Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stop by the Tiny Gallery in the basement of North Hall to see the newest exhibit: The History of Papermaking

Exhibit Overview

This exhibit provides a brief introduction to the craft of papermaking by highlighting three of the primary historical techniques: Asian, Islamic, and Western. Examples of historical paper and the tools of the trade provide context for a display of contemporary book and paper art by current and former Center for the Book students.

Papermaking was first practiced in China near the beginning of the Common Era. Around 600-700 CE, the craft traveled east into the Korean peninsula and Japan, west into Arab countries, and to Spain in the eleventh century. In fifteenth-century Europe, paper played an important role in the evolution of printing because it offered a more efficient, affordable, and sustainable alternative to parchment. Until the invention of the paper machine at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, all paper was made by hand, one sheet at a time, using the materials and methods featured in this exhibit.

Although machine-made paper eventually overtook handmade paper for most document and book production, the craft has evolved on its own and within such disciplines as book arts, printmaking, and conservation. As evidenced by the quality and variety of student work in this exhibit, the Center for the Book and the Oakdale Paper Facility play an important part in fostering the art of hand papermaking in an increasingly paperless world.