We love the maleable nature of paper – from robust to translucent – the unexpected revelation of emotion in a seemingly plain material. But it is people that matters more than paper. Paperworks Inc desires a richer social experience for everyone! We aim to bring people of all backgrounds and abilities together through creating handmade paper from recycled materials, including denim jeans and locally harvested plant fibres.
Social inclusion through community art
Bringing people together through recycling, hand print- and papermaking
- Respect for people: creating a safe space where everyone’s contribution is valued
- Respect for the environment: Paperworks uses recycled denim jeans and natural fibres.
- Building community: across all boundaries of age, culture, education, social status
- Being creative and having fun
I have always loved paper – the smell, the texture, the absolute sensuous nature of it. It is no surprise then, that in 1999 I began making paper, with the intention to play a part in the global drive for recycling. Initially I have used recycled paper – as all beginners do, but soon moved on to recycling denim. It is a laborious process to convert jeans to paper, but well worth the effort. The paper is not only beautiful, but versatile, amazingly strong and even better – it is a great way to recycle!
The rest of the story, is just not that simple. After I attended my first papermaking course I walked out and said, ‘This was nice, but not it’. The reason for my arrogance was based in the sure knowledge from an early age that ‘one day’ I would be doing something creative. Paper seemed just too simple to be really more than just the backdrop for great works of art… and recycled paper, well, could not really be much more, or could it?
God has a wonderful sense of humour and has never let me forget this, nor the need for second chances…
In 2009 someone, through an art exhibition I was planning at that stage, connected me with Paperworks with the result that I joined them in 2010 for the Disability ACT trial project.
Social workshop co-ordinator
“Early in 2011, I read an article about a group, Paperworks, wanting people to donate their old jeans to make into paper. I later discovered that Paperworks were running classes, so I joined up……and here I am still.
I had volunteered for many years at Rough Diamonds, a group that encouraged marginalised people and people with disabilities to meet socially, so I was thrilled to discover that Paperworks has a similar aim. Recently I was invited to help at Paperworks on Friday mornings. We have great fun together making paper, and doing paper-related craft activities.
For some years, I have made my own cards and using my own paper lifts card-making to another level. A friend is helping me with some illuminated letters which I paint and write with ink on my paper.
I also make quilts, and using the techniques of layering and stitching through the fabric layers, I have applied them to using paper with very satisfying results.”
After retiring from the Education Department where I worked with Hearing Impaired students and children with special needs, I looked for volunteer work and came across Paperworks Inc. I was curious as to how on earth denim jeans could be turned into paper. So I went along to lend a hand and never left! How lucky was I, making new friends, learning a new skill and being able to indulge in my favourite pastime, arts and crafts!
Paperworks made me feel very welcome. It was an added bonus that I was able to assist someone by using my sign language skills. Everyone comes together as a team, each bringing a variety of talents, ideas and enthusiasm, making Paperworks Inc a most enjoyable `retirement` for me.
- Allyscha Thomson
- Louise Wagner
- Sarah Sadler
- President: Marja Rouse
- Secretary: Claudine Jamieson
- Treasurer: Richard Bear
- Committee member: vacant