During the symposium Objects of Study: Paper, Ink, and the Material Turn, Daniel Heyman and Laura led a demonstration of traditional Japanese papermaking at the University of Pennsylvania. The symposium was focused on the recent shift in art history to a material centered approach to studying objects. In addition to presentations of case studies regarding aspects of materiality in art history, art historians and paper conservators had the chance to experience papermaking, printmaking, as well as access museum conservation labs, museum exhibitions, and print study rooms. The conference began with a Fiber Beating Happy Hour where participants learned about the preparation required before actually forming sheets of paper. Participants then had a chance to make their own traditional Japanese mulberry paper, or washi.
Additionally, we also collected and processed local Philadelphia mulberry that are presumably descendants of trees brought to the city by John Bartram in the eighteenth century
The event was co-organized by Aaron M. Hyman (University of California, Berkeley) and Juliet Sperling (University of Pennsylvania). It was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through a partnership of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School and the Andrew W. Mellon Object-Based Learning Initiative between the History of Art Department at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.