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paper

Posted 11/14/2014 6:04pm by Judy Lessler.

  Ann Silverman, my neighbor and a local artist who makes paper out of unusual materials and is going to make paper with our okra. When I started reading about how paper was discovered and its history, I kept wandering through the internet and reading about other writing materials. The firsts were barks and stones and this was followed by papyrus (Egyptians) and clay tablets (Sumerians), both in around 3000 BC.

Then I discovered that, people needed writing material because with the start of the Neolithic revolution (farming + towns) there was a need to keep track of the sale and distribution of surplus agriculture products. Thus, changes in agricultural production drove the creation of writing.  Most of the original written materials were accounting records. Only later did we write about or loves and the beauty of butterflies. I do not think that the Sumerians or Egyptians of 5000 BC were insensitive to love and butterflies. My guess is that they felt that these were topics for songs and poetry spoken face to face. Marks on tablets and papyrus scrolls were for tallying the beer and barley.   

Below is a picture of a piece of okra paper that Ann made a re weeks ago. She harvested the okra stalks, steamed, stripped the leaves, and scraped off the brown bark.  She then cooked it in a caustic bath for three hours to separate the fibers.  These were washed, beaten, and spread on a felt, and dried.  

okra paper

The next picture is a paper sculpture of books within a book that she made sometime ago.  It was exhibited in the Man Bites Dog Theater on Foster Street. 

 

At piece by Ann Silverman

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