Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit and teach at The Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio. The Morgan was established approximately 7 years ago and, as its website states, it is "a non-profit art center dedicated to the production and preservation of hand papermaking and the art of the book."

The website doesn't seem to mention a date for when The Morgan was established, so my 7-year approximation is based on my memory of a presentation about The Morgan when it was still in its earliest development. There was a slideshow that consisted mostly of photos of an empty warehouse and Tom Balbo explaining how each corner of the building and the lot would be used in the future. That presentation was in 2008. Tom Balbo, a paper and ceramic artist, was the man behind that presentation and is now the executive director of the centre.

When I first arrived, I was given a tour of the facility and trust me, the magnitude of this place cannot be overstated. It's a big building, but they have also figured out how to make it seem bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. There is some office space, but much of the centre is dedicated to paper making. They do both Western and Eastern styles of papermaking so there is equipment for both, several beaters and tanks in many sizes and styles, large and small hanji tanks, and more molds and deckles than I've ever seen in one place before.

One of the small beaters.

Part of the mold and deckle collection.

A small hanji tank.

There is also an outdoor area where they are growing raw materials for some of their paper. They have created a kozo garden so they have been able to harvest their own kozo for making paper.

A bit of the Kozo garden.

There is also a gallery space, a bindery, and an extensive letterpress studio with several presses and tons of type. When I was visiting, the gallery space was being used for a letterpress exhibit.

Part of the gallery space.

Of course, I spent most of my time in the bindery area where I conducted two one-day workshops. The first day, I taught Anne Goy's Criss Cross binding (formerly known as the Secret Belgian Binding).

Books made in the workshop.

The second day was a Japanese bookbinding workshop where we did two different bindings: a multi section binding (seen here with the colourful Chyiogami cover papers) and a traditional account book structure.

Japanese books made in the workshop.

The workshops were great and I really enjoyed my time there. Thanks to The Morgan for this opportunity (and thanks to Fran for hosting and housing me). Anyone who is interested in papermaking and book arts should add this place to their "to do" list and visit if you find yourself in Cleveland. They have an impressive list of workshops continuing throughout the summer too (more info on their website).

If you'd like to see a few more pictures that I took or a whole bunch of photos that were taken by the staff at The Morgan during my workshops, you can visit my page on Facebook or The Morgan's facebook page.


Kitty Cat Stevens said...

sounds like an amazing few days! i love making paper -- I'll have to check them out if i'm ever in the area!

and what beautiful, beautiful books, i had no idea secret belgian had another name, too. but then again, i've only ever tried that binding once so it's definitely not my expertise ;)

thanks for sharing, i love your blog!

MyHandboundBooks said...

thanks Kitty Cat Stevens :)