NEWSLETTER number 145 January 2024
Newsletter Editor: Sophia Hotzler
Contributors: Riss Principe, Jeanne Drewes, Dori Miller, Sid Berger
Sponsors: Arnold Grummer’s, the Papertrail Handmade Paper & Book Arts, Penland School of Craft, The Robert C. Williams Papermaking Museum, Carriage House Papers, the International Paper Museum, and Dieu Donné
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The deadline for the next newsletter (April 2024) is Feb 15, 2024. We encourage letters from our subscribers on any topic. We also solicit comments on articles in Hand Papermaking magazine, questions or remarks for newsletter contributors, and news of special events or activities. The newsletter is supported by our sponsors (listed above). If you would like to support Hand Papermaking through a sponsorship, contact us at email@example.com.
Hand Papermaking is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organi-zation. Staff: Michael Fallon, Executive Director; Mina Takahashi, Magazine Editor; Sophia Hotzler, News-
letter Editor/News & Social Media Manager; Karen Kopacz, Designer. Board of Directors: Richard Baiano, Emily Duong, Lisa Haque, Kazuko Hioki, Marie Bannerot McInerney, Steph Rue, Erik Saarmaa, Megan Singleton, Lynn Sures.
Co-founders: Amanda Degener and Michael Durgin.
As I write to you, it is still December 2023. The new year is right around the corner, and I cannot help but wonder, “What is in store for this brand new year, 2024?” For me, it is the start of a fresh beginning in a new home. The beginning of a friendship with a new family member, in the form of a cat, who will accompany me in my late night studio moments. It is filled with trying to perfect a craft many others before me have perfected, but ultimately just soaking in the rich history and trying to carve out my own name in the lineage of makers. It is full of conversations with strangers, and friends, about this exciting community and this versatile medium. It is full of successes, and morphing the inevitable accidents into something new and better. What does 2024 have in store for you? Hopefully if your new year allows you to learn, grow or morph a papermaking problem, you might share your findings with us here at Hand Papermaking.
This issue we learn how artist, Riss Principe, turns handmade paper scraps and mishaps into new, colorful and provoking collages. Dori Miller and I share a conversation about our shared love for this craft, and its history, and discuss her recent installation work, Paper Wing Forest. Jeanne Drewes gives us a fascinating review of La Mano dell’Uomo (The Human Hand), by Bruno Caruso, translated by Lynn Sures, where we get the inside scoop via a Q&A by the creators themselves. Sid Berger gives us a thoughtful writing on Susan Gosin of Dieu Donné Paper, exploring her artistry and her drive to support others alongside her.
In this recurring feature, The Maker, we look at techniques and problem solving in the field of handmade paper. For this issue, multimedia artist Riss Principe talks about their practice and how they work through and embrace the imperfections of papermaking. If you want to share how you solved a problem in your practice, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last semester of my undergraduate program this previous spring, I took my first papermaking class and immediately fell in love. I was excited by paper’s versatile nature and found that color theory came a lot easier to me in this medium compared to others. Due to this excitement, I tried a lot of different techniques and color schemes and had a lot of imperfect paper as a result. The sheets I pulled were usually inconsistent in their thickness and had holes or spots of dried pigment that didn’t fully mix. As a way to mend these holes and elevate the work, I began sewing into them and soon knew this was a path I wanted to pursue further.
To do this, I started cutting these imperfect sheets into different shapes and sewing them together to create collages of handmade paper. This was an exciting discovery for me because it felt like a way to “elevate” a long-loved hobby of mine. Unlike other mediums, collage allows me to make art without carrying the pressure of making art because I know that pieces that strayed from their original plan can have a new life!
As someone who enjoys working intuitively, I usually start these collages by cutting out loose, large shapes. Once I experiment with the placement of shapes and find a form I like, I begin cutting and placing smaller, more specific shapes that allow for the details and imagery to emerge. Working this way frees me from the confines of strictly pursuing one idea because the piece continues to transform as I respond to its needs and sew on more shapes. Therefore, I find my creative freedom through the process itself more than what results from it; the sheets I pull are not so much the finished piece but rather just one piece of a puzzle I am eager to solve.
My first paper collage was a pair of little houses for my sisters. My nephews are shown in the windows of my older sister’s house while my family’s dogs are in my younger sister’s. Despite the limited supply of paper I made; I combined colors, textures, and shapes that spoke to the character of both of them and showcased features they’d want in their actual houses. I chose to sew these features on to add a special, handmade touch unachievable with gluing. Both of these decisions come from my desire to, in art and life, strive to make something beautiful out of what I already have.
In a lot of ways, I have learned that it matters more what you do with the resources you have rather than the resources themselves. Through papermaking, I was able to take natural fibers and turn them into paper that then transformed into the homes of my sisters’ and my dreams. Though these homes may be technically imperfect, they make use of what I have available on hand and capture the beautiful warmth that makes a house a home.
Riss Principe is a multimedia artist currently creating in Hudson Valley, NY. In May of 2023, they received their BS in Visual Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Their work focuses on the materiality of various fibers and mediums and how the relationship between them can speak to human interconnectedness. You can learn more about their work at www.Instagram.com/theprinceslonging.
