Paper Studio Project

Ilze Dilāne, Pārdaugava Music and Art School
Paper making studio project

Introduction: Paper making as a component of art education
I learned paper making and pulp painting in the United States. After returning to Latvia, I hoped to find an equipped workshop in the Nordic countries. The American journal Hand Papermaking Magazine listed two workshops, one in Sweden, another in Finland. The idea that such a workshop could be a Latvia did not seem realistic at the beginning knowing the price of equipment alone.

Paper making studio at the Southwest School of Art and Craft

With such equipment, where the most important is the Hollander beater, it is possible to produce pulp for making paper from recycled materials, such as old denim pants, old cotton and linen fabrics. In addition, linen fibre, different plants, kozo, abaca, and cotton linters can also be used.
Paper projects may be very different: the paper can be made with decorative effects, with such additions as thread ends of petals, leaves of plants, etc. For example, various forms of paper and stencil can be made for making envelopes. Books, bookmarks, journals, and peculiar-form artistic books can be made from the paper. Hand-made paper can be used for drawing and graphics.

Hand-made paper book made from old denim pants

The Beginning: Hand-made paper workshop for sale in Sweden
Later, however, I sat down and wrote emails to both studios listed in the journal. The first response I received from Strӓngnӓs in Sweden informing me that the workshop owner Lars Cronquist was sick and his studio was closed. His wife and son had already decided to sell the equipment. After a brief email exchange with his wife Birgitta, I learned that someone was interested in buying the Hollander beater, but everything else was up for grabs. They wanted to give priority to a school or a buyer who would purchase all the equipment and materials at the same time.

Buyer found: The Pārdaugava Music and Art School
Pārdaugava Music and Art School Principal Agnese Staģe was very interested in the paper studio and wanted to purchase it in order to install it at the school. She also said that it would be possible to get financing within a year. We learned that the price of this equipment is very symbolic.

Swedish visits: Inspection of equipment and its transportation to Latvia
In the beginning of the November of 2010, I went to Strӓngnӓs on a private visit to see the equipment and to try out the Hollander beater, which was the most expensive machine in the equipment set used for paper pulp beating. The visit was wonderful, and it turned out that the equipment was in perfect condition. Everything was clean and worked perfectly.

Hollander beater's test

The next trip to Sweden that was sponsored by the school took place at the end of January, 2011 and its purpose was to pack up all transportable materials. We also successfully managed to arrange transportation a day before my departure. This enabled me to participate both in cargo uploading in Sweden and unloading in Riga.

Equipment preparation for transportation to Latvia

Almost closing: Premises
Currently, the studio equipment is in a relatively large room with water drainage built in the floor. It has an adjacent room for course audiences up to 10-15 people.
Paper studio already now permits to learn the interesting paper making technique in art classes. Besides art classes for school-age children, PMMS also offers life-long education classes for adults and interest education for pre-school children. Working with paper pulp will be engaging for this audience as well. We also plan seminars and workshops for art teachers in other Latvian schools.
Currently, the temporary room can host up to 6 people per session, but they have to take turns while helping each other.

If you are interested to support the development of paper studio at the Pārdaugava Music and Art School, please contact Art Society "Prickly Pear" Board Member Ilze Dilāne:
Donation information (that lists the current donors as well)
Thank you!