Note from Mel: I am re-running this post because the papermaking community lost a pioneer on Wednesday - Arnold Grummer, the founder of Arnold Grummer's Papermaking Supplies and the Friends of Dard Hunter, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 89. Even though I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him only once, he left quite an impression on me. Since this post, I have had the joy of working with the Grummer family, and I am SO grateful that I've gotten to know and work with these wonderful people.
Godspeed, Mr. Grummer - you've touched more lives than you'll ever know.
Have you ever done something that you knew was going to have a lasting impact? That happened to me on Thursday afternoon.
It was one of those cold, rainy, windy days that is perfect for staying in. Which was serendipitous, it turns out.
For YEARS I've wanted to learn how to make paper. On Thursday afternoon I set out to do that for only one reason - I had a speaking engagement at a paper makers' conference on Friday and I wanted to see what it was all about as part of my research.
Let me back-track - about 6 weeks ago my friend Carolyn forwarded me an e-mail from Kim Scheidermayer, who is the daughter of Arnold Grummer (of paper-making supplies fame - I'm sure you've seen their products in art supply stores). She and her family were going to be hosting the Friends of Dard Hunter Midwest Conference in Appleton in October and were looking for someone to give a talk on ATCs. Since I live far closer to Appleton than Carolyn, she wondered if I'd be interested in giving the talk. WOULD I? I jumped at the chance, even though I had no idea who or what "Dard Hunter" was. :D
After Kim and I had confirmed that I would be the speaker (thanks again, Carolyn!), I sort of forgot about it for a month. As the time grew closer, I knew I had to get crackin' on the research. So I did the "easy" stuff first - I read up on Dard Hunter. What a great story - Dard (real name: William) was a renaissance man of sorts - paper maker, font creator (out of copper and steel, not a computer), book maker and stained glass forger. When he died in 1966 he left most of his works to MIT, but was later moved into what now comprises most of the American Museum of Papermaking at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Today, his Mountain House is being turned into a living museum, of which his grandson is a part. The Friends of Dard Hunter is an organization that honors Dard's life and works, and a portion of the membership dues help fund the American Museum of Papermaking.
Okay, so I did my research. Now, on to the actual paper-making! I had purchased a tiny kit for kids about four years ago and had never even opened it until last Thursday. Now was the time to put it to the test.
*Cue the heavenly choir*
I was all set for the conference. Little did I know that on Friday, I would be surrounded by master craftsmen, artists, chemists, botanists, archivists and all manner of folks who, for their own reasons, LOVE paper. And what a group of people! They embraced me as if I had been a part of their group for 20 years. I wound up staying the whole day and making ATCs with the group, joining them for a wonderful dinner as their guest and staying for Arnold Grummer's "Great American Paper Machine" presentation. I didn't get home until 10 p.m.! I wish I could've stayed for the whole weekend.
Today, I'm going to experiment by using some of my ephemeral scraps of paper like maps, money and newspapers. I'll let you know how it turns out! Just one more way of "taking the discarded and making it arted"! :D