La Mano dell'Uomo (The Human Hand)
In this feature Jeanne Drewes reviews a passionately made book, La Mano dell’Uomo (The Human Hand) by Bruno Caruso, translated by Lynn Sures in collaboration with Tom Leech.
Every time I read the marvelous handmade book La Mano dell’Uomo (The Human Hand) by Bruno Caruso, translated by Lynn Sures, I see something else that makes the book even more interesting to me. The wonder of the watermarks seen as I turn each page encourages me to read and consider as I move forward to the next page of the text. In my copy I see a watermark star, just below the title half page, which makes me wonder... did I notice that before? And now I’m eager to look for more perfect placements. The rich rust red color of the cover page hand makes me anticipate seeing the color in print and I am impressed by the black of the line illustrations, taken from the original book by Caruso, now in this limited edition from 2021. No hard cover for this handmade paper book, rather the very size and weight, the sound of the turning page, the soft, strong texture adds to the pure pleasure of reading, of moving through the text, or page turning toward the end I long to put off, but there are only seven folios gathered into this single-signature book. No matter, I can start again and again and read and see something new every time. I limit my review to have fresh eyes to see/feel/experience something new with every reading. My copy, 38 of 100m is special, or so I think when I see the horse watermark just above the full title page’s bottom text for printer and location as if striding out of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. The horse is again at the bottom of the Introduction page, but then the image becomes a rearing goat that leaps within the page, just beside the text that is imprinted into the page, not just sitting on top, that accentuates the hand printing press work. The pages themselves are each a work of art, or craft in the very fullest sense of the word. On the last page there is a drawing of the hand with thread, surrounded by the watermark images of ax and bell, of goat and bird. And I close the perfectly fitted clamshell box and sigh with the pleasure of my book experience, my sensual feeling, my mind puzzling to put it all together into a coherent review.
Let me start again with details about this small-press book: La Mano dell’Uomo (The Human Hand) by Bruno Caruso, translated by Lynn Sures, published by The Press at the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2021; 14 pages, single signature in a clamshell cloth box; available from email@example.com. Highly recommended.
This is an exquisite handmade book, and by handmade I reference the handmade paper, the handset printing, the hand-drawn images that cannot be called illustration, though they do illustrate the text that captures the many capabilities of handmade, hand executed, hands in action. The storyline, if I can use that term, is of the many capabilities of the human hand for good and for harm. The text moves through only some of the many actions that hands take to create, refine, redesign, nurture, work. Beyond the text we learn who Bruno Caruso was, we learn why this new version of his 1965 edition was created, translated, and shared again to a wide audience in English. The reader learns too the path that led to the creation, at least in part, but for me the reading created more questions about the work and thought that went into the making of this book. And so I sent questions to Lynn Sures (LS) and Tom Leech (TL) who came up with the idea and brought the book from project to the final edition.
My first question is why did you decide on a soft cover and box?
Tom Leech (TL): Well, the first attempt at a dummy for the book was case bound. But the paper, which we loved, just felt too confined between the boards—if not smothered. Since the whole exercise of creating the book was to pay homage to the hand (and handmade paper), we wanted the feel and look of the paper to be front and center. As you noted, the feeling of the paper and the sound of turning pages were among the “messages” we wanted to get across. In a previous publication of the Palace Press, I “pinched” the idea from Helen Hiebert and some soft-cover books that I printed for her, which she then issued in a box. It just seemed like the perfect solution – and I still think it is!
Lynn Sures (LS): We thought about a hard cover and we both felt it would be overkill and an encumbrance on the delicate book. In addition, Bruno’s pamphlet had an intimacy we both wanted to respect. So we felt that presenting our interpretation in a box would best protect while also indicating the presence of the book within.
How did this project start and what convinced you to translate it?
LS: Tom first asked me if I wanted to collaborate on the book and translate it. That didn’t sound good to me, why would I want to spend studio time translating a book? But I started to read Bruno’s pamphlet that Tom had brought to show me, and then it took no time at all to say I would be delighted to do it. Every time I translated another segment I was more and more excited about what I had to share with Tom via email and Zoom. It was an unusual pleasure to be able to say to Tom, here’s the story Bruno is telling about the human hand. The Italian language isn’t spoken in the same sequence nor necessarily using the same types of words to convey a thought as we would do in English. I wanted to have the English translation come across completely in the voice of Bruno Caruso, using his exact words in translation when they could be used, while phrasing his ideas as we would phrase them so that his voice was maintained for the English-speaking reader. The enthusiasm of his grandson for the translation was incredibly meaningful for me.
