For the love of paper

Folks participate in a papermaking workshop at last year’s festival. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

Those coming to Town Square this October will be treated to a variety of new artwork.

Arnold Grummer’s third-annual Midwest Paper Fest brings paper artists and art enthusiasts together Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 in Green Lake.

Nineteen artists will display artwork throughout the month of October and artists’ works will be available for purchase.

Friday’s opening reception runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and is free for artists and local community members, who will be treated to appetizers and refreshments.

“The expenses are actually sponsored by Arnold Grummer’s Papermaking Company out of Appleton,” Town Square Marketing Manager Jorge Gutierrez said. “They sponsor this whole thing, so they help pay for the appetizers and there’s going to be wine and other drinks available to the public.”

Paper artist Andrea Peterson of Hook Pottery Paper will lead a workshop teaching the art of natural fiber papermaking, which is the process of turning raw fiber into pulp to be made into handmade sheets of paper.

“The workshop is free to exhibiting artists, but if you’re not showcasing and you want to take in the workshop there is a small fee at the door,” Gutierrez said.

According to Hook Pottery Paper’s website, the course is designed to give folks experience and understanding of natural fiber papermaking.

“We will be examining sources of materials, which plants to choose, why and complete identification,” the site said.

The event originated three years ago when local artist Tanya Schwartz had an idea for a paper festival in Green Lake. Months later, Town Square helped make her dream come to life.

Schwartz has a papermaking studio in the community center and uses Arnold Grummer’s pioneering method of papermaking.

“She’s been teaching papermaking workshops for some time now. She teaches a lot in Ripon and in the Green Lake area,” Gutierrez said.

Through her connections in the papermaking world, Schwartz met Grummer’s daughter Kim Schiedermayer.

Arnold Grummer’s daughter, Kim Schiedermayer, left, speaks next to Arnold’s wife Mabel Grummer, middle, and Paper Fest Coordinator Tanya Schwartz. submitted photo

“From what I understand, the papermaking community is pretty tight; they all kind of know each other,” Gutierrez said.

Schwartz connected Town Square and Schiedermayer and they were off to the races planning the festival.

“We had nine artists the first year and 14 last year,” Gutierrez said of the initial paper festivals.

The Midwest Paper Fest brings artists from around the country to Green Lake for a weekend of art appreciation.

“Last year, we had a girl who flew in from Florida and someone who came from California,” Gutierrez said. “It’s really cool to get to know these people and show them around Green Lake.”

Gutierrez believes folks should stop by Town Square this October to check out some of the unique artwork on display.

“It’s something new that you don’t see anywhere else,” Gutierrez said. “We’re trying to expose people to new experiences.”

Gutierrez noted Town Square tries to promote all art forms.

“To have all of these notable papermakers submit their work and showcase it at Town Square, it’s really neat,” he said, adding the class gives the community a chance to learn about a niche art form.

“You can learn about how all these different artists make their paper and all of their different techniques,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez hopes the Midwest Paper Fest is successful, noting it continues to grow year after year.

“With any kind of festival, it takes a couple years to get traction and you don’t know if it’s going to work or not, but we hope it becomes a statewide thing that draws people from all over the state to Green Lake,” Gutierrez said.

“We’re hoping to bring awareness to the art form and bring new people to the area.”