In the spring of 2012, I made a very particular type of abaca paper for the artist, Susan Harbage-Page. She asked me to make sheets of translucent abaca that she could bring with her to Italy to make drawings on. We discussed the idea of perfection vs. imperfection in sheets of paper. In my mind this meant wrinkles, folded corners, uneven formation, all things that happen when making a large batch of paper for an artist, but usually removed or edited before delivering the completed sheets. We decided to leave these in and allow Susan to incorporate the seconds or imperfect sheets into her series.
The size of the sheets ranged between 8.5 x 11″ and 16 x 20″ and are very thin, translucent abaca paper, the pulp beaten for 12.5 hours.
The following is an excerpt from Susan’s catalog “History’s Pull: A Conversation with Lace” and is in her own words:
“The works in this exhibition were largely produced in the summer of 2012. I had just attended a lecture by the artist Ann Hamilton who I have long admired. She said “pay attention to the things your eyes want to look at”. This statement lingered with me and before I headed to Italy for my annual summer stay at the Monastery in Spello. I grabbed a small handful of lace collars and doilies not knowing exactly what I would do with them. I also asked the well-known papermaker, Ann Marie Kennedy, to specifically make a batch of abaca paper for me, all in small sizes so my works/drawings would remain intimate and maintain the same physical relationship to the body as the actual pieces of lace did. In addition I desired the paper to be translucent and to resemble skin. I asked that Ann Marie not labor to make the pages perfect but leave in the flaws and imperfections. I knew that these imperfections would be incorporated into the creative process”
I love seeing the evidence of that dialogue in the pieces below. The mark of the pen on paper is so intimate in these drawings, it traces the labor of the thread, and the process in which these needleworks were both made and examined. The folded corners, irregular edges and wrinkles reinforce the very human quality of both the drawings and the handmade objects.
These drawings were exhibited at Casa della Memoria e della Storia, Rome, Italy in March and April of 2013, curated by Manuela De Leonardis.
See this project on Susan’s website: http://susanharbagepage.blogspot.com/p/merletti.html There you will find more information about the individual works.