Over the summer I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Western paper making Class at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio.
This is something I have wanted to do for several years and finally it happened! Two wonderful days just hanging out with gooey hands, slightly wet feet, an enormously unattractive plastic apron, and a big smile on my face. In my artwork I use paper in many different ways and I have encountered a multitude of types and characters of paper. How little we consider its source and creation.
The process is simple, messy and ancient. I was intrigued by how one takes the wet slurry mixture of fiber and water, scoops it artfully into a deckle, or frame, lets the water run back out, and then “couches” the sheet onto a soft resting place. Then with time and a little pressure and paper is born.
As usual, there are all sorts of different fibers to use, interesting colors, additives, and so forth. And as usual I got carried away experimenting and discovering. It really is a very meditative art. I was reminded how things in life can be changed from one form to another. How the seasons change, water changes form, and how relationships change and how I change. I was reminded that change takes patience, time and sometimes a little pressure. Paper making is a little shadow of giving birth. It is wonderful to create something which has never before been. An encounter with the divine. Have you hugged your paper today?
And then at the end there is a terrific amount of clean up. Doesn’t that always seem to be the case? And as the sponges were being propelled, the buckets emptied, the trash deposited, the tables and counters wiped, supplies replaced to their spots and the mops came out… I couldn’t help but see the simple beauty in a well organized cleanup job.