Arnold Grummer’s Midwest Paperfest Artist Biographies

Elizabeth Jolly

Elizabeth JollyArt takes the beholder on quiet journey: introducing the viewer to the experiences of another’s culture, time, and spirituality through metaphors that provide a bridge between the universally familiar and the less common or unfamiliar.

My approach is one of “Classical Naturalism”. Each piece is created through a medium grounded in generations of one culture’s traditional practices to tell stories that transcend collective human experiences. They allow insight into another’s world views by creating a permeability between that which is familiar and the metaphors unique to other world views. Each piece reveals