HAND PAPERMAKING RESOURCES
A Personal Annotated Bibliography
of Hand Papermaking Resources
For general inspiration and to accompany “Studying Hand Papermaking,”
Hand Papermaking Newsletter No. 131
The following is a list of books and resources I’ve found to be useful for studying traditional and contemporary aspects of hand papermaking including its history, technical (‘how to’) aspects and creative innovations that have emerged in recent decades. This is a work in progress, representing only a sampling of what is available. I welcome suggestions from readers [or publishers].
Listed in alphabetical order by author, curator, and/or editor:
Japanese Papermaking: Traditions, Tools and Techniques
Floating World Editions, 2005. First edition 1983. (317 pages)
The culmination of Timothy Barrett’s Fulbright research in Japan from 1975-77, this book is essential for anyone wanting to make washi (Japanese-style paper). With no experience what-so-ever I was able to figure out how to make paper from the paper mulberry I’d harvested in my yard. Lots of information written in an enjoyable conversational style with wonderful details about the culture and traditions Barrett experienced during his time in Japan.
Appendix One on alternative fibers [by Winifred Lutz] is a gold mine as well. Appendixes Two and Three include sample Test Record [blank] template, supplier list, metric conversion chart, additional detailed notes about each chapter, full glossary, bibliography and index.
European Papermaking: Traditions, Tools and Techniques
Ann Arbor Michigan: The Legacy Press, 2018. (334 pages)
This recent book on European papermaking is a MUST-have for the serious papermaker as it represents Barrett's life work of studying and teaching the traditions, tools, and technical aspects of European papermaking down to the cellular level of the paper. His easy-going conversational (but very detailed) narrative makes this the closest thing to taking a class with him but allows one to return to specific details over and over again.
After having studied with Barrett at the University of Iowa, Center for the Book, I was amazed to re-discover details I’d forgotten after returning home following graduate school and am so grateful that he has published this treasure trove. The Appendixes alone are worth their weight in gold:
Appendix A includes internet resources
Appendix B covers a breadth of miscellaneous topics such as factors affecting quality in paper, permanence and durability, aethetics, careers, troubleshooting
Appendix C covers mould and deckle construction by Timothy Moore
Appendix D includes all sorts of recommended resources like beater construction, watermarking, artistic techniques, etc.
AND THEN there is the detailed glossary and index AND three handmade paper specimens tucked inside the pages.
Basbanes, Nicholas A.
ON PAPER: The Everything of its Two-Thousand-Year History
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. 2013. (430 pages)
This substantial treatise by Nicholas Basbanes, an investigative journalist and self-professed bibliophile, makes for an engaging read and is great for revisiting over and over again when one just wants to revel in a well-told story about the “everything” of paper. True to his goal of exploring the idea of paper more than its chronological history, he covers a wide range of topics above and beyond the usual paper-history narrative, including its role in the development of art, architecture, currency, war, munitions, and international relations, to name a few. There is so much here that I find myself returning to it often and revisiting various chapters, just because.
Deutschman, Cindi (editor)
Mason Milani and Aimee Lee (Co-curators)
Revive and Renew: Contemporary Artists and Eastern Papers
(August 1 – September 20, 2014)
Cleveland, OH: Morgan Conservatory. 2014.
An exhibition catalog featuring works by 13 contemporary paper artists currently working with eastern paper: Tom Balbo, Velma Bolyard, Melissa Jay Craig, Tatiana Ginsberg, Yuko Kimura, Aimee Lee, Bill Lorton, Pamela McKee, Julie McLaughlin, Emma Nishimura, Bridget O’Malley, Jill Powers and Julie Sirek. The exhibit was curated is by Mason Milani and Aimee Lee with the goal of celebrating “Asian papermaking traditions in an American setting,” while also promoting the new Eastern Paper studio at the Morgan Conservatory.
As Lee explains in her introduction, the exhibit is a response to the those who ask, “What do you do with this [Eastern-style] paper?” and provides an impressive variety of works from paper garments, to etchings and aquatints on kozo papers, sculptural pieces made with woven shifu, twisted and dyed kozo bark, kozo paper hangings with elegant watermarks, etc. Brief statements provide helpful insights into the aesthetic considerations of the artist, all of which seem to have been involved in Eastern-style papermaking at the Morgan at some point. If one is paying attention, there is much to be gleaned from the biographical information about various locations where one can study eastern papermaking as well as apply for potential artist fellowships.
