September 2, 2010

September's Hands-On Houston

Everyone has heard paper comes from trees, but do you know how a tree is made into paper? If you want to find out, join us this Saturday, September 4, for Hands-On Houston! On the first Saturday of every month, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., HCCC hosts Hands-On Houston, a free craft-making activity that people of all ages can enjoy. This Saturday, visitors will be up to their elbows in paper pulp and water, making their own sheets of handmade paper. Papermaking artist Kathy Gurwell will be leading the activity.

Kathy is an instructor at the Museum of Printing History and has had years of experience in the fields of both papermaking and printmaking. Below she shares about her experiences as a papermaker:

I found my way to papermaking through printmaking. As a curator at Tamarind Lithography Institute in Albuquerque, NM, from 1971-1973, I had to know and work with fine quality paper. Later, in California, I had the opportunity to hand make paper, and, eventually, in 1976, I bought the equipment and set up my studio.

I create paper by deconstructing clothing from natural fibers, such as cotton, linen and silk. Then, after beating the fibers to a pulp, I reform them into sheets of hand-pulled paper. Besides making papers from natural fibers, I have also made Japanese paper out of the inner bark of the kozo and gampi trees. When created, Japanese papers are amazingly thin. Working with fiber and water is such a pleasure.

Kathy pulling paper at Museo della Carta in Fabriano, Italy.
Kathy "kooching," or pressing, the wet paper against a felt.

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