This project is a unique collaboration between the Renton Municipal Arts Commission, King County Veterans Program, Pratt Fine Arts Center to host Combat Paper.
About Combat Paper
Combat Paper is an arts organization that utilizes the traditional hand papermaking techniques to work with populations that have survived trauma due to conflict. Based in Vermont, they travel the United States to conduct workshops for civilians and veterans, which teach the craft of transforming cloth and military uniforms into works of art including, handmade paper, prints and books.
These artworks are both a personal form of therapeutic, artistic expression as well as a public testament for the participants of the workshop. The workshop experience creates an understanding between the civilian and the veteran, reconciling the experiences in conflict and military service as well as fostering community between misrepresented populations.
Why King County?
These conversations are particularly relevant to our area because more than 670,000 veterans currently live in Washington State, ranking it fifth in the nation according to the U.S. Census. Additionally, the American Community Survey estimates 163,000 veterans, active military and national guards or reserves live in King County, with about half of those veterans residing in South King County and one quarter in Seattle.
In 2005 King County voters approved a Veterans and Human Services Levy. Some of those funds were directed to provide housing assistance for veterans. In 2010, the Compass Veterans Center in Renton was completed. The housing includes 20 family and 38 single units and offers a range of onsite supportive services, a children’s playground, meeting spaces for homeless veterans.
"I am particularly proud that this housing will help local veterans and families in need, giving us the opportunity to give something back to those who served our country.”
To date, Combat Paper Project has participated in forty exhibitions, delivered sixty lectures and facilitated twenty-eight workshops. Working with a range of academic institutions, libraries, art centers and galleries they have serviced the veterans in their communities. You can see an up-to-date calendar of activities on their website.
Combat Paper has created flexible curricula for 1, 3 and 5 day workshops. Participants are encouraged to bring an article of clothing with personal significance. In many of the workshops, these items are uniforms. Other examples include a childhood outfit, clothing of a loved one or commemorative organizational shirt.
Rooted in the traditions of hand papermaking, Combat Paper workshops are led by experienced facilitators. They teach participants basic sheet formation using a mould and deckle that can then be used as the basis for creating journals, drawings, stories or poetry. They also expose participants to pulp printing using silk screen images, pulp painting, and basic binding techniques. Not all workshop participants are veterans or visual artists. Some are poets, some are writers, and some come simply for the shared experience.
As a fairly self-contained unit, Combat Paper has taken to the streets to demonstrate papermaking, using uniforms or other clothing items of significance. Using their portable papermaking equipment, these street-happenings provide a place for the general public and veterans to have conversations about conflict and war, while learning the basic elements of papermaking.
Combat Papermakers have delivered more than sixty lectures about the project, as well literary readings, and panel discussions. As an example, Combat Papermakers are currently participating in the International Peace and War Summit, sponsored by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University. They will focus on veteran interaction and discussions about trauma and society's responsibility to returned veterans.
Schedule in King County:
- Compass Veterans Center, Renton
April 29, 30 & May 1, 2011 (Workshop Confirmed - Families)
2nd Session – May 2nd-4th (Workshop Confirmed - Individuals)
- 4Culture, Seattle
May 5, 2011 (Evening Demonstration)
- Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle
May 20, 21, 22, 23 2011 (Lecture & Workshop Confirmed)
The work samples below were provided to the applicant by Combat Paper co-founder, Drew Cameron for the express purpose of this application.
Video of the trailer for Sara Nesson's Iraq Paper Scissors; a documentary film that takes us into the lives of five Iraq War veterans struggling with PTSD. Through the Combat Paper Project, these young vets have created a unique way to cope - by transforming their combat uniforms into paper, books and art. Expressing themselves as artists and individuals, those who have served are refusing to be forgotten and, more importantly, hoping to be understood. The film is still in production.
PDF: IMAGES & TEXT
This PDF includes images of past participants in the Combat Paper project as well as examples of artworks created in the workshops. Quotes by co-founder, Drew Cameron are also included.
Artworks shown were created using the papermaking and pulp-printing processes. Artists include:
- Drew Cameron
- Drew Mattott
- Jesse Albrecht
- Nat Lewis
- Eli Wright
- John LaFalce