TL: Let me first tell you how the idea for this came about. Back in 2010, my wife, who is a ceramic artist, developed a rare and painful condition in her wrist and hands that required surgery and a lot of physical therapy to overcome. During that period I was looking online for images of hands and came across a book by Bruno Caruso titled La Mano Dell’Uomo—loosely translated as “The Hand of Man.” What caught my attention were drawings reminiscent of Ben Shahn. (Like many artists of my generation, I was influenced and inspired by his work.) I ordered the book and loved the drawings, but the text was in Italian and unreadable to me. Nor could I find anything about Bruno Caruso. Searching for him is another story, but we did have permission and encouragement from his family. Unfortunately, Bruno Caruso died just months before Lynn and I agreed to do the book. Readers would do well in learning more about him, and fortunately, a great website created by his grandson was posted just as we got started on this journey. But jumping ahead to 2017, Lynn was in Taos teaching and I knew she knew Italian. I asked if she would translate it and see if she thought it would be worth printing in English. I know she thought I was crazy, but she was equally captivated when she saw it.. (I should let Lynn tell her side of the story, but that’s how I remember it.) Because the book was printed on Fabriano paper, it just seemed natural to print a new edition on a Fabriano sheet. And that’s where things started to get exciting... Regarding the choice of the size of the book, before we went to Fabriano we really didn’t have a size worked out. I had already made a dummy the same size and layout as the original, with Lynn’s English translation in place of the Italian text. When we got to Fabriano and Paper and Watermark Museum we were offered our choice of moulds, and the mould with those fabulous historic watermarks just jumped out at us. It was too good to pass up! But that turned out to be about twice the size of the original.
How did you decide on the ink color and tell me about the decision to use black for the illustrations and that lovely deep red for most of the text?
LS: Because Bruno’s book had a red-and-black palette on white paper we never really considered any other palette. Bruno’s illustrations were in black ink and we didn’t see any justification for altering his drawings. The ink color for most of the text needed to be red, we both knew intuitively, maybe for the human quality and the excitement of that color—but it was Tom eating fresh bing cherries that pointed to the perfect color. The black text ink is used when it’s other than Bruno’s words.
TL: The original book was saddle stitched with a red cover, so I guess red just stayed with our book through its development. Both the text and the drawings were in black ink, and I wanted to separate the two. Also, since we were printing the book by letterpress, where the images and text are printed at different times, it gave us the chance of introducing color on one of the passes. The drawings just wouldn’t have looked right in red, so that allowed the type to be red. But I didn’t want to use standard warm red, so how I reached the colors that I chose is a pretty funny story. First came the choice of picking a book cloth for the clamshell box. I had two samples that I was comparing, and I looked out the window of the printshop at the museum and there were two “reddish” cars (a Volvo and a BMW) parked next to each other. I went out to the street and held the cloth samples against the cars. I can’t remember which was which, but one proved to be a good choice.
The size of your book is different from the original, how did that influence your decisions?
TL: We never wanted to make our book the size of Bruno’s [6.75 x 9.75 inches]. We’re both artists and we knew we were going to have our artistic hands in the book along with Bruno’s. The thing that was always primary in both of our minds as we made every choice or decision was consistency with what Bruno had done, with any changes geared to augment the effort he had made.
How did you settle on the price?
TL: We discussed it a lot. The costs of making the book were high, both in monetary expenditures and our extensive hand labor, but we had fortunately made 100 copies, so we were still able to make the price reasonable, in the hope of selling the full edition.
The book is quite beautiful to see but even more to read and experience all the tactile wonder of feeling the paper, the sound of turning pages, the subtle watermarks and the imprint of the type on each page front and back. Was that part of the design?
TL: We were extremely, fully aware of the paper, which went through our hands in every phase, from the sheet-forming process, to stacking, packaging, sorting, and counting the sheets for printing and then again for binding. We did everything ourselves. So yes, the paper— originating in Fabriano, as Bruno’s pamphlet paper had—was very much a conscious product with a conscious spirit. The printing was a gigantic endeavor and was, in every way possible, another process undertaken fully by hand. We had made the paper with the intention that it would take the printed word and illustration as it did. Even so, as with everything I have made, it was a fantastic feeling to have the book in hand and see how it had fulfilled hopes and expectations, but also surpassed them.
Tell me how you decided on the layout since each page is different in terms of placement of text versus illustration?
LS: When we met in Fabriano to make paper we extensively discussed the layout of our book. Everything we did was based to the extent possible on what we found in Bruno’s small pamphlet. We made page mockups by hand in pencil and paper in the museum library, determining through trial and error what we thought would work with our handmade paper’s format. Then when Tom returned to Santa Fe and was able to digitize our ideas, he made some new practical tweaks and modifications and we went with them.
TL: I should confess that I was never particularly impressed with the typography of the original, and when I saw Lynn’s translation, the text read more like poetry to me than prose. Having printed a fair amount of poetry, it was easy for me to break up the lines and begin to rearrange the drawings to better coincide with the text. I also felt the drawings were too small and the type too large in the original, so reversing that and finding a balance became a real opportunity to play. (I have photos of work in progress showing a lot of cut and paste (scissors and tape) of the different elements – all done by hand, of course. No Photoshop used! We worked out the layout and continued to find nuances in the text at the same time we were making the paper in Fabriano. Without telling the whole story here, I do have to say that after Fabriano came COVID, and that slowed the project by at least a year. And just to get back to the conversation about the translation, what I remember is that Lynn’s translation was pretty literal, but there were some long discussions about certain segments that weren’t perfectly clear in English. We may have massaged the text a little, but we didn’t want to get overly “poetic” about it. Since Bruno didn’t intend his words as a poem, we didn’t think we should go too far down that road. The breaking of the text into lines and stanzas was a typographic and design decision intended to improve readability and flow through the book. It also allowed us to place the drawings closer to their related words. One thing that hasn’t come up yet was the decision of how to title the book. A literal translation was “The Hand of Man,” but assigning a gender-specific word just didn’t sit with our thinking, and we consulted with a number of people who supported the idea of making the title more inclusive to all humanity.
