Last week I had the pleasure of exploring Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The weather cooperated beautifully; in fact, the only snow in evidence was melting piles that had been mounded high in parking lots. One of the many things I like about New England is that there's a definite appreciation of the term 'hand-crafted' that isn't often seen in other parts of the country. Just as one example, the welcome centers of each state feature artisan displays - I found myself jotting down names and websites.
In Burlington, Vermont it was warm enough to have lunch at an outdoor cafe - just wonderful considering it was very early April. Not only did I meet up with the talented Tracy Belair Gaito while in town, but also checked out Combat Paper, an art exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery.It features the work of Iraq war veterans who have transformed the space into a papermaking studio. These interventionist artists recruit returning soldiers who cut, beat, and cook their uniforms into pulp, and then form them into sheets of paper which they use to create statement art. Thus, the veterans begin the cathartic process of reconciling their time in Iraq. During the course of the exhibit, the public has been invited to participate in papermaking sessions and perhaps more importantly, much-needed conversation between civilians and veterans. Open Wound - Eli Wright 2007
Pulped military uniforms, shredded U.S. currency, Musa textilis natural fiber, pigment
Artist Books - Combat Paper Makers 2007-2008
Hard bound books with pulped military uniforms, Musa textilis natural fiber and various materials
Read more about the Combat Paper Project and its future destinations here.