This papermaker just returned to Philadelphia from Cleveland. And what is in Cleveland, you may ask?
Well, the Morgan Conversatory of Paper, of course.
I had the great privilege of making my own artwork at their fine facilities for 3 weeks! With a particular focus on hand papermaking, The Morgan boasts perhaps the most comprehensive facility in the country — 5 hollander beaters of various make and capacity, plus a naginata beater (for eastern fibers), a huge wet-working area complete with various vat sizes, and moulds of all sizes constructed by some of the finest craftsmen in the field. In addition to their papermaking area, there is also the bright and cheerful bindery, and an extensive printmaking area with a particular focus on letterpress. There are numerous presses, some hiding (protectively) under sheets, like the Heidelberg, just waiting for someone to use them. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with options at the Morgan.
For my first two weeks, I availed myself of the paper studio only. Working with high shrinkage abaca, I made two series of work. The first embedded plants from Death Valley into the translucent papers, to beautiful effect. These papers are being layered over cyanotypes, which I made while in Death Valley.
Then I moved on to working with pulp paint. This is finely beaten paper pulp which has been pigmented and, with an additive, can be applied to a base sheet of paper very similarly to paint! Since I was making work about my time in Death Valley in Nevada, I couldn’t help but paint the landscape there.
Some may also know that I teach sculptural papermaking, and I realized this was the perfect opportunity to use the high shrinkage properties of my “pulp paintings” and transform them into 3-dimensional works, again incorporating the plants of Death Valley.
You might be saying to yourself, “This is a lot of work,” but I still had one more week left, and I hadn’t touched any of the letterpress area. So I decided to make some pressure prints of the Death Valley plants, and why not set some type while I’m at it.
I owe The Morgan a huge THANK YOU for their incredible generosity and the use of their space.
All of these artworks will be shown in an exhibition, “Desert Notes,” in Reno, NV (August 2017), and Las Vegas, NV (October – December 2017).