cyanotypes and handmade paper at penland school of craft
Two years ago I began learning the art of papermaking which has expanded my control over the paper I use in my collages. I had the honor of spending time under the mentorship and expertise of Tom Bennick of Mountain Home before his passing this spring. During our time together, he shared invaluable information, including helping me gather the supplies and equipment I needed for a home studio. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know Tom and learn from such a talented papermaker. In August, made possible after receiving a grant from the Alexa Rose Foundation, I was able to pursue a longtime dream of mine to attend a papermaking workshop at the Penland School of Craft. It was an intensive week-long course, located in North Carolina, where I learned how to make paper from sustainably harvested plants like Japanese stilt grass (an invasive plant growing throughout Penland’s campus), Japanese knotweed, day lily and traditional fibers including abaca and cotton. Using cyanotypes, I also created photograms from foraged plants and photographs from digital negatives. These opportunities have put my papermaking skills to the test as I’ve learned about harvesting, cooking, and processing natural plant fibers. The cyanotype and photography portion was a bonus and offered an exciting new medium that I hope to continue exploring.