Donlon, Bridget (curator)
Munich / London / New York: Wellin Museum of Art and DelMonico Books/Prestel. 2016. (125 pages)
Published in conjunction with the exhibition, Pure Pulp: Contemporary Artists Working in Paper at Dieu Donne, this book is a wonderful celebration of the papermaking innovations that happen on a regular basis at Dieu Donne studio in New York. Featuring twenty artists who participated in the organization’s Workspace and Lab Grant residency programs, Pure Pulp rightfully brings attention to spirit of experimentation and tremendous technical expertise of Dieu Donne artists/collaborators Amy Jacobs, Lisa Switalski, and [former artistic director] Paul Wong as they work with visiting artists to develop a wide range of work including artist books, two- dimensional works and sculpture of every dimension. Conversations with the collaborators, artist statements, and images of works in the exhibition bring it all to life along with additional insights by the curator, Dieu Donne director and more.
Solid sustenance our creative papermaking souls.
PAPERMAKING: How to Make Handmade Paper for Printmaking, Drawing, Painting, Relief and Cast Forms, Book Arts and Mixed Media
New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. 1978 (cloth) 1997 (paper). 216 pages.
After revisiting this book after many years, I realized it is the closest thing to a papermaking textbook that I’ve seen yet. However, instead of starting with a chronological history, which is where most papermaking books seem to start, Heller begins with a little theory by asking “Why make your own paper?” (in the 20th and 21st century) and “What is paper?” and then proceeds to answer these questions while also discussing the role paper plays in our lives historically and today. Heller then offers a thorough review of the history of paper and the evolution of the tools used to make it. This is followed by detailed information about space and equipment needed to make paper (with examples of papermakers and mills), mixed with lots more history and theory.
Numerous sidebars are sprinkled throughout, providing invaluable anecdotes including a vignette by Benjamin Franklin on Eastern papermaking, and short descriptions about techniques used by paper artists such as Winifred Lutz. Chapter 7, provides an alphabetized list of problems commonly encountered when producing handmade paper, accompanied with potential solutions. Super helpful! Chapter 8 covers “variations in papermaking,” a broad survey of paper works, including sculpture made in the 1960s and 70s in the United States and abroad, featuring more than 50 artists, including: Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Christo, and Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. Chapters 9 and 10 provide an overview of recycling, unusual papers and also cast paper, in the form of statements by artists who are using the relevant processes.
The final chapter is a review of the history of paper, mixed with more theory and musings, followed by a “Concise Biased Chronology” of the history of papermaking, metric chart, glossary, suppliers list (albeit outdated), an impressive bibliography and index.
The Papermaker's Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Making and Using Handmade Paper
Pownal, Vermont: Storey Publishing. 2000. 224 pages.
Another must-have resource for anyone wanting to teach themselves how to make paper. Heibert provides a solid overview of all aspects of the papermaking process — from growing and harvesting plants to techniques (dyeing, embossing, and laminating). My own copy of this book is well worn and for good reason.
Hiebert deserves lots of credit for making hand papermaking so accessible to so many of us us over the years. Illustrations by Alison Kolesar provide great visual information as well.
NOTE: Hiebert also produced a video that serves as a visual guide to this book, organized into six chapters: studio set-up, collecting fiber, beating pulp, using additives, making paper and creative papermaking techniques. Also available for instant download online:
Papermaking with Plants: Creative Recipes and Projects Using Herbs,
Flowers, Grasses, and Leaves
Pownal, Vermont: Storey Books. 1998. (108 pages)
Hiebert’s step-by-step instructions makes papermaking seem so much easier and less intimidating – especially if you’re trying it out on your own with no prior experience. Provides thorough and easy to follow directions including how to collect and harvest plant fibers, process the fiber, press, dry and finish the paper using both Eastern and Western papermaking methods. She also covers how to embellish paper with natural dyes and decorative materials and some unique techniques such as vegetable papyrus paper, collage, lampshades and books. An inspiration to read and a spark for creative ideas!
