Material Engagements

Material Engagements: Hand Papermaking and Feminist Futures is an interdisciplinary film and book project which traces the feminist origins and impacts of the American papermaking movement. Through oral histories and research in Columbia College Chicago’s archive, I trace the origins of unmarked works by Center for Book & Paper founder, Marilyn Sward featuring plants from locations such as South Africa, China, Indonesia and the American Midwest. As Sward transformed plants into handmade paper, she explored themes ranging from cross-cultural exchange, chance, collaboration, process, and embodiment. Her work finds its antecedents at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, where hand papermakers, makers of artist’s books, and printmakers sought to define a new art language through the woman-centric vernacular of crafts media. Film locations include Lurie Garden in Chicago (where we source most of our plants for paper); Columbia College Chicago’s papermaking studio; and the Columbia College Chicago archives. Cinematography by Jelena Jovcic.