Paper ghost sign taken on a walk home, Michigan Ave. Chicago
I love paper. Probably a no brainer if you happen to read this blog or know me personally. My earliest memories involve me making things out of paper—drawings, doll houses, paper dolls, rubbings, sandals, decorative chains, rolled curly paper art, shadow boxes. Construction paper was my friend. I even remember filling the front of my overall pockets with notepads and highlighters—to color coordinate with my socks. This was 1989. So maybe I was a dork?
I felt like a bit of a dork attending a lecture last night at Columbia College, by the author of a book all about the history of paper. Nicholas Basbanes wrote On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History. Yet once he started talking about the various topics addressed in his book, explaining an overall look at how important paper was to the history of the world, those feelings of dork dome went away and I really resonated with what he had to say. Paper is part of our history. It captured our history. A revolutionary product created by the Chinese in 105 AD by Cai Lun, paper can be tracked as it migrated around the world, influencing and changing cultures as it spread. Today, there are said to be 20,000 different commercial uses of paper. A quote from the lecture was,
"A paperless society is as plausible as a paperless bathroom."
Which definitely made the room chuckle, yet also make you think. As much as information is now being captured through a digital interface, the use of paper is not dying away. It was noted by a man in the audience that for many archival institutes, information that is originally captured digitally is being printed and archived to paper. The only "interface" you need for paper is the interpretive "eye."
A little sneak peak of what I have been working on for so long under the now business name of Domesticated Desk, is a series of journals. An appropriate first collection since the journal has meant so much to me in my life. The flow of idea to word to pencil to paper is just magical. On Paper lecture noted that Leonardo Da Vinci did not have many of his ideas last through the ages, but what we do have are over 3,500 pieces of paper and/or journals of his writings, drawings and designs (read more here) Wow. I want to be a part of continuing the importance of the written work or drawn sketch. To pick up a printed Declaration of Independence (read about this guy), or a letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams (read more here) is to touch the very thing they touched. That is why I love old things, they are an instant conduit to the past. A touch of history. Basbanes's working title for his book was Common Bond and I think that play on words is accurate (just not as direct, as his publisher noted). I know with time, things change, but I just don't see the importance of paper changing any time soon.
Stay tuned for more product reveals.
If you visit Chicago, be sure to swing by the new Papermaker's Garden.