LS: Though one of us took the lead on each aspect of the book project, we consulted back and forth on everything, and it was a true collaboration.
—Jeanne Drewes, with Lynn Sures & Tom Leech
While retired from the Library of Congress and forty years as a working librarian, predominantly in the area of preservation, Ms Drewes continues to stay active in the profession by reading pro-fessionally and writing book reviews in addition to volunteering for preservation projects which include adding to the oral history interviews she started nearly ten years ago of preservation focused librarians and product and service providers.
In this feature, Hand Papermaking talks with Dori Miller about her recent artist residency at Hartwick College, and she answered a few of our questions about her most recent installation project, Paper Wing Forest. Have you recently completed a paper-focused residency and want to share your experience? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We recently sat down on a Zoom call with oil painter and papermaker Dori Miller to talk about her recent artist residency at Hartwick College, in Oneonta, New York. It was there she embarked on a grand journey of creating a magical and ethereal paper installation piece.
Hand Papermaking Newsletter:
In your own words, tell us about your journey to papermaking. What about it captured your attention?
Dori Miller (DM):
I was a late-in-life student starting college in 2010. There was a paper-making class offered during my BFA (2015–2017) at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. I was curious and landed in the middle of The Brodsky Center and my professor was Anne Q. McKeown. We learned the history of papermaking and then Anne demoed that first couch. I was captivated. When it was my turn, I had a physiological reaction after lifting up my first deckle. I remember staring into the vat of pulp and water. I thought about standing on the shoulders and in the shoes of the ancestors across thousands of years. I took independent studies with Anne as much as I could before I graduated.
(During our hour-long zoom chat, a great portion of it consisted of us discussing how versatile and historic papermaking is. Dori spoke of her love for the medium and the energy it holds; she explained how she can feel the vast history of makers with every sheet she pulls, their energy vibrating through every fiber of every sheet she couches.)
Materiality is very important to you as an artist, could you tell us a bit about how you decided on your chosen fibers for this project?
Overbeaten abaca has a skin-like, crickly, crackly texture. And it likes to shrink and pull as it dries so hanging it rather than pressing to dry leads to all kinds of unique results. And I knew that each wing would be its own work of art. So this inherent quality of overbeaten abaca was exactly what the work needed. I envisioned the wings to be light and ethereal to create the desired atmosphere. I wanted them to seem weightless.
(This impenetrable, yet delicate Paper Wing Forest is a grand work of art to take in. Ones eyes are drawn to look at the in-between, settling in on the negative space of shapes the wings created. Reminiscent of lying out in a forest, creating shapes and faces in the canopy of trees above.)
I understand that the Fibonacci sequence heavily guided your design process while installing your columns in the gallery space. How do you believe this sequence influences how the viewer interacts with the forest itself?
I have long been fascinated by the Fibonacci sequence which leads to the spiral. The underlying pattern of nature, Fibonacci spirals are everywhere. The forest was always supposed to have a pathway in the shape of a Fibonacci spiral. I wanted to know if one could feel it when they traversed the path. Would it seem different? For viewers, I was concerned with not making the path immediately obvious. Like in a real forest, it is always that path just outside the corner of my eye and perception that I am excited to discover. This installation was set up so people would walk into the room and not immediately see the path. I witnessed some serious delight and solace as people discovered and walked that spiral. This work will happen again the next time I have access to a paper studio and with the offer of a larger space. The forest needs to expand in size and be denser with many more columns to properly evoke the path.
(This piece has the ability to be ever changing, continually added on for years to come. The way it might fill a space is equally ever changing. Dori spoke on her experience of how she came to create this spectacular installation.)
This installation project seems to be one of those creative endeavors that will be forever expanded upon, molding itself to the space it occupies. Where do you draw your inspiration from when you are creating and making your Paper Wing Forest?
It all started with a mistake that led to a method. I was attempting to couch two standard-sized sheets together onto a Pellon and I slipped and they overlapped. I thought, “Huh, that looks like a wing.” So I dried the paper and since I am an oil painter I needed to get the wing to safety and out of the way once inside my studio, I strung a wire towards the ceiling and hung the wing up there with some string, real slap dash. The next morning, I heard it before I saw; the HVAC was on and blowing the wing around. I could not take my eyes off it. Back to the lab to make more on purpose this time. I hung them across the wire and watched the performance unfold. A few days later I had a visiting professor critique who noticed them dancing up there. She asked me if I would consider putting them into a more formalist configuration. Like a column? So the forest has this beautiful tension of formalist columns made up of organic entities. Whenever I lecture and give artist talks to students especially, I implore them to discount nothing in their making and studio. There is gold everywhere.