London, UK: Thames And Hudson. Soft Cover. 1980. (100 pages)
A visual feast and perfect for reading during summer months; Hockney’s pulp paintings provide a cooling, soothing respite from the heat. Working with Ken Tyler studio, Hockney created a series of original pulp prints to depict images of the interplay of light and water in a swimming pool during the day and night. Wonderful to read Hockney’s approach to this technique, which he was using for the first time and analysis of how the papermaking process helped loosen up – sacrificing his usual tight control for strong abstract shapes. Also, lots of useful visual information in the photographs of the pulp painting technique used, applying pigmented pulp within metal stencils laid on top of a base sheet of handmade paper.
An Alabama Kozo Primer: An Account Of The Recognition Of The Paper Mulberry Tree As It Grows In The United States, And, Most Particularly As It Grows In Alabama
Parallel Editions. 1995. Paperback. (41 pages)
A self-published book (available only in select libraries by doing a search in WorldCat), this is a personal account written by (the late) Glenn House, a papermaker and printmaker from Gordo, Alabama and provides a wonderful example of someone with true passion for papermaking. House describes his discovery of kozo trees growing on the University of Alabama campus and the epiphany he had when he realized that is was abundant in the community and available for harvest and papermaking.
Washi: The World of Japanese Paper
Tokyo, New York and San Francisco: Kodansha International Ltd. 1978. (360 pages)
This is another one of my ‘go-to’ books when I need a little cheering up or inspiration. Nothing better than settling into a comfortable chair with this encyclopedia-size book in my lap for an afternoon of reading about the fascinating history of washi (Japanese-style paper) and the exhaustive overview the author provides of the many kinds of washi, related crafts and traditions she researched when in Japan in the 1970s. Eighty pages of black and white photographic plates by Mary Cooper provide an incredibly inspiring compliment to Hughe’s thorough and fascinating narrative. So happy to finally have a copy of this book!
Papermaking: The History and Technique of An Ancient Craft
New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. An unabridged republication of the second edition originally published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York in 1947) 1978. (602 pages)
A detailed history about hand papermaking around the world, compiled by Dard Hunter, the “father’ of the handmade paper renaissance that emerged in US, the 1920s, as part of the craft movement, a reaction to the new industrialization taking place a the time.
The book is the culmination of more than forty years of Hunter’s travel and research from all parts of the world: “traveling hundreds of thousands of miles” as he describes. This book represents a selection of the research that was originally published in more than a dozen books as limited editions and now out of print.
Chapter topics include writing substances of the ancients; the “invention” of paper by Ts’Ai Lun;
the papermaking mould, beating of papermaking materials; early papermaking processes, watermarking; chronolgy of papermaking and allied subjects and a bibliography of 200 works about papermaking orgainzed into four distinct sections.
Paper: Paging Through History
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016. (416 pages)
The third book published about the history of paper in recent years (by different authors), Kurlansky covers much of the same territory on early writing systems and languages, but also offers new material. The history of Arab-world paper is not as robust as Monro’s, but I was glad to see the topic is finally gaining the respect it deserves. He also deserves credit for including the history of paper in Mexico’s Aztec and Mayan cultures which, like Arab-world paper, deserves much more attention. Kurlansky dedicates a robust amount of space on the topic which will hopefully inspire more scholarship. Detailed accounts of the evolution of European printing, including a section on musical notation and a lengthy discussion of Albrecht Dürer, was a captivating addition to the subject of paper as well as several later chapters that provide an expanded look at paper’s influence on art, including a number of contemporary Asian paper artists. Worth the read and worthy of adding to one’s library.
Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking
Ann Arbor, Michigan: The Legacy Press, 2012 [194 pages]
In this first English-language book about hanji (Korean-style handmade paper), author Aimee Lee shares her experience as a Korean-American artist and Fulbright fellow on her search for a traditional Korean papermaking teacher. Documenting her journey with wonderful written narrative and photographs, Lee takes the reader along as she meets papermakers, scholars, artists, and villagers who still practice this ancient craft and art. Lee covers a host of subjects related to hanji including jiseung (the ancient practice of twisting paper into cords and then weaving them into objects), natural dyeing and calligraphy. It’s a joy to read and discover another little-known facet of hand papermaking [until now].
