The Wild Project Art Gallery in collaboration with Poetic Theater Productions present Drew Cameron's Combat Paper Project May 23-June 17. The gallery features paper created from uniforms worn by veterans of the US Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. These pieces were created as part of a workshop Drew Cameron conducted with the Marshalltown Community College and the Iowa Veteran's Home in Marshalltown, Iowa in November, 2011. The paper is created with a portable Hollander beater built by Lee Scott MacDonald, a completely mobile papermaking mill that has been employed around the country in over sixty workshops over the past five years, working with thousands of people in twenty-two states.
Combat Paper uses traditional hand papermaking to facilitate inter-generational workshops with veterans, family members and the non-veteran community in the transformation of clothing rags into paper, prints, books and art. All of the participants' experiences are encoded within the material items they carry about. With clothing, and military uniforms the wearer's personal geographies, memories and accomplishments are carried in the woven threads. Through the hand papermaking process, the clothing is deconstructed, transformed and altered into paper sheets that accentuate those individual and collective stories.
The exchange between veterans and members of the non-veterans community is integral in the workshops that Combat Paper facilitates. The forum believes that hand papermaking is a natural conduit that encourages commemoration, sharing and understanding while amplifying the voice of those who have a shared sacrifice. It is these elements of reintegration that they know to be part of a proper welcoming home.
The Marshalltown community shared their stories and memories. They included their fiber and reflections on service and returning home. The materials these sheets are made from have traveled through Afghanistan, Djibouti, Guantanamo Bay, Okinawa and Vietnam. Through the hand papermaking process, these stories are now carried in these sheets. They offer distinct voices, and a community’s memory. The various tones of paper can be attributed to the veterans’ uniforms worn around the world. These are their portraits.
Drew Cameron is a hand papermaker, printer and book artist based in San Francisco, CA. He has his degree in Forestry from the University of Vermont and served in the US Army from 2000-06. His love for paperworks began as a teen but was rekindled under the mentorship of Drew Matott in 2004 at the Green Door Studio Artist Collective in Burlington, VT. Drew was the managing director of Green Door from 2006-10, co-founder of Combat Paper in 2007 and partner in the Peoples Republic of Paper, LLC. His current and ongoing work is practicing and teaching the art and craft of hand papermaking and encouraging others to do the same.
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Saturday 2:00-9:00PM, Sunday 2:00-5:00PM, and Memorial Day from 2:00-7:00PM
The gallery will be open on Memorial Day in conjunction with a special performance of Goliath.