Helen Frederick Lecture Illuminates New Perspectives on Paper

Award-winning interdisciplinary artist Helen Frederick provided a new spin on the craft of papermaking in her visiting artist lecture on November 1. Besides her extensive work in paper and installation, she has created a number of video works (Her 2011 video work Dislocations has been compared to Andy Warhol by curator and Washington Post critic Jeffry Cudlin). In her November 1 lecture, Frederick discussed her recent work in China, and how the small businesses and community practices of papermaking in that region are the basis for an ideal collaboration with nature, while providing an economic means of support for its practitioners.

“People gravitate toward craft, specifically papermaking, because of its tactile nature,” says Frederick. “The labor involved in making paper translates directly to face-to-face interaction, and we as humans are drawn to it.” She feels that her work in China demonstrated that handwork in the service of art and commerce helps and requires a community to be successful.

The day after the lecture, Frederick spent time with a number of graduate students in studio visits. Alex Borgen, second year MFA in Book and Paper, found the studio visit exhilarating. “She was so excited to meet with everyone, and talk about our work,” says Borgen. “I showed her one of my pieces, and she couldn’t wait to see more, asking, ‘What’s next?’ with total wonder and curiosity in her voice. I got the sense that she was enthralled to interact with students. It was really fun to be getting feedback from her on my work, and this studio visit really inspired me to move forward with all my ideas that incorporate paper.”


Helen Frederick in studio visit with second-year MFA Jillian Bruschera

Frederick’s studio visits and feedback to the students who spent time with her underscored aspects of the philosophy she addressed in the previous evening’s lecture, were she reflected that “Papermaking is a witness to transformation: it celebrates, reflects, and protects.”

To find out more information on Helen Frederick, click here.

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