The Paper Trail
New York, NY. Alfred A. Knopf. 2014. (386 pages)
Monro’s book about paper is the second of three major books pusblished on the subject of paper between 2013 and 2017 (by different authors). Offering a refreshing change from the usual Western narrative, Monro provides an in-depth examination of Asia’s paper, writing, and printing history, reserving Europe and Gutenberg for the last hundred pages. Monro’s background as researcher and reporter for Reuters Shanghai provides a nuanced knowledge of China that has clearly been influenced by his personal travels there including retracing (on horseback) the same route Genghis Khan took through Mongolia. A lengthy overview of paleography and early calligraphy in central and south Asia is greatly appreciated, as well as papermaking in the Arab world and the monumental influence it had on Islam and the Koran. A definite must for a papermaker’s library.
Ginko Press, Inc.
Guangzhou, China: Sandu Publishing. 2012. Print.
A contemporary 250-page photo picture book of all sorts of arrangements of cut, folded, twisted and stenciled papers that range in size from small artist books to large-scale installations, environments and paper fashion design. A great book to browse for ideas or inspiration for cut paper works, but not much here in the way of content though there are a few exceptions. The most interesting pieces (to me) were calligraphic line drawings made with liquid pulp (pg 124-25). A short essay is provided in the front, by a paper designer from Brazil, Jum Nakao and paper artist Ingrid Siliakus, from the Netherlands.
A good example of how paper art has crossed cultural boundaries and become a major element in contemporary design, book arts, fine art, sculpture and conceptual art.
Paper Now: Bent, Molded and Manipulated (catalog)
Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art and the Indiana University Press. 1986. Print.
A catalog documenting an exhibit curated by Jane Glaubinger, at the Cleveland Museum of Art:
After a two-year search throughout the United States, Glaubinger chose the works of twenty-one artists who use paper as a predominant medium for their work to “…extend paper’s parameters in some way past its previous role as a benign support for drawing or printmaking.” In her introductory essay, “The American Paper Renaissance” she provides an excellent overview of how paper evolved from being the main topic (i.e., when it emerged on the art scene as a new experimental medium in the 1960s and 1970s), to being accepted and embraced by contemporary artists and serving only as a means to an end. “Like any media, its suitability is gauged by the way it interacts with other factors.”
Big picture: this is an important exhibit (and catalog) providing a survey of artists and achievements in the use of paper as an expressive medium in the late 20th century. Featuring 34 works, about half of them are sculptural. The artists: Suzanne Anker, Baychar, Barton Lidice Benes, Zigi Ben-Haim, Glen Brill, Ching Ho Cheng, Kathryn Clark, Chuck Close, Eve Eisenstadt, Donald Farnsworth, Caroline Greenwald, Diane Katsiaficas, Winifred Lutz, Rosemary Mayer, Nance O’Banion, Allegra Ockler, Czashka Ross, Michelle Stuart, Claire Van Vliet, Pat Warner and Martha Zelt. It was noted when researching the terms “handmade paper + sculpture,” that this was one of a handful of exhibit catalogs that popped up. Kind of shocking but it might also mean that paper has indeed melded into the general topic of sculpture. It’s beyond the scope of this project to find out, but worth investigating with more time.
The Handmade Paper Object: An Exhibition
Santa Barbara, CA: The Santa Barbara Museum of Art 1976. Print.
One of several catalogs of art exhibits featuring artworks made with handmade paper in the United States in the 1970s. Twenty-seven artists are featured in this hardbound book (8.5 x 10 inches). Many of them are individuals who repeatedly appear in other exhibit catalogs from the late 1970s: Suzanne Anker, John Babcock, Dominic Di Mare, Karen Emonts, William Fares, Bella Feldman, Nancy Genn, Sam Gilliam, Charles Hilger, Clinton Hill, John Koller, Karen Laubhan, Kathryn Lipke, Winifred Lutz, Ron Mallory, Manuel Neri, Kenneth Noland, Bob Nugent, Harold Paris, James Pernotto, Howardena Pindell, Roland Poska, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Royce, Sandra Rubin, Jody Shields and Michelle Stuart.
An essay about the history and craft of hand papermaking and glossary of terminology were included in this exhibition catalog—an indication of just how new this medium/process was at the time. A time-capsule on techniques and aesthetic considerations of the time. Black and white photos of the works are limited along with the sparse text. One of the most valuable things about this book is the six-page bibliography, which provides numerous leads on articles about the featured artists, many of which were (surprisingly) published in Art in America, Artforum, American Artist, Artsmagazine, in addition to Craft Horizons and related craft publications. The are also numerous references to a journal called The Paper Maker, which appeared to have been published in the 1950s. More to research!
