The Fiber Wire

Plugged in and turned on. All paper. All the time.

Papel Hecho a Mano – The Adventure Begins!

I’m here and it’s happening. Buenos Aires, baby! The flights went off without a glitch (which was a relief because it was 24 hours of car to plane to plane to plane to bus to car to get here!). My first few days have been a whirlwind as I find groceries, find my internship and find out that what I thought was me knowing a bit of Spanish was, in actuality, me knowing no Spanish at all.

For those of you just coming to the blog, I’m spending my summer (the Argentine winter) in Buenos Aires, apprentice to master papermaker Alejandro Geiler of Papelera Palermo.

sign

Papelera Palermo is a Buenos Aires book arts collective composed of a bunch of friendly craftspeople getting their craft on throughout several buildings. The main building houses the storefront and the book binding, screen printing and papermaking studios. In three separate buildings you find the office, a linotype and letterpress studio and a glass-walled classroom. In between all of this loveliness in a lush courtyard lives the resident dog, an eleven-year old mutt named China.

I’ve completed two fun, informative and exhausting days in the papermaking studio. Exhausting because of the labor but also because of the communication barrier. I have to patient; my Spanish will get better with time. I’m picking up a lot of vocab the ordinary traveller might not get to enjoy, like:

la cuba – the vat                                 -and-
la pila holandesa – the Hollander beater.

la pila holandesa - the Hollander beater

la pila holandesa – the Hollander beater

The moulds in the picture behind la pila holandesa were all made by Alejandro. We made paper with a different mould today, a laid mould once used at the seven century old Cartiere Magnani mill in Italy. It came to Alejandro through a friend and was an incredible pleasure to use, both smooth and light in my hands. The mould and Alejandro’s pulp deserve the credit – I feel like my paper formation has never been as consistent as it was today.

Cartiere Magnani Mould with Watermark

Cartiere Magnani Mould with Watermark

Sheets Pressed and Ready for Drying

Sheets Pressed and Ready for Drying

Alejandro Transferring Sheets for Drying

Alejandro Transferring Sheets for Drying

A good day for production – 118 of this size paper. Then he put a divider in the mould, meaning each pull produced two smaller sheets. I pulled the divided sheets for two hours before calling it a day!

Two days in and I’m confident this is exactly what I was looking for – production work and a patient teacher.

 

I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure with you! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to expand on, anything you’d love me to post about and if you have a chance, you have until June 15th to check out my Pozible site where there are handmade paper goodies up for grabs for helping me fund this unpaid apprenticeship! 

 

 

9 comments on “Papel Hecho a Mano – The Adventure Begins!

  1. velma
    June 5, 2014

    genevieve, this is terrific! enjoy your amazing time and learn, but remember to take a little time now and then just for yourself. i did the pozible thing, but really don’t want you to send me stuff, i just wanted to help out a bit. maybe we can get together later this summer! or not, but in any case learn and grow. i’m expecting great things from you!

    Like

    • thefiberwire
      June 6, 2014

      Thank you, Velma for supporting me on and off the Pozible campaign. I will let my mom know not to send you anything. She’s managing that for me since I’ll still be here when the campaign ends. I will definitely come and see you. I get back August 17th and then school starts but I’d love to come out some Friday or Saturday in September.

      Like

  2. Shirah Miriam "Mimi" Aumann
    June 5, 2014

    Envy, envy… I am just hugging myself over the anticipation of reading your blog postings to live vicariously through your experience! Thank you for making the effort to take us along on your journey. Get rest when you can and be well throughout the incredible days ahead. Aren’t you a lucky girl?! Mimi

    Like

    • thefiberwire
      June 6, 2014

      Thank you, Mimi! I’m glad you’re looking forward to coming on this journey with me! Thank you for your words of encouragement. 🙂

      Like

  3. Kimberley Wood
    June 6, 2014

    Genevieve,
    Good Morning! I am a papermaker in Cuenca, Ecuador. I would love to get together sometime this summer/winter, here. I have a Mark Lander critter and have just opened a working studio/gallery. You can see the space/equipment on the facebook page: Papel a Mano. You are starting a wonderful adventure…enjoy each fun (and tiring) day.
    Kim

    Like

    • thefiberwire
      June 7, 2014

      Hi, Kim! Congratulations on opening the new studio/gallery. I enjoyed the photos on Facebook. I so wish I could come and meet you/see your space but I do not think I will have time to travel that far. Some other trip! Maybe when I get back in the states we can set up a time to Skype. I would love to hear about what you’re doing!

      Like

  4. Allison
    June 6, 2014

    This is amazing! I look forward to following all the learning and adventures you have both in and outside of the paper-making business! Love you Guge! I’ve bookmarked you in my browser and will be coming back daily for updates!

    Like

    • thefiberwire
      June 7, 2014

      Thanks. Love you too, Ali! Maybe not every day! At least once a week, for sure!

      Like

  5. Ola
    June 6, 2014

    A wonderful start to what is surely an amazing life – and heart – adventure. Keep us up to date on your journey on the Handmade Paper Artist group on FB! – Ola

    Liked by 1 person

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