About my work

My work in handmade paper explores ideas about states of matter, ways of recording experience and, more broadly, about the impact of experience on an individual narrative. The shaping forces of nature, history, and circumstance imprint themselves upon our lives, colliding with our sense of control and generating new realities. We record what we observe, what we learn, and are changed by it.

As a medium, papermaking interests me because of the congruity between the material aspects of the process and human physical concerns: wetness, pressure, thickening, dessication – the paper undergoes these successive conditions. Responding to nature and circumstance, the sheet of paper can embody experience, as we do ourselves. It can assume qualities of cloth and skin, evoking the body and its knowledge.

At the same time, paper is culturally linked to ideas and communication.  The embedding of image and language in the paper itself has also been a strategy to embody the idea of a narrative within the page, to give it form in space while making reference to other sites for narrative, such as aspects of nature or the body.

A conversation with the artist


Website © Susan Warner Keene 2009