Dawn Donnelly

In 2008 I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to be a part of Teacher cum Laude. After a bit of thinking, I decided to work with handmade paper and how to incorporate into needlepoint. I’ve always liked the look of handmade paper; I thought it would have great potential and create some interesting results. So, I used the program to play with something I’ve been interested in for awhile.

My journey took me to many classes on making handmade paper, making books and calligraphy. At Hollanders in Ann Arbor MI, a nationally recognized specialist in decorative papers and bookbinding supplies, I attended six classes: Introduction to Paper, Continuing Paper Making, More Paper Making and Making Paper from Garden Plants and Four Books for Beginners.

The paper classes were taught by Karen O’Neil, who uses the dip method for creating her paper. In Santa Fe, I took a class from a local artist who uses the pour method. She actually makes her living from her painted handmade paper art! From these classes I hoped to get a basic understanding of the process and what could be accomplished.

The seventh class at Hollanders – Four Books for Beginners – taught me how to create four different kinds of books. I took this class because I wanted something to display some of my paper samples. And, finally, at a local art store I took a Beginning Calligraphy class thinking I would need to label my paper samples with nice lettering.

My journey ended with a presentation at Assembly, completion of my journal and the creation of seven pieces: Love Letters, Bargello Sea, Reflections I and II, Blue Hills, White Stuff and Paper & Stitches. Each of these used some new techniques that enhanced each piece, with painted, torn, rolled, stitched, stamped and molded paper. It was a long process, but I would do it again in a second!