Papermaking: History and
Technique Through Hands-on Experience
Friday, April 16, 2004
Moderator: Jae Jennifer Rossman, Yale University
Instructor: Robbin Ami Silverberg, Director of Dobbin Mill
This full day workshop presented the 12 attendees with lecture and hands-on learning to augment their knowledge of paper, particularly handmade paper. The first half of the workshop was in lecture form, beginning with an overview of the history of paper. Next, the participants were able to handle samples of various kinds of handmade paper from all over the world. The various fibers and methods of making the paper were discussed. There was also a separate discussion of the various ways that paper could be manipulated to include content directly in or on the paper, such as embedding materials or pulp painting. The morning concluded with a discussion of how contemporary book artists have used handmade paper in their work, illustrated with examples from the Arts of the Book Collection at Yale and from the private collection of Robbin Silverberg.
The afternoon portion of the workshop was hands-on. First the participants learned how to use the various pieces of equipment needed for the day. Then they practiced sheet formation, each making several individual sheets of paper. Then they learned to color the paper pulp and were instructed on some of the techniques discussed earlier. The attendees then made wet bindings,a technique that allows the creation of a codex format book directly from wet sheets of paper. The participants experimented with the techniques of pulp painting, inclusions, and lamination while they continued to improve their sheet formation skills. Each participant left with a time line of the history of paper, a bibliography of books on the history of paper, a bibliography of the artists' books discussed, and the handmade paper and books they created.