clouds in a sheet of paper

As one of the simplest forms of human technology, it could be argued that paper has had the most impact on the proliferation and preservation of knowledge worldwide.

When I work with paper as a medium and/or as a support, some of the questions that provoke my research are:

How do paper and books operate within social, cultural and symbolic forms of capital?

How do paper and books contribute to the construction of national identity and civil society? 

This history of paper, its many forms, uses and methods of papermaking have varied remarkably across cultures and over time. As an artist of Thai, Swiss and American heritage, I consider Eastern and Western traditions in my papermaking practice. The translation of ancient traditions and the recreation of their values, are essential to their continuity. 

In recent weeks, I have been making sheets of paper with a combination of abaca and flax fibers. The abaca plant is part of the banana family, its fiber is harvested from the leaf stems. Abaca is native to Asia, but can grow in humid regions. The flax plant grows in cooler climes and it is the bast, or inner bark, of the plant that is harvested for papermaking.

Both of these fibers have been mechanically macerated, breaking it down into a pulp. The pulp is mixed with water, poured onto a screen, and pulled away as a sheet of paper when dried. The resulting sheets are strong, somewhat translucent, and they make a crisp sound when crinkled. 

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jaz graf

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A “rondelle” made from unbeaten Thai Kozo fiber, held up to the window of cloudy skies.

Thanks to Laos Fois Photography for assistance in documenting the process.

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