Melissa Potter

Address431 S Dearborn #502
Postal Code60605
Phone Number312 526 3669

First interest in hand papermaking process: 1988

First piece of handmade paper: 1988

First handmade paper artwork: 1988

Beginning of active practice: 1988


Click on an image for the full view.

Melissa's Work in Hand Papermaking:

  1. Artist who uses handmade paper for book arts
  2. Artist who uses papermaking for two-dimensional work
  3. Educator or researcher who lectures about hand papermaking
  4. Educator who teaches hand papermaking (any facet)
  5. Writer on topics related to hand papermaking

Melissa's Introduction to Hand Papermaking:

  1. Classroom instruction

Influences on Melissa's Work in Hand Papermaking:

Publications initially important to Melissa:

  1. Hand Papermaking Magazine : publication
  2. Hand Papermaker's Sourcebook : Sophie Dawson
  3. Papermaking with Plants : Lillian Bell
  4. Papermaking : Jules Heller

Publications eventually important to Melissa:

  1. Papermaking with Plants : Helen Hiebert
  2. The Papermaker's Companion : Helen Hiebert
  3. Gift of the Conquerors : Alexandra Souteriou
  4. Color for the Hand Papermaker : Elaine Koretsky
  5. Japanese Papermaking : Tim Barrett

Countries where Melissa's studied:

Raw materials used by Melissa in Hand Papermaking:

Chemicals used by Melissa for cooking fibers in Hand Papermaking:

Tools and methods used by Melissa for beating in Hand Papermaking:

Used Routinely
  1. Hollander beater
  2. hand beating
  3. other : Mark Lander's Critter--a variation on a Reina Hollander
Used Rarely

Style of sheet forming used by Melissa in Hand Papermaking:

Years teaching hand papermaking: 1995-present

Teaching formats used by Melissa:

Melissa's Income Contribution from Hand Papermaking:

  1. a little


From 1997 - 2000 I was the Program Director for Dieu Donne Papermill. Prior to that I was the graduate assistant in the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper working on artist collaborations and teaching. I wrote a print-on-demand book called Pulp, A Love Story: My Serbian Affair with Papermaking about the papermaking studio I built at the University of Belgrade in 2006, which is still in use today. Since coming to Columbia College Chicago in 2008, I worked with Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe of the Venezuelan Yanomami community bringing him to Chicago to work with my graduate students to create limited hand papermaking editions expressing his creation histories in the medium. In 2011, two of my students (Haley Nagy and Maggie Puckett) went with me to work with 10 artists to make a modern interpretation of a Yanomami myth, I taught and created the sisal handmade paper sheets for the book. Currently, I am co-curating an exhibition with Jessica Cochran called Social Paper: Hand Papermaking in the Context of Socially Engaged Art funded by Clinton Hill and Crafts Research Fund. Maggie Puckett and I will launch a new program in the new Papermaker's Garden at Columbia College Chicago called Seeds InService, a collaboration with the Hull House Seed Library making plants from local heirloom seeds.


I will distribute this among my students and encourage them to participate. I also forgot to mention in the last one: my colleague and I received a generous grant from Columbia College to explore electroluminescent and speaker embedding in handmade flax paper, a project called Handmade Media.