Pawtucket Paper is a creative place-making project that started in 2017 as an arts, craft, and plant science education project for the Galego Court and greater Rhode Island community, through the support of volunteer effort and a RISCA project grant.
Through collaboration with the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) Galego Community Farm and the Pawtucket Housing Authority, I have continued to present free public events and workshops on how to make paper from the garden's weeds, the invasive Japanese Knotweed, and agricultural waste fiber. More recently, youth staff have been co-designing paper products from these waste materials.
In 2018, I was awarded a Creative Community Fellowship, a program by D.C. based National Arts Strategies that brings together cultural trailblazers for six months, to learn life-changing skills and to see dreams become reality — and drive transformation through arts and culture.
The goal of Pawtucket Paper is to establish a papermaking center that:
Offers accessible creative papermaking space and educational programs for the New England area
Increases quality of life and economic opportunity for Pawtucket, RI residents
In its first year, uses 2000 lbs. of waste and invasive plant fiber to make and sell paper products
Encourages stewardship of the local landscape through partnerships with environmental groups
Pawtucket Paper will be the only facility of its kind in the nation.
Current & Past Activities
More recently, I have been working with SCLT Youth Staff to co-design and prototype commercial paper products, ready for retail sale during the upcoming holiday season.
After School Workshops
Students learn how to harvest plant fibers from the farm, cut them up, cook them, process them with blenders, and make sheets of paper.
Volunteers pull and process Japanese Knotweed, a pervasive and invasive plant in the Farm. Through hands-on demonstrations, volunteers make their own pure plant handmade papers from this waste fiber. Knotweed, mugwort, and bird-vetch paper were used for place cards at a SCLT 2017 fundraiser dinner, and donor gifts in 2018.
I demonstrate papermaking from garden plants at the annual fall festival. Festival attendees get their hands wet, and make their own sheet of paper and stenciled pulp painting to take home. ‘Pulp painting’ is an artistic technique where one paints with different colored pulps, making paintings that are 100% paper.