Papermaking and Stewardship

The art room is a busy place with projects such as drawing to ceramics in progress all at the same time. A school year highlight for 7th and 8th grade was the unusual process of papermaking. Papermaking is the art of creating unique papers from pulp or paper scraps. The art room has a plentiful collection of scrap construction paper, so students gave it a second use. Using a blender, water, and a small amount of torn paper scraps, a number of colorful pulp baths were made for creating handmade paper.

Making handmade paper provides a wonderful opportunity for using creative abilities given to us by God.  After the initial demonstration, students can’t wait to get their hands on the material.  Once students learn how to make a paper sheets, add pulp shapes, write with pulp, and press embossed textures, away they go!  They enjoy working as an artist, making preferred choices how they will put the paper together and what they will make with it. When they are turned loose, most get so involved, they find it hard to stop at the end of the period. Having the freedom of choice in their new-found papermaking skills was the favorite part of this art project. As a result, many students made paper pulp compositions and other chose to make handmade paper journals and sketchbooks. 

The learning target for this project was practicing good stewardship of God’s creation through art. One student commented that papermaking shows stewardship because paper scraps would have originally been thrown out. Another mentioned how creativity can help us solve the problems for being good stewards of God’s creation. 

Eighty students making handmade paper is a lengthy project. It takes time away from other art experiences students might enjoy. However, it’s worth the time, and it was a great success! Students were able to practice a new way to explore their creative gifts. Most importantly, they experienced stewardship for God’s creation in real way. Students enjoyed exploring the papermaking process!

Sue Siemonsma
K-8 art teacher


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