(As we finished up our chat, we talked about the future of Dori’s Paper Wing Forest. Dori is excited and hopeful that this piece will find another home in a gallery quite soon, where she will bring the energy of a grand history of papermakers to a new space, and that the energy of a new crowd will bring life to an awe-inspiring piece so others can witness how the forest responds to their call, walking the path.)
Dori Miller is an oil painter, papermaker and teaching artist. In 2022 she was a visiting artist, juror and lecturer at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, and the inaugural artist-in-residence in August 2023. She was keynote speaker for CMSMC’s “Tools of the Trade” symposium on material culture. She attended a virtual artist residency at The Weaving Mill in Chicago.
Longtime newsletter contributor Sid Berger continues his documentation of decorated papers. In this feature Sid profiles Susan Gosin, of Dieu Donné Paper.
In this column I have discussed a host of wonderful artists, all with their own artistic visions, each producing lovely and important papers. For the present column we have an exceptional visionary, Susan Gosin of Dieu Donné Paper, who makes her own papers, and, thanks to her commercial acumen, has also assisted many artists in one way or another in creating papers with their own aesthetic. Susan is an artist and an enabler of other artists. And it is important to stress that in the world of “Decorated Paper,” we have the makers (Susan is one), but we also have to thank those who enable others to create beautiful paper (and Susan is such an enabler).
I have usually considered those who decorate paper using traditional techniques: marbling, paste, block printing. There are also paintings and drawings on paper—but are these “Decorated Paper,” as this column focuses on? Of course they are: decorated with a different raison d’etre. And with her collaborations, Susan has brought into the world some of the more valuable decorated sheets. So, collaboration with artists was another way that Susan promulgated the idea that paper could be decorated in many ways. The entire ambience of, and the opportunities offered by, Dieu Donné made it possible for Susan and her team to produce important work by well-known artists.
The Dieu Donné group, working with Chuck Close, for instance, yielded his pulp-painted pictures of the 1980s, which Susan calls “landmark works of art that reveal the true potential of papermaking as an art medium capable of accuracy and expressive sophistication.”1 Chuck Close’s work was begun at Dieu Donné under Joe Wilfer’s initiative and with Paul Wong’s help as well. But what Susan created at Dieu Donné made the final Close work possible. She also worked with Jim Dine, and dozens of other artists in the preparation of their books.
To illustrate my assertion—that works of art incorporating hand papermaking techniques are justifiably classified as “decorated paper”—I cite Susan again when she speaks of artist, Alan Shields, who worked with her at Dieu Donné: “His work defied any standard definition of print, drawing, or sculpture but incorporated aspects of all of them” (p. 103). Susan is quick to point out that Pat Almonrode was the master collaborator with Alan Shields, but the enabler here was Susan herself, without whom all the artists at Dieu Donné would almost certainly not have come together.
Where does mere paper decoration leave off and art begin? Over many columns, I have shown that that line is blurred. Even a simple, beautifully combed marbled sheet can be seen as a work of art and be hung for display as one would any painting. And if an artist like Shields used beautiful handmade paper, printing, and other surface techniques in his art, he was clearly producing decorated paper.
Likewise, Paul Wong was the master collaborator on a large-scale paper-print project by Jim Dine, as well as a work by Richard Tuttle, who created a watermark suite titled Dawn Noon Dusk, three watermarks that are pure paper art. Another work with Tuttle, The Triumph of Night, was made using poured pulp. Susan says of them, “These are not ethereal papier-mâché objects; they are expressions of uninhibited pulp play” (p. 107). (About Susan’s own watermarks, see below.)
Susan worked directly with William Kentridge on some of his watermarks. Some were done at Dieu Donné with Mina Takahashi and Megan Moorehouse acting as master collaborators. Mina and Megan helped the artist create the watermarks (based on the artist’s line drawings), and Kentridge “completed the watermark images by drawing freehand with liquid paper pulp on top of the freshly made sheets so that the resulting image was made of three densities of pulp: the thinnest was the watermark drawing, the next was the thickness of the surrounding base sheet, and the thickest or most opaque was the drawing made with pulp on the surface” (Gosin, p. 119). Susan must be given credit for identifying brilliant colleagues, linking up with important artists, and ultimately being responsible (as a Dieu Donné founder) for the creation of some of the work of important artists.
The artist Do Ho Suh, working at Dieu Donné, produced a series of what he called “thread drawings,” images that are drawn by hand in color, reproduced with thread, and sewn “onto a material that dissolves as it is laid onto freshly made wet sheets of cotton-rag paper” (Gosin, p. 125). Do Ho Suh was guided by Paul Wong and assisted by other Dieu Donné papermakers. As Susan says, “My role during these particular collaborations was mainly in a leadership role, not as hands on as with other projects.”2 But leadership that leads to great art is just as important as the final product from the artists. In the “Decorated Paper” realm, it takes visionaries like Susan to bring important people together—exemplifying the true meaning of “collaboration.”
