What does it mean to be a maker?
Being a maker means working with hand-driven media like custom-formed paper and artist books, both movable and flexible media. I believe a maker must explore research through collaborative interaction with other makers and educators from all over the world. My first view of hand papermaking took place in Ahmedebad, India in 1975. Later I founded Pyramid Atlantic, a center for Hand Papermaking, Printmaking and the Art of the Book. This began my real intellectual journey to acquire knowledge of controlling my own materials as an artist. Travels to Japan, China, and Mexico enhanced my maker skills by providing an understanding of paper as a substrate for art and humanistic hands-on experience.
What are you doing in the Maker community?
For two years I have been working with a coalition of partners to organize the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here cultural festival in Washington DC. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016 is a book arts and cultural festival featured from January through March 2016, throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Book art and print exhibits, lectures, panel discussions, conversations, poetry readings, and various performances have commemorated Baghdadâ€™s historic bookselling street, celebrating the free exchange of ideas and knowledge and standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq and everywhere that free expression is threatened.
Over 50 events with nine partners have celebrated over 600 prints, books and broadsides generously created and given to the project from makers from all over the world.
Who are some other Makers you admire and why?
Papermakers of Jaijing and Anhui provinces in China
Otomi Indians, San Pablito, Mexico
Margaret Boozer of Red Dirt Studio, MD
Judy Pfaff, artist, Bard College, NY
Eve Ingalls, artist/sculptor
Brad Freeman, book artist, Columbia College, ILL
Michael Pestel, musician and instrument maker, CT
Philemon AbdEllah Kirlles, Egyptian Oud maker
Art Hazelwood, printmaker
All of these makers/educators keep the spirit of hand making materials, images, sound and tradition from various cultures alive.