Handmade magic

Interest in handmade paper is growing. For 20 years, textile and paper artist Inger Drougge-Carlberg has been experimenting with the very essence of paper in her art, and she teaches the magic of the craft at Iggesund.

Alongside industrial paper production, where mills are becoming larger as they shrink in number, there is an increasing interest in the genuine craft of making paper by hand. In a workshop for making paper by hand, course participants can create their own unique sheets of paper in a couple of hours. It fascinates children and adults all over the world.

One person who knows this is artist Inger Drougge-Carlberg, who for two decades has been making art out of paper at the Iggesund mill site in Iggesund, northern Sweden. Alongside her artistic activities, she holds courses in making paper by hand for school pupils and adults alike. She has organised several international paper symposiums for young artists, architects and designers, has taught the art of papermaking by hand in Mexico, India and Japan, and also helps out when Iggesund’s visitors want to learn about the craft-based origins of papermaking.

“They have to take off their jackets, roll up their sleeves and put on boots and aprons in my workshop for papermaking by hand,” Inger says during a tour of her premises.



On this particular day, pupils from Hudiksvall are visiting Inger’s workshop as part of their working-life experience at forest company Holmen, Iggesund’s parent company. They are making their own a4 sheets in their choice of colour, with inset paper cuttings and rose-hip leaves. “It’s such a joy to see how focused the pupils are and how quickly they learn each stage,” Inger says as she walks around instructing the pupils. “It’s great to make your own paper,” says 15-year-old Amanda Brink, who worked together with Sofie Axelsson.

Inger uses a tap to pour out warm cellulose fibre straight from the mill, which is then used for the handmade paper. In her own art over the years she has experimented with all kinds of fibres for papermaking. She makes public decorations several metres long by joining sheets of paper, each measuring 1 by 1.5 metres. With inset wool and linen threads in the pulp, which also has block-printing reliefs, she creates paper artworks with an almost textile feel.

She sometimes uses a weaving technique in her work, and at other times some artistically innovative technique. In her workshop she has a vacuum table that allows her to sculpt with paper, as well as equipment for spray-painting paper.
“When I started out as a textile artist in the 1970s, making pictures from textiles was regarded not as a form of art but more a kind of handicraft,” she says.

“When I started out as a textile artist in the 1970s, making pictures from textiles was regarded not as a form of art but more a kind of handicraft,” she says.

“I can see much the same development with paper art. Only now are paper objects being acknowledged as a form of art. The unique thing about making paper by hand is that each sheet can be a piece of art. It’s tremendously exciting to be involved, to influence and demonstrate the possibilities of paper.”


TEXT: NILS SUNDSTRÖM  PHOTO: PETRA BERGGREN

“It’s such a joy to see how focused the pupils are and how quickly they learn each stage,” Inger says as she walks around instructing the pupils.

Contact

Iggesund Paperboard
825 80 Iggesund
Sweden

+46 650 - 280 00
info@iggesund.com

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