Watermarks, poured pulp, and “thread drawing” are only three of the techniques that show Susan’s inventiveness and artistry, and her control over paper in its many decorative manifestations.
While Susan has helped untold numbers of artists create books with decorated papers, she herself is a brilliant artist in paper as well.
And of course, having worked with paper for decades,3 she understands its properties and its possibilities. One of her specialties is watermarks—a subtle form of decoration. Using only variations in fiber density, water-marks can be lovely elements of paper decoration.4 But Susan takes them
to another level—pun intended. Thanks to her mastery of abaca fiber, which can produce beautiful translucent sheets, she over-couches a patterned sheet on a substrate, creating more than a single level of density that allows various intensities of light through. And she uses pulps
of colors different from those of the substrate. The resulting sheets are
pure, elegant art—blurring (as I mentioned above) the distinction between decoration and art. In 2007 she produced gorgeous papers in a cluster which she calls “Kelp and Seaweed Botanicals,” using abaca and seaweed.
The beauty of this one will not show up on the page of this newsletter, but it is stunning in one’s hands, as is the sheet she made with abaca and onion, one of Susan’s “Vegetable Botanicals.”
Also with over-couching using various colors of pulp, Susan produced papers of exceptional beauty (that unfortunately will not reproduce properly in black and white; but the shading that appears in the image above represents at least 4 colors—yellow, blue, purple, and gray.
Also, thanks to the translucence of the sheets made possible by the abaca, Susan over-couched a jali pattern to produce “watermarks” for the 2021 book Unending Love, a collaboration between her and Anne Vilsbøll.5 The cotton-based over-sheet, couched on an abaca substrate, has the jali pattern, that of a latticed screen, commonly seen as a (usually) geometrical architectural pattern that shows light through.
I once commented that a sheet of unadorned paper can be beautiful in its mere presence. That is, decoration can be appreciated in the artistry and genius of the maker, and in that person’s control of the fibers and tools of the trade. Susan’s papers, emanating from her nearly 50 years of perfecting the art of papermaking, are glorious in person—their beauty will not translate fully in the black-and-white images on these pages. But when you are holding one of her sheets, you know you are in the presence of a master.
1. Susan Gosin, “Founding of Dieu Donne,” in Tatiana Ginsberg, ed., Papermaker’s Tears: Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper, Vol. 1 (Ann Arbor, MI: The Legacy Press, 2019), pp. 86-136; this quotation is on p. 96.
2. Susan Gosin, email to the author, 11/29/23.
3. “Dieu Donné was founded in 1976 by Susan Gosin and Bruce Wineberg to explore the untapped potential of hand papermaking as an art medium”; “Dieu Donné,” https://www.dieudonne.org/mission-history (accessed 11/27/23).
4. I have written about watermarks in two of my earlier columns, # 97 (January 2012); and #123 (July 2018).
5. Anne Volsbøll, Unending Love [New York]: Dieu Donné Press, 2019.
Sidney Berger is Director Emeritus of the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum, and a professor on the faculty of the library schools at Simmons University and the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign. He and his wife Michèle Cloonan put together the Berger–Cloonan Collection of Decorated Paper (about 22,000 pieces), now in the Cushing Library at Texas A&M University.
Hand Papermaking Newsletter’s Listings now
focus only on the most current, most relevent
news, events, and opportunities. For a more complete list of organizations, studios, and institutions that make paper, educate people about handmade paper, or present programming or exhibitions related to handmade paper visit our website at www.handpapermaking.org/news-resources/listings.
Papermaker's Tears: Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper Volume 2, edited by Tatiana Ginsberg. The series, Papermaker's Tears: Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper, encompasses all of the papermaking and paper arts, including decorated paper, historical and current.. For more information, visit www.thelegacypress.com/papermakers-tears-vol-2.html.
Modern Papermaking, Techniques in Handmade Paper, 13 Projects by Kelsey Pike. Making your own paper is a mesmerizing and versatile craft. Let Modern Papermaking show you how to create countless paper sheets with a few tools and practice. Among many other things, the paper you make can be a foundation for painting, illustration, stationery, and lettering. Handmade paper can upgrade the starting point of your creative work, or you can use the techniques to create stand-alone works of art to display, gift, and share. The craft is relatively easy and accessible since all the essential tools and supplies needed can be DIY’d, recycled, and thrifted. Available for purchase as of September 25, 2023.
International Biennial of Paper Fibre Art, Earth Speaks: Giving Voice to Paper. Organized by NTCRI (National Taiwanese Craft Research Institute), curated by Amy Richards. Dec. 8–March 31, on view at the NTCRI Museum of Craft Design in Cauton Township, Taiwan.
