September 2009 Issue
Paper With Panache
Junk mail, water and a blender are all you need to make beautiful, personalized art. Tipp City artist Alison Rusk, also known as “Paper Alice,” has been turning junk mail into paper treasures for more than 20 years.
“I have a policy — never throw anything away. I love looking for new techniques and using different supplies to make art,” Rusk says.
She adds her own special flair with flowers, spices, thread, popcorn bags and anything else she can shred by hand.
The water, paper and decorative elements go into a blender, then are poured into a papermaking frame andvoila — custom paper. Rusk also adds dried flowers and other adornments to the surface of her paper.
“All you have to do is remember to put the lid on the blender, and you’re an instant artist,” Rusk says. “Anyone can do it from any age, and it’s a great family activity.”
Rusk has had an interest in paper art since she made cards in kindergarten, but it was when she saw a demonstration of papermaking by Wisconsin artist Arnold Grummer that her curiosity was piqued. Rusk began creating and selling handmade paper, and discovered that others wanted to learn the process. Now she teaches papermaking — students make cards, lampshades, notepads and photo albums — as well as stamping and scrapbooking in her home studio. She also demonstrates her art at fairs, parties and schools.
The art of papermaking is becoming more popular, Rusk says. “It seems like everyone is getting into the green scene with the downturn of the economy, and papermaking is a part of that.”
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