Laing, Ellen Johnston and Helen Hui-Ling Liu
UP IN FLAMES: The Ephemeral Art of Pasted-Paper Sculpture in Taiwan
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 2004. Print.
A fascinating look at the Chinese custom of burning paper objects as a means of transmitting messages to the unseen spirit world and as a way of supplying the deceased with what they need in the afterlife. According to the authors, the craft of pasted-paper sculptures that are used for these purposes has received little scholarly attention.
This book caught my attention due to a personal interest in the spiritual aspects of paper that is so prevalent in China and other Asian countries. Topics include an overview of Chinese funerary beliefs and its history; ceremonies and paper sculptures in late twentieth-century Taiwan; craftsmen and suppliers; traditional materials, tools and techniques; and the craft of paper sculpture as art. Again, not directly related to contemporary paper art and sculpture but a foundation for understanding the history of paper in other cultures and some of the ideas that exist in our contemporary world and at times, cross over cultural boundaries.
An abundance of illustrations and photos bring this topic to life, as well as the detailed compendium of sorts about various artisans who continue to make these paper sculptures today, with much information about their paper production shops and live demonstrations on the street to attract customers. Something to think about…
Lovatt, Anna [editor]
Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature
United Kingdom: University of Nottingham. 2013. Print.
A mongraph published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name. I learned of this artist purely by accident while looking up the term “samara” and randomly finding an image (online) of an artwork that was nearly identical to a piece I had done—an arrangement of actual maple seeds into handmade paper. Stunned, I looked up the artist’s name and found this published monograph.
While scanning the150-plus pages, 9.5x11.5 inches in dimension, I was dumbfounded by similarities in content and how universal our shared themes seem to be, stretching across generations, even if her work is much bigger, more advanced and sophisticated than my own. Filled with decades of work related to the imprints and traces left behind in nature, Stuart used paper as both substrate and sculpturally. Anyone interested in contemporary sculpture about the natural environment and the dialogue that can occur between artist and his/her surroundings should see this book and her work.
Five essays, including one interview with Stuart, delve into different facets of her work beginning in the 1970s with site-specific pieces, including integrating paper in the environment, or vice versa, mixed media book forms, archaeological tools, and much more. A true inspiration.
Longenecker, Martha [editor]
Paper Innovations: Handmade Paper and Handmade Objects Of Cut, Folded And Molded Paper.
La Jolla, CA: Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art. 1985. Print.
A documentary publication of the Mingei International Museum’s exhibition, the declared purpose of the exhibit and the 128-page catalog is to deepen the viewers’ sensitivity and understanding of the nature of paper by providing a “glimpse of our rich international heritage in the innovative heritage in the innovative making of paper and art objects of paper.” Contents include a collection of essays about the history of handmade paper beginning with the invention of paper in China and then jumping to Japanese textiles, paper folding, Chinese paper cuts, kites, marbleized papers and finishing with papier-mache. The essay about Japanese textiles was written by Sukey Hughes—a good sign—however, there is a noticeable absence of information about Korea, although several of the examples (pictured) of Japanese textiles are from Korea. Many of the 300 works that were featured in the exhibit represent geographical parts of the world where paper holds important aesthetic significance including: Egypt, China, India, England, France and other parts of Europe, as well as the United States.
While this book is not directly related to contemporary paper and/or sculpture, it does provide a survey of the history of the crafts that influenced and inspired many contemporary paper artists. One pleasant surprise is an illustrated map (spanning two pages) that depicts the “journey of papermaking from China to Europe,” which took 1000 years. This is the best illustration I’ve seen, after having spent many hours seeking something like this online (apparently it was from Papermaking Through Eighteen Centuries by Dard Hunter, used with permission from Dover Publications, 1978).
Ownby, Joanna C.
Paper Art: A Survey of the Work of Fifteen Northern California Paper Artists
A Catalog by the Crocker Art Museum. January 17 – March 1, 1981. Sacramento, CA. Print.
