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Faculty Member Melissa Potter Awarded Fulbright To Work In Bosnia

{ Posted by BJ Allen on 7.05.2014 }

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We wish a very happy congratulations to Melissa Potter, Associate Professor and Book + Paper Arts MFA Program Director, who has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship. She will coordinate and teach hand papermaking course at the Art Academy of Sarajevo as well as conduct an artistic research project about the interdisciplinary intersection of food and the process and art of hand papermaking. Both food and hand papermaking reflect their places of origin and carry their cultural histories, and are made through labor with many of the same materials. Through ethnographic research, gardening, and papermaking, Potter’s project engages creative and educational strategies for the evolving classroom and captures the intangible heritage of Bosnian families by collecting regionally-specific recipes, both historical and modern.

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The project brings together many significant artistic and professional relationships Potter has developed in the Former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus over the past 15 years. In a hands-on papermaking course, students will learn about hand papermaking and its relationship to the print and book arts as well as evolving discourse in social practice based art. Based on the success of the Papermaker’s Garden model, Potter and her class in Bosnia will plant materials that can be used in hand papermaking, and source local materials that speak to local culture and environment. Potter will also run a series of interactive workshops with Adam Pantic, a professional chef and professor of graphics at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Belgrade making paper with food from his recipes, while he makes food with plants commonly used in papermaking.

This process builds from a Pulp and Pastry event that took place in Spring 2013 in collaboration with University of Belgrade Fine Arts Professor Pantic. The project explored interactivity and social practice-based art in the same papermaking studio Potter created during her 2006 Fulbright residency. Professor Pantic was one of the original team members who built the studio, which is still in use today. As part of the collaboration, Pantic cooked flatbreads and cakes made from pulped vegetables, while Potter made paper from leeks with students. Pantic, whose culinary nom de guerre is “Djulistan, Ph.D. in Oriental Sweets,” uses the diverse characteristics of food and paper as art media, to play on the collection of old recipes from his time in military service in Bosnia.  The student engagement and feedback was so positive they decided to explore additional collaboration together in the country where much of Pantic’s culinary learning took place.

We all are very much looking forward to hearing more about Potter’s exciting work in Bosnia as it progresses!