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Techniques and Technologies

Session II, Panel 4. “The Paper Artist & the Engineer: How Technology Supports the Creative Process,” presented by Brian Queen ¶ “Flax: The Printer’s Plant,” presented by Josef Beery ¶ “Pulp Diction,” presented by Amy LeePard and Suzanne Sawyer.

Laser Cutting Fine Binding, Artist Monique Lallier, Interpreter of Maladies. (Brian Queen)

Brian Queen started off this sparkling panel with his presentation, “The Paper Artist & the Engineer: How Technology Supports the Creative Process.” He amply demonstrated that new digital technologies have presented book artists and designers with amazing new tools: laser cutters, CNC routers, and 3-D printers are capable of more than you might imagine. The talk was supplemented with several short “demo” videos, and a parade of artifacts that were passed through the audience. Queen pointed out that throughout history, artists have been among the first people to exploit new technologies. 


Artist Dean Dass in Charlottesville harvesting home-grown flax for paper making. (Josef Beery)

Josef Beery’s presentation, “Flax: The Printer’s Plant” brought us out of the laboratory and into the fields of Charlottesville and the papermaking studios of the University of Virginia. Beery described in loving and close detail the complex and time-consuming stages of making paper from flax. The talk was anchored in pedagogy. Beery showed how his semester-long class tackled problems before finding success. 


Letterpress printed text using a photopolymer plate on a newly formed wet sheet of handmade paper. (Suzanne Sawyer)

The final presentation featured Suzanne Sawyer and Amy LeePard’s experiments with printing on wet sheets of handmade paper. Amy couldn’t make it to the conference, but she participated via video. Titled, “Pulp Diction,” their talk walked through the trials and errors of their processes in not only making sculptural paper but incorporating relief printing on it. Their results left everyone amazed. 

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