A pamphlet-style catalog of 40 pages, with an introduction by Joanna Ownby, this is yet another small time capsule of paper works from the late 1970s. Featured artists include: John Babcock, Dominic Di Mare, Charles Hilger, Karen Jean Jenkins, Laura Anne Koch, Karen Laubhan, Diana Emerson Marto, George Miyasaki, Bob Nugent, Nance O’Banion, Harold Paris, Joanne Rruff, Judy Averbuck Sohigian, Coleen Barry-Wilson and Joseph Zirker). One paragraph of biographical information and the titles of the five or six pieces by each artist are included, along with one color photo of the artists’ work. Bob Nugent discusses each artist and their work in an essay in the front of the booklet. The color photography is a big improvement from earlier catalogs but the lack of information is disappointing.
While looking through the catalog, it becomes apparent how these works are early in the evolution of the revival of hand papermaking in the United States. The pieces are all a bit raw and many still seem to be about the paper itself. An interesting piece of papermaking history.
Rubin, David S.
Paper Art: A Catalog by the Lang Art Gallery. November 9 – December 21, 1977.
Claremont, California: Trustees of Scripps College. 1977. Print.
A modest catalog of 32 pages, this pamphlet style booklet provides a sampling of artists working with handmade paper in the 1970s in the United States. Curators Neda Al-Hilali and David S. Rubin organized the show to acknowledge “works in paper, particularly because it is in this medium that some of the most exciting developments in the visual arts today are taking place.” Twenty-two artists are featured including: Marsia Alexander, Neda Al-Hilali, John Babcock, Dominic L. De Mare, Don Farnsworth, Nancy Glenn, Charles Hilger, Charles Christopher Hill, Clinton Hill, Sandy Kinnee, Karen Laubhan, Jay McCafferty, Manuel Neri, Bob Nugent, Nance O’Banion, Harold Paris, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Royce, Allen Ruppersberg, Ursula Schneider, David Smith and Keith Sonnier. One black and white photo accompanies each short abstract about the artists, along with brief bibliographies.
An important piece of hand papermaking history in the United States, serving as another papermaking time capsule. It’s interesting to compare the names that appear in this catalog with similar exhibitions/catalogs from the 1980s and 1990s, to see who remained in this arena through the decades.
Smith, Gloria Smolek
Teaching Hand Papermaking: A Classroom Guide
(with a question and answer section on the science of papermaking by Timothy Barrett)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Zpaperpress. 1995 (181 pages)
An excellent resource for anyone wanting to teach papermaking, providing all sorts of great activities for the classroom or home exploration, there is a wealth of ideas and techniques for engaging children of all ages through papermaking! Written by a former school teacher, the techniques Smolek provides have been field tested and also vetted to fit into any curricula including science, math, social studies and language arts.
Rags to Riches: 25 Years of Paper Art from Dieu Donné Papermill
New York, NY 2001. Print.
Since 1976, the Dieu Donné papermill, founded by Sue Gosin and Bruce Wineberg, has been cultivating a space for contemporary artists to explore the possibilities for artistic expression through handmade paper. While it is certainly not comprehensive, the essays in this exhibition catalog (i.e., a companion to an exhibition celebrating their 25th anniversary) offer a good entry point. “A Brief Look at Contemporary Paper Art” (Hansen) is a concise overview of the renaissance of hand papermaking in the U.S. beginning in the late 19th century. Sue Gosin’s essay, “The Sacred and the Commonplace” provides a brief history the Dieu Donné papermill, which is helpful to anyone contemplating a similar endeavor. The third essay, an interview with Paul Wong, long-time Artistic Director for Dieu Donné and paper artist in his own right, provides many insights into the inner workings of the papermill and the collaborative process that put Dieu Donne “on the map.” The final essay “Techniques and Creativity in Contemporary Papermaking” (Donne Stein) provides a solid survey of the possibilities found in paper through nearly 40 contemporary artists who have explored this medium in two- and three-dimensional formats at Dieu Donné. A short list includes: Chuck Close, Alan Shields, Linda Benglis, Barbara Bloom, Bart Wasserman, Mary Judge, Melvin Edwards, Amanda Guest, Jim Dine, Winifred Lutz, Arlene Shechet, Nancy Cohen and Paul Wong.
The Art and Craft of Handmade Paper
Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. 1990. (112 pages) [Unabridged, slightly corrected republication of work originally published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, NY, NY 1977]
A classic overview of papermaking and its creative potential, Studley provides a great introduction that covers a lot of ground with a surprising amount of detail that inspires one to roll up their sleeves and start making paper. Beginning with the origin and development of paper, he quickly moves on to information and illustrations that enable the reader to learn the needed materials, tools, and equipment along with lots of inspiration for experimentation. Another oldie but goodie!
