what we do

The Paper Itself, More Than What is On It

Mostly, I spend more time looking at and appreciating the paper of an artifact than I do the information on it.  I can’t deny that I love the artwork, the history, the stories that people bring to me to fix, but once I commence to working, it’s the paper fibers themselves that fascinate me.  If there is paint or ink, it’s the ways those media are entangled in the fibers that absorbs my attention.

And so I adore that Tim Barrett was given a Fulbright grant and a MacArthur Fellowship to make paper, and that his work is getting the support and interest it deserves.  Here is a NY Times article.

I love this part: ““I describe the paper [Barrett-made paper] to the students,” Galvin says, “and I talk about the care, knowledge and aesthetic wisdom that went into making it. Then I tell them to go home and write something on it that makes it more interesting than it is when it’s blank.”



what we do

Paper History

I had no idea the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum existed until just now, looking around for databases to help gather info about some coptic bindings Kevin posted about on Library Preservation Blog. It just goes to show that you can never spend too much time wandering the internets.

Apparently, for just $20,000, you can rent the exhibit World of Paper. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will fit in my house.

And here’s a watermark database, with some great images. Paul Locasto has an article on being a filigranophile, which is a new word for me. I think I might be one.

The British Association of Paper History has some interesting photo galleries.

I’ve got to say, though, that I am disappointed by the lack of a true paper database that would meet the high standards set by the bookbinding databases of the British Library or Princeton. Not to mention the lack of a database of deteriorating tape. Anyone know of any? Anyone have the time and energy to start one? I mean, come on…we’ve got flickr and we’ve got wikis – should be easy, right?