Dard Hunter’s legacy and by the more recent socially engaged work of artists such as Eric Avery and John Risseeuw, Drew Matott co-founded two ongoing projects, Combat Paper in 2007 and Peace Paper in 2011. Combat Paper uses papermaking processes as a way for U.S. veterans to share their personal stories through pulping their military uniforms. Since its inception, thousands of veterans have participated in the project, and four permanent studios have been established across the country. Peace Paper is a collaboration among artists, activists, and therapists who use traditional hand papermaking as a form of art therapy, social advocacy, and creative expression. The project has worked with over twenty thousand individuals and has established forty collaborating studios from the United Kingdom to Poland, Turkey, Iran, and Ukraine.

hehmann print

Tanja Hehmann, KENDRA, 2017,
oil on handmade paper, courtesy of the artist

St. Pauli Paper, the European base of Peace Paper, was formed in 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. Jana Schumacher, a fine artist and co-founder of the studio, focuses on using handmade paper in her own drawings and site-specific installations.  She also leads workshops at low-income schools and refugee centers in the region. For the exhibition at St. Lawrence University, Drew and Jana invited eleven fine artists from Hamburg to work with handmade paper for the first time to explore its creative potential. The artists attended initial papermaking workshops at St. Pauli Paper and then returned to complete individual projects utilizing their new skills.

New works by eleven German artists, including sculptural works and installations, are featured in the exhibition, along with artworks created through Combat Paper and the Peace Paper Project and artworks selected from St. Lawrence University’s permanent collection.

Sultan Alawar
Markus Armbrecht
Paul Gregor
Tanja Hehmann
Gitte Jabs
Stephan Jäschke
Thomas Judisch
Nina Küchler
Michael Rockel
Verena Schöttmer
Malte Struck

la falce pulp print
John LaFalce (Peace Paper), £€$$, 2012,
pulp print on handmade paper

John Risseeuw, Strange Fruit, 2002, letterpress, polymer relief,
and hand-coloring on handmade paper, 4/23, SLU 2017.16

NCPR's Todd Moe interviewed Drew Matott and Jana Schumacher on October 13, 2017. For more information.


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