Takahashi, Mina [Editor]
Minneapolis, MN: Hand Papermaking, Inc.
A bi-annual magazine and quarterly newsletter; an invaluable resource for learning about handmade paper art and a host of processes, traditions, techniques from around the world, etc. Every issue of the magazine and newletter are treasures!! Established in 1986 by Amanda Degener and Michael Durgin. As described by the organization: “HAND PAPERMAKING’s print and online publications chronicle the finest work in the field, while advancing the scholarship and production of handmade paper and paper art.” Salute!
The following are examples of hand selected articles with special emphasis on sculptural paper:
"Casting to Acknowledge the Nature of Paper”
Hand Papermaking Volume 1. No 1 (1986): 16-23. Print.
A journal article written by one of the biggest names in the Renaissance of hand papermaking. Winifred Lutz provides a distillation of one of her more comprehensive lecture-demonstrations on casting techniques for paper. From this vantage point (in 2015), it appears to have been an epiphany for many paper artists. A must read for anyone interested in the history and technique of sculptural paper in the United States. She covers fiber types and pulp preparation, how to deal with shrinkage problems in casting, the use of rigid mold systems and laminate casting, including techniques for working with high shrinkage bast fibers. Note to self: Read this many times.
“Kwang young Chun: Korean Mulberry Paper Paintings and Sculpture”
Hand Papermaking Volume 21. No 2 (2006): 40-41. Print.
A review of an exhibit held simultaneously in two galleries (The Kim Foster Gallery and Michelle Rosenberg Gallery in New York City), this article is a mind-blower is to be digested slowly and repeatedly. The featured artist, Korean-born Kwang-young Chun, elevates paper sculpture to new and towering heights with his Aggregation work. Forgive me for quoting directly from the text but there’s no sense in trying to describe in my own inadequate words: “The artist uses vintage hanji paper (often a half-century old) gathered from many sources such as books and packaging that he has systematically gathered and cataloged over decades on his travels throughout Korea’s rapidly fading rural villages. In some sense, he could be seen as hanji’s cultural ambassador who has taken into account this material’s origin, rich history, and role in the everyday, mindful of its aesthetic and symbolic value in Korea’s past and present.”
Chun takes these papers and carefully wraps them around triangular shards of (finger sized?) Styrofoam, which are then tied ‘round with tiny mulberry threads, like a Christmas package. The newly wrapped shards are secured to rigid support surfaces to create enormous (floor to ceiling) spherical and/or egg-shaped constructions. As the author describes, “Chun’s searing work, which marries from and content so distinctly, stood out as a public expression of something unforgettably, hauntingly personal.” Yet another artist to research further. Must know more!*** A prime candidate for consideration for reading/analysis for Book Arts Seminar class. ***
Hand Papermaking Volume 6. No 1 (1991): 2-7. Print.
Written in 1991, this article provides an interesting vantage point on the evolution of paper as a sculptural medium—an outgrowth of the hand papermaking revival of the 1960s and 70s. The author discusses six artists who use paper sculpturally but in very different ways: Pat Alexander began working in cast paper as an alternative to ceramics, using it for large installations (12 x 16 feet). Therese Zemlin also came to paper as a solution to the much heavier case cement she’d been working with to build large constructions (e.g., “Tower of Balls”); Karen Stahlecker began working with Eastern papermaking fibers (kozo, mitsumata and gamgi), after attending a workshop by Tim Barrett in the 1980s, which inspired her to adopt an aesthetic of archival quality and respect for longevity of the material, in addition to its delicate expressiveness. Jon Wahling was the odd man out in that he doesn’t use handmade paper but instead builds large scale paperworks, that he’s assembled by cutting individual sheets into shapes and then mounting them on rods or reeds. Walter Nottingham, uses paper as vehicle for distressed, decayed fetish-like objects, made with cotton/abaca papers and coated with acrylic medium and washes to emulate leather. Finally, Margery Freeman Appelbaum uses paper to create large geometric “environments” that look like 3-D imagery from a De Stijl painting.
Each short essay on the artists is accompanied with one black and white photo. Note: One major drawback about this article (and others in Hand Papermaking magazine) is that the photos are in black and white only. These works should be researched online and viewed in color if possible.
