A creative place-making, hand papermaking center
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
2017 - Interesting Beginnings
As a papermaking artist, I’ve traveled to teach the art and craft of making paper by hand for years, and in 2017 the Pawtucket community started to have a chance to learn, too.
Families and children from Galego Court started learning papermaking from plants during afterschool programs at the SCLT Galego Community Farm. Eventually, I offered a ‘more official’ arts, craft, and plant science education project—Pawtucket Paper. We made paper from Japanese Knotweed (an invasive plant in the garden), and other garden weeds such as mugwort, garlic mustard, and bird vetch. This wouldn’t have been possible without:
a RISCA project grant
collaboration with the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) Galego Community Farm
collaboration with the Pawtucket Housing Authority.
Since then, various free public events and workshops have been held, including a fall harvest festival, volunteer days, and even group hula-hoop ‘pulp painting’. More recently, youth staff have been collaborating to design handmade paper products from waste fibers.
2018 - A Warm Embrace, and Nudge Forward from National Arts Strategies
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.
2019 - A Prototype Space, and Important Questions
Here’s the question:
How might we use hand papermaking to create positive change for Pawtucket and its residents?
In response, Pawtucket Paper’s goal is to establish a hand papermaking center that:
Increases quality of life, economic opportunity, and professional arts access
Offers accessible papermaking space and educational programs for the New England area
In its first year, uses 2000 lbs. of waste and invasive plant fiber to make and sell paper products, led by local high-school youth staff
Encourages stewardship of the local landscape through innovative partnerships with local environmental groups
Pawtucket Paper will be the only facility of its kind in the nation.
Current & Past Activities
Designing Handmade Paper
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 Plant Papermaking
After-school students and families from Galego Court and the neighborhood 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 Galego Community 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.
Fall Harvest Festival
I demonstrate papermaking from garden plants at the Galego Community Farm 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.
Pulp Fiction, Take Magazine, July 2017
This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.