Note: The winner of the T-shirt from the Madeline Island School of the Arts is BirdingBesty! Congratulations! Thanks also for leaving a comment on the poetry class blog.
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Up in the hills of Oro Valley, North of Tucson (AZ) in a purple and turquoise studio, we made paper. Handmade paper was my first real art love many years ago. I allowed myself to think like an artist. I became an artist. Taking a class all these years later was a wonderful experience. Val Bembenek is the Paper Art Lady, and she was our instructor. Val gathers desert plants–thistledown, yucca, agaves. When she travels up North, she gathers cattails , irises, and grasses. And she saves pineapple, cornhusks, onion skins, and artichoke to make paper.
Val had the vats of beaten fiber ready for us and for two days we made gourmet paper (hops and artichoke was lovely) and wild grass paper. It was pure satisfaction. She let us have the run of the studio. Our places were set up with everything we needed and we could make paper till the fiber ran out. And there was plenty of fiber.
I made a whole stack of paper:
And when I got home and spread the papers on the hot patio to dry, one of the cats ignored the art aspect and just used the paper to cool her tummy:
I have some collage plans and maybe a book-making plan for the paper. Too many people never use their handmade paper, and the real beauty for art is to see it in use.
—Quinn McDonald has never stopped loving paper making or making bowls out of handmade paper.