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First interest in hand papermaking process: 1979
First piece of handmade paper: 1979
First handmade paper artwork: 1979
Beginning of active practice: 1979
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Years teaching hand papermaking: 1981 to present
My training in paper making and extensive background in fiber arts has informed my work in creating decorative papers. It is critical that I understand the characteristics of the fibers and the papers that I work with, so that I know what type of paper to use for what situations and then why something has worked as it has to create the results that were achieved. This knowledge has then informed personal research into the "surface design" techniques that I use most frequently which are "paste painting" and "itajime" (fold and board clamp dyeing.) I started making decorative papers because I could not find the types of colors, textures or patterns to purchase that met my aesthetic needs. Trained as a fine artist and as a painter, I need the variety of color and texture that one can create with paint. Since I could not purchase what I needed, I started to learn how to dye and to paint papers to create the palette that I required for collages that I was creating Then it was so much fun creating decorative papers that I ended up needing to sell what I had created in order to keep making more of it. I have been researching "paste paper" since 1990 and have traveled world wide in pursuit of it in rare book libraries and paper collections, and to meet with every paste paper artist I can find. I now am writing a book on historic paste papers. The FDH conferences, Hand Papermaking Journal, one PBI workshop, IAPMA and a perpetual interest in paper arts and world wide paper crafts has continued to feed my interest and curiosity. Teaching paper arts and paper making has also led me to learn more, to read and research, to be able to offer the best educational experiences that I can. I am intrigued with the fields of origami, paper cuts, pop-ups, paper collage (especially children's book illustration that is created from decorative papers such as Eric Carl's books,) I am intrigued with fiber, why/how paper makes, and with the myriad of things that can be done with paper. I am also fascinated by the way that paper making can be so simple and elemental, and how it begs for continual invention and seat of the pants intuition in how to move forward. I am delighted by what I see that others create and invent. Since I moved to Canada in 2007 I have also been influenced by the work of bookbinders. I belong to the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) and fortunately Brian Queen in part of this group as well, so I am regularly informed of what he is currently inventing.