Challenging Perspectives: Peace Paper Project

Challenging Perspectives: In my art, I like to take every day items and scenes and alter them to prompt a new way of thinking. This is exactly what Peace Paper Project does.

People take fabric, from clothing, military uniforms, bed sheets, you name it, and make paper out of the pulp from this fabric. Then, using the paper, Drew and Margaret work with the people to make prints, paintings, and diaries.

Drew and Margaret (the people behind Peace Paper Project) travel around the world working with veterans, survivors of sexual abuse and assault (and their allies), and cancer survivors, and survivors of other illnesses, to help them heal through art. The idea is that a person takes some fabric that has meaning to them, and make something new out of it.

“The concept of creating paper from clothing with personal significance reaches a new level as women of all ages snip, beat, and reform their underwear together.”

For example, Drew talked about a workshop that he did at a cancer hospital where patients took hospital gowns, masks, and bed sheets and made paper, and then used the paper to make diaries in which patients were able to do creative writing exercise as a therapeutic healing exercise.

I had the pleasure of coming across Peace Paper Project working with the GW Office of Veterans Services at George Washington University. I spoke with Drew and Margaret for almost an hour as they explained their project to me, and showed me the process of making the paper. It is really a phenomenal project in that it uses a unique process to reclaim material to make it into something new, allowing people to heal during the process. See below for the process of making paper, and then some of the final products —> (If you want to see their official “how to make paper” process, check out their website here.)

military service uniforms, or other fabric is cut into pieces about the size of a quarter to be made into pulp to then make into paper.

this is a specially designed machine that turns the uniforms (or other fabric) into pulp, it is called a “Hollander Beater”

the pulp water mixture (slurry) is stored in a bucket for easy transfer. No dyes or pigments are added to the pulp. This is the Marines uniform.

the pulp is giggled around in the screen mold as the water seeps out, leaving the pulp

the paper is transferred from the screen mold onto fabric sizing to dry

very squishy paper is set to dry

finished product – paper!

Here are some images of the pieces that come out of this amazing project:

Margaret and Drew traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to do a workshop on traditional Islamic paper making. This was paper made by the mayor’s wife with a watermark in it.

The GW Veteran Services Center commissioned a triptych for their office. Drew used uniform pulp paper from three branches of service: the Army, Navy, and Marines (L to R)

Pulping Panties paper made by survivors of sexual violence and their allies

image transferred to paper – sometimes the veterans choose an image and use a silk screen print to transfer the image onto paper using extra finely pulped fabric and pigment.

silk screen stencils soaking in water

Peace Paper Project travels all over the world to do workshops, including India and Turkey

a beautiful abstract piece

sanded down pieces of jewelry to make watermarks. the thin pieces of metal are sewn to the screen molds where the pulp is set. The place where the metal is sewn makes the paper thinner in the shape of the item —> watermark! This is a peace sign, and the “Guernica Tree” from Spain.


2 responses to “Challenging Perspectives: Peace Paper Project

  1. Pingback: Re-Purposed SnowFlakes | EmaBee's Art·

  2. Pingback: More Declassified Document Peace Art | EmaBee's Art·

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