Tag Archives: final project

Module 8 Portfolio Post

A comment by Jerri Wieringa struck me immediately when listening to the interview with her and Celeste Sharpe talking about their course Historical Thinking and Writing in the Digital Age. Jerri remarked that the scope of the course was an important decision for them because it is a difficult balancing act. You want to provide enough information to help students think and learn, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them to the point of saturation. This is something that I have been struggling with my current project. There is so much information about handmade paper and papermaking, but I have to remind myself that I have a limited amount of time and I don’t want to overwhelm visitors to the site and discourage learning. As a result, I have focused on the timeline and exhibits. The timeline (created using Timeline JS from Knights Lab) allows me to highlight keys points in the history of paper. I then added explanatory text and images and descriptive captions. I’m hoping that the interactive and visual qualities of the timeline will engage students in learning about papermaking history. However, going back to the issue of scope I have had to limit what I include in the timeline to prevent it from being seemingly endless. To address this issue, I have included representative examples. For instance, I cited work by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg as examples of handmade paper being incorporated into fine art in the 1970s. I also focused on the Women’s Studio Workshop as one of the key books arts and papermaking centers to emerge with the revitalization of handmade paper.

I also viewed Jennifer Coggins video about her project dealing with archives at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since she is focused on a specific archive holding, her project was naturally more focuses with modules and activities. However, I would like to incorporate her approach in some way even though my project began on a much broader level. Hopefully, by focusing on the contrast between Eastern and Western papermaking I can provide my focus to the learning. I plan to do this through the Exhibits plugin in Omeka. I have broken down the topic into key geographic areas (Japan, China, Europe, etc). From here, I am providing explanatory text and selected items from the collections of images and videos. I may be worthwhile to include selected readings as well to contribute to the learning goals. Her module approach has inspire another idea to create a page (using the Simple Pages plugin) to highlight the how-to videos and readings. I have marked these items in the metadata as “how-to” so they are searchable as hyperlinks and on the Subject Lists page. I used the Library of Congress plugin to suggest terms for the Dublin Core subjects. However, I think students would benefit from having these how-to guides highlighted on a separate page.

Sixth Piece of the Puzzle


In this activity, draft a project idea/elevator pitch for your final project.

Write a very brief blog post thinking about your refined topic and detailing the focus of your work.

The origins of “true paper” which involves the breakdown and reconstitution of plant fibers is often traced back to A.D. 105 and associated with Cai Lun (sometimes spelled Ts’ai Lun), a court official and eunuch in the court of Emperor Han Ho Ti of China. Prior to the invention of paper, Chinese scribes wrote with a pointed stylus on wood or bamboo. Both were difficult to write on and difficult to store. Papermaking was limited to the East (making its way to Japan) until 751 when some historians argue that Muslim invaders of Central Asia brought papermaking techniques to Samarkind, an important point on the Silk Routes. From here, it traveled to Europe. For example, the Italian town of Fabriano is known for producing high-quality handmade paper and its paper industry dates back to the 13th century.

Papermaking is one of the most enduring technologies we have today. However, there have been significant changes to the process of making paper from individual handmade sheets to industrial productions of paper. There are also significant differences between Eastern and Western style papermaking.

This website will trace this significant and enduring technology as it traveled from the East to the West. Images and videos will demonstrate the variety of papermaking techniques and materials. A map and timeline will track its development. A bibliography of articles, books and websites will provide additional background information for researching handmade paper.

Random Project Ideas

Understanding paper as both a craft and a commodity

Paper as part of our cultural memory

Comparing handmade paper to commercially produced paper

Repository of lesson plans

Annotated bibliography

Lesson plan aimed at primary school age children: http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/makepaper.shtml

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will track the history of papermaking.
    1. Study early handmade examples to present day and compare them to mass-produced paper
    2. Compare and contrast Eastern and Western papermaking techniques
  2. Students be introduced to various exemplar handmade papers and learn to distinguish between them.
    1. Includes examples from art history with artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns
  3. Students will be able to define and use terminology unique to handmade paper in order to describe their work and the work of others.
    1. Examples include types of fibers, mottling, coating (e.g. marbled, silk screen printing), and moulding (e.g. wire mesh, bamboo mat)

Fourth Piece of the Puzzle

Close-up image of handmade paper
Close-up image of handmade paper

I intend to include several close-up images of handmade paper. An important distinction of handmade paper is the rougher texture. This quality can be difficult to see in photographs unless they are close-up images. Of course, being able to handle the paper creates a different experience because the uneven texture can be felt by hand. However, one way to counter this is to include close-up images of handmade paper in a variety of colors, weights, materials, and finish. An image like the one above presented by itself would be confusing and difficult for students to understand the significance. They will need to be presented with information explaining qualities like the processing of fiber, coating, and dyes. Complimenting these images with videos of making paper will also help explain these images.

Examples of paper


Mottling: Aster flowers

Fibers: Cotton rag

Mottling: Feathers

Fibers: Kozo

Images of the Process (and videos)

The traditional handicrafts of making Xuan paper  UNESCO  UNESCO