The North American Hand Papermakers’ 8th Collegiate Paper Art Triennial exhibition is still on display at the Lyndon House Art Center in Athens, GA until January 13th. This is a competitive exhibition that features a variety of contemporary art forms made with handmade paper, such as sculpture, printmaking, painting, pulp paintings, artist’s books, and installations. We will be back in 2025 with the 9th Triennial Competition! For more information about the history of the Collegiate Triennial, visit this summary. The best way to stay-in-the-know about the competition and its deadlines is either to join NAHP yourself or to encourage your department to join as an institutional member. If you have questions or suggestions about the Collegiate Paper Art Triennial, please do not hesitate to contact NAHP’s exhibitions person at email@example.com.
A new exhibition is opening January 16th at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. The North American Hand Papermakers’ 2023 Juried Exhibition is called Sustainability in Chaos. Helen Hiebert and Eileen Wallace were jurors for the show, which reflects how we are witnessing sudden, surprising, and sometimes unexpected changes in our time and lifestyle today. Anarchy, war, and disease have become our nation’s daily concerns, and even if we do not face these situations directly, we witness the prevalence of chaos in various forms. Artists have shown their animus in chaotic human situations in different ways, such as through visualizations, music, poetry, photography, etc. They depict it in dream-like abstractions, express it in realistic depictions of life, inform the mind, or convey their empathy through art. This exhibition will be on display from January 16–April 12. For more information head over to www.northamericanhandpapermakers.org
An workshop is coming up at The Japanese Paper Place (the JPP) in Toronto, Ontario: Found Objects, Washi Sculpture Techniques and Exploration, on February 10, 10 am–4 pm. World recognized artist Cybèle Young will fill your day with the creative exploration of paper sculpture, offering techniques for construction and addressing the incorporation of found objects. Cybèle will bring a variety of found objects and encourage participants to bring along whatever inspires—be it a rock or feather or found metal objects, even a pile of dirt. Cybèle will demonstrate the basic techniques for sculptural paper construction and address the incorporation of found objects and will share ideas to push the medium by using non-deliberate methods and ‘destruction’ to expand sculptural and conceptual possibilities. Participants will create sculptures with an emphasis on experimentation. For more information on this upcoming workshop head on over to www.japanesepaperplace.com/workshops/.
Several Summer session papermaking workshops at the Penland School of Craft will be opening for registration come January 15, at 12 pm. One upcoming summer workshop is Handmade Paper: Surface and Object with Heather Peters. Part of Summer Session 1, May 26–31 (4 Studio Days), this workshop is perfect for new papermakers, and it will also be informative for those with experience. Beginning level. A spring session workshop, What a Relief: Techniques for Pulp Casting with SR Lejeune, is part of the Papermaking Spring Short Session. It takes place April 28–May 3 (4 Studio Days), and is currently open for registraion. For more information, visit https://penland.org/workshops/registration-information/.
Learn European Papermaking with Bridget O’Malley Saturday, January 20, 10 am–4 pm and Sunday, January 21, 1–4pm CT at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Learn the tools, terminology, and procedures of European-style papermaking in this in-person studio workshop. Participants will be guided through fiber preparation, the process of using moulds and deckles to form sheets, and techniques for pressing and drying. Focus will be on consistent sheet formation and safe, effective beater use, empowering participants with a solid grounding in materials and techniques for future independent papermaking in MCBA’s Papermaking Labs. All skill levels welcome! For more information, head over to https://www.mnbookarts.org/european-papermaking-january/.
Weave Through Winter 2024 with Helen Hiebert, February 1–29 (Online Workshop). Would you like to jump start your creativity? Crave the inspiration you get from the act of making? Love beautiful papers? Have a desire to connect with others who share these same goals? Several years ago, I was yearning to create on a regular basis, so I created my own 100 x 100 Paper Weaving Project. This was a challenge to myself, a call to action. I found myself getting sidetracked with bookkeeping, marketing, writing grant proposals... you name it! This project helped me dedicate a small chunk of my day to being in the studio and creating. For more information visit https://helenhiebertstudio.com/weave-through-winter-2024/.
Attention papermakers! You are invited to participate in the 3rd annual full-sheet Handmade Paper Exchange! This exchange is open to all levels of papermakers. Paper must be in size A4, B5, D4, or US letter size. Please, no glitter. Your 12 sheets must be postmarked by Jan. 15, 2024. For more information on the exchange please visit https://thefiberwire.com/2021/09/25/handmade-paper-exchange/, or checkout out @handmadepaperexchange on Instagram!
Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to partner with the McKnight Foundation to offer two fellowships to beyond-emerging artists living and working in Minnesota who show sustained experience in the book arts. They demonstrate achievement, commitment, and high level proficiency in their practice that contributes to the book arts field while impacting and benefiting people in Minnesota. Minnesota Center for Book Arts values a culture of equity and inclusion and encourages artists with diverse cultural backgrounds and lived experiences to apply. For more information, follow this link www.mnbookarts.org/mcknight-fellowships/
Open Call for artist residencies from Canon,
d’mage & Hahnemühle. The artist-in-residence program, Paper Residency! in 2024 will offer four artists from all over the world the opportunity to work artistically with paper completely freely and to provide new impulses. The residencies are aimed at visual artists who either already have experience with sculptural paper work or who have an idea or concept of what they would like to do with paper. The theme for 2024 is “Transformation.” Since 2018, it has offered four artists every year the opportunity to intensively engage with the material paper in Berlin or Munich. The application deadline ends on January 15 at 12 noon. For more information, visit https://blog.hahnemuehle.com/paper-residency-open-call-2024/.
