I approach papermaking as both process and metaphor.  I work primarily with high-shrinkage abaca and flax fibre pulps, partly because of their capacity for mark-making, partly because of the delicate, skin-like quality of the papers they make, so reminiscent of our own bodies. This dual personality of paper, comprising the cultural and the visceral, makes it seem very human to me. At the same time, I am constantly aware of the historical significance of paper in the transmission of knowledge and culture. Much of my work addresses the nature of the page as a created space.

The physical labor of transforming plant fibre into a sheet of paper offers seemingly endless opportunities to consider the material requirements and possible strategies for image making. Focused attention is essential, with all the senses attuned to what is happening from moment to moment, as pulp becomes paper.

Practice, 2021: handmade paper (abaca pulp, abaca fibre, hemp fibre), 38 x 70 x 3 in.

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Website © Susan Warner Keene 2009