Papermaking SkillShare recap

Papermaking Workshop Handout
Papermaking workshop photos by Kafi D'Ambrosi

Photos courtesy of Kafi D’Ambrose | Studio Kafi

So, that was mad fun! Yesterday afternoon, as part of a SkillShare organized by Mesh Baltimore, I taught a handful of people how to make handmade paper by recycling their junk mail and household paper.

I thought this would be a great subject to teach because I originally was motivated to try papermaking after seeing a 30-second animation about the process on the DIY Network (true story!); if I could learn all about it in 30 seconds, surely I could teach other people how to do it in 55 minutes!
Seeing the workshop participants lift their first sheets out of the vat and reveal their successes when they removed the deckle was really inspiring and exciting. Also, while I was crazy nervous about being in a teaching role (especially after discovering many of Mesh’s workshop leaders are or have been actual classroom teachers!), the informal and fun atmosphere of the workshop really made me relax and I had a great time—and hope the participants did, too.
As promised in yesterday’s workshop, I’ve uploaded a handout with some basic papermaking information and links to additional tutorials and resources about papermaking. I hope, however, the main lessons participants took home were these:

  1. Paper has been around for centuries. As a result, there really is no one true way to do things.
  2. Papermaking is a super forgiving process. Don’t be tense and know there are many ways to fix, undo or reclaim your mistakes.

You can never step into the same river twice. Nor can you pull the same sheet a second time.

From my papermaking workshop handout.

I had a great time both teaching and learning throughout the day and am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this event. The next Baltimore SkillShare is set for March 2, so check out Mesh Baltimore’s web site and Twitter for more details about how to attend and get involved yoruself!.

Thanks for reading!

Published in modus operandi, true life stories on Sunday, January 20, 2013
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