Rice, Robin L
“Outside from Within: Paper as Sculpture”
Hand Papermaking Volume 9. No 1 (1994). Print.
Rice provides a review of an exhibit of sculptural works by four artists who “use paper in radically different ways,” with each artist invoking its function as a vehicle for language. Lilian Bell is a conceptual artist fascinated with objects made of paper and its socio-political associations. Her work includes several installation pieces (tables, faux paper rocks, photos, fax material as props) that speak to various ecological issues and “political machinations in which human lives are of small consequence.” Lesley Dill makes clothing from handmade paper stamped with text (in this case, poetry by Emily Dickinson), in an effort to “knit the poem into the emotional metaphor of [the sculptures’] separate personae.” (It was noted how the artist also provided the full text for each poem adjacent to the pieces.) Jeanne Jaffe’s work was comprised of cast paper-pulp forms, suspended in columns, in a grid-like format, that served as an ideogramic language of bones, hearts and other organs—using her forms as a “pre-verbal” vocabulary. Regina Vater is known for her political art, “which celebrates her native Brazilian culture and treats paper as a medium of communication.” Note: It is interesting how many artists use the grid as a format for referencing language, pre-verbal or otherwise. (Note to self: research Jaffe and Vaters’ work.)
“Jenny Pinto and the Glow of Banana Fiber”
Hand Papermaking Volume 21. No 2 (2006): 10-12. Print.
A brief article featuring Jenny Pinto, an artist living in Bangalore and using fiber harvested from the discarded stems of banana plants, an underutilized agricultural by-product from the banana growing industry in the southern region of India. Excellent photos along with a good bit of information about her process. Note: Pinto uses the lustrous bast fiber scraped from the petioles [leaf stalks] of the plant, not the whole trunk, which is sometimes chopped and used to make a brittle, fibrous paper (i.e., as described by other paper artists). Harvesting the fiber is tedious and labor intensive. However, instead of seeing this as a “problem,” Pinto has turned it into an opportunity to create jobs for people in the area. An inspiring overview of an artist who is successfully integrating personal creativity with community. Something to think about, research further and emulate.
The Art of Papermaking
Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, Inc. 1983. Print.
An oldie but a goodie; this book remains in my library as a solid introduction to hand papermaking. Chapter topics: Oriental and European papermaking, papermaking from plants, contemporary sculptural techniques, DIY Hollander beater, weave your own mould and deckle, etc , along with an appendix with resources for paper and papermaking equipment, a supplier directory and even a metric conversion chart. Mostly “how to” with cursory discussion of aesthetics as they relate to a few contemporary artists working with handmade paper at the time.
One especially useful gem is the description of how to set up your own paper mill/studio, complete with a diagram. An 8-page signature located in the center of the book provides color photos of contemporary handmade paper works including some of my favorites by David Hockney (Paper Pools) and a Rothko-like piece by Kenneth Noland. Other highlights: Many black and white photos documenting various papermaking processes and a blank sample record chart keeping track of useful data related to paper production, whether it be for two- or three-dimensional work. Sculptural paper techniques are discussed in chapter five and is one of the best sections of this book, providing step-by-step instructions (and photos) on how to use a deckle box, make rubber and plaster moulds, shaped moulds and use a vacuum table casting.
Kwang Young Chun [author] and Welchman, John C. and Ratcliff, Carter [editors]
Kwang Young Chun: Mulberry Mindscapes
New York: Skira Rizzoli. 2014. Print.
The first monograph about Kwang Young Chun—one of Korea’s foremost visual artists, not to mention the planet. In fairly large format (10” x 12”), this book covers his entire career, beginning with his early abstract paintings through his recent work.including his famous Aggregation series. Two essays, provide comparisons with Chun’s work and several of the big boys of the 20th century including Pollock, de Kooning and even Picasso. John Welchman’s essay discusses Chun’s work in relation to the Abstract Expressionists as well as the color field artists and rightfully so. He also draws detailed comparisons between Chun and Japanese artist, YaYoi Kusama, who arrived in the United States ten years before Chun.Carter Ratcliff’s essay on Chun’s Aggregations, is similar in that he discusses the work in the context of many of the top contemporary artists Frank Stella, Anselm Kiefer and Mondrian. There is much to digest here; a banquet!