special thanks to our donors
Hand Papermaking acknowledges recent contri-
butors to our nonprofit programs. All donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible. Our tax ID number is 52-1436849. Call or write for information on annual giving levels, automatic monthly gifts, and other ways to support us.
benefactors: Joan Hall, Mark Tomasko, Beck Whitehead
patrons: Tom Balbo, Lisa Cirando, Sid Berger &
Michèle Cloonan, Sue Gosin, Darin Murphy, Erik Saarmaa, Michelle Samour, Kenneth Tyler
underwriters: Yousef Ahmed, John Cirando, Vijay Dhawan, Lois & Gordon James, Ingrid Rose
sponsors: Eric Avery, Tom & Lore Burger, Kerri Cushman, Susan Mackin Dolan, Devie Dragone,
Michael Durgin, Michael Fallon, Jane Farmer, Kim Grummer, Helen Hiebert, Robyn Johnson &
Peter Newland, Debora Mayer, Marcia Morse, Robert Specker, H. Paul Sullivan, Mina Takahashi, Aviva Weiner, Kathy Wosika
donors: May Babcock, Alisa Banks, Tom Bannister, Sarah Louise Brayer, Ann Cicale, Jeffrey Cooper, Amanda Degener, John Dietel, Karla & Jim Elling, David Engle, Jerry Exline, Helen Frederick, Lori Goodman, Richard Haynes, Margaret Heineman, Shireen Holman, Kyoko Ibe, Jamie Kamph, Enid Keyser, June Linowitz, Julie McLaughlin, Sharon Morris, Jeannine Mulan, Anela Oh, Elaine Nishizu, Nancy Pike, Alta Price, Joy Purcell, Renee Rogers, Annabelle Shrieve, Thomas Siciliano, Kathleen Stevenson, Bernie Vinzani, April Vollmer, Paul Wong
supporters: Marlene Adler, John Babcock, Timothy Barrett, Kathryn Clark, Nancy Cohen, Marian Dirda, Iris Dozer, Tatiana Ginsberg, Mabel Grummer, Guild of Papermakers, Lisa Haque, Robert Hauser, Viviane Ivanova, Kristin Kavanagh, Susan Kanowith-Klein, David Kimball, Steve Kostell, Lea Basile-Lazarus, Aimee Lee, Winifred Lutz, MP Marion, Edwin Martin, Lynne Mattot, Ann McKeown, Tim Moore & Pati Scobey, Catherine Nash, Nancy Pobanz, Melissa Potter, Brian Queen, Dianne Reeves, Carolyn Riley, Michele Rothenberger, Pamela Wood
friends: Jack Becker, Anne Beckett, Lee Cooper, Elizabeth Curren, Dorothy Field, Lucia Harrison, Margaret Miller, Deborah Sternberg-Service, Don Widmer
in-kind donations: Janet De Boer, John Gerard, Dard Hunter III, Microsoft Corporate Citizenship, Steve Miller
contributors to our 2022 auction fundraising event: Jeff Abshear, Jane Ingram Allen, Rhiannon Alpers, Maxine Apke, Arnold Grummers’ Papermaking, Howard Aronson, Mary Ashton, John Babcock, May Babcock, Tom Balbo, Hannah O’Hare Bennett, Jenna Bonistalli, Cave Paper, Colin Browne, Ingrid Butler, Jazmine Catasús, Lisa Cirando, Kathryn Clark, Dan Colvin, Kerri Cushman, Amanda Degener, Katharine Delamater, Ilze Dilane, Kathy Dement, Susan Mackin Dolan, Dale Emmart, Tatiana Ginsberg, Green Banana Paper, Helen Frederick, Joan Hall, Helen Hiebert, Frances Hunter, Nancy Jacobi, Lois James, David Kimball, Genevieve Lapp,
Aimee Lee, Claudia Lee/Liberty Paper, Thomas Leech, Robert Mannino, Lee McDonald, Marcia Morse, Henry Obeng, Jill Odegaard, Radha Pandey, the Paper Circle, Tedi Permadi, Andrea Peterson, Kelsey Pike, Alta Price, Victoria Rabal, Jackie Radford, Margaret Rhein, Amy Richard, Laura Merrick Roe, Virginia Sarsfield/Handmade Paper Gallery,
Jillian Sico, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Peter Sowiski, Lynn Sures, Peter & Donna Thomas, Judy Tobie, Twinrocker Paper, Gibby Waitzkin, Michelle Wilson, Paul Wong, Kathy Wosika
AND THANKS TOO TO OUR SPONSORS
Arnold Grummer’s, the Papertrail Handmade Paper & Book Arts, Penland School of Craft, The Robert C. Williams Papermaking Museum, Carriage House Papers, the International Paper Museum, and Dieu Donné.