Paperhouse Studio is one of the many fantastic organizations here at Artscape Youngplace. The arts collective is owned and operated by bona fide papermaking enthusiasts Emily Cook and Flora Shum who met at OCAD University, where Flora was Emily’s student. Paperhouse Studio is dedicated to innovation, research, and sharing the handmade papermaking art form.
Both Emily and Flora are well established in the niche papermaking craft community. Emily has been researching papermaking since 2004. With a Masters from Louisiana State University under her belt, she’s worked in a number of papermaking studios in Canada as well as across the border. Her partner, Flora Shum who is also an OCAD graduate, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Printmaking. She’s participated in several shows, art fairs, print exchanges, and collaborations. More impressive still, she’s received several prizes and scholarships for her work in printmaking. Both ladies have a love for teaching, and have been sharing their love of papermaking for years. Emily and Flora are also both artists, and their unique artistic styles are represented in their handmade paper pieces on display inside of their studio.
Located on the first floor of Artscape Youngplace, Emily and Flora work out of their beautiful studio space filled with tools, equipment, and of course, paper! There is handmade paper and artwork everywhere, and members of the community are encouraged to stop by and explore the fantastic space. Their studio creates and promotes thought-provoking conversations around handmade papermaking. “It’s just not something that people come into contact with, so they really don’t know anything [about handmade papermaking]. They come in really green, which leads to some really interesting questions”, notes Emily.
Paperhouse Studio also holds a number of fun, hands on workshops open to everyone looking to catch the papermaking bug. The expert papermaking pair take workshop students through the ins and outs of papermaking, with classes such as “Sourcing Colour from Nature” and “Handmade Paper for Printmakers”—there is truly something for everyone!
The duo introduce their students and guests to the many benefits of handmade paper, such as its superior strength and longevity. Handmade paper is extremely versatile, which allows for individuals to truly get creative. “It provides the ability to start something from scratch, and mold and form it to what you need it to be—taking it from raw fibers to a thing!”
“You can instill meaning into it right from the beginning—from cutting cloth that has meaning and making it a part of the final work, or using fibers that are from a specific land” says Emily. “Handmade paper also allows for you to play with the idea of memory. Paper holds memory so well, and whatever you do to it is recorded in the final product”. Flora also notes that the process of hand-making paper is also very therapeutic, and is sometimes used as a form of art therapy.
Aside from holding classing and displaying their beautiful pieces of handmade paper and artwork, the studio and its equipment can be rented out to individuals looking to try their hand at making their own handmade paper, but don’t necessarily have the means. Always prepared to lend their knowledge and a helping hand, the ladies also provide an “Introduction to Papermaking” class to inexperienced renters to help them get started.
Visit their website www.paperhousestudio.ca to learn more about Paperhouse Studio, and check out Artscape Youngplace’s Events Page on Paperhouse Studio at http://artscapeyoungplace.ca/venue/paperhouse-studio/ to find upcoming workshop and event dates.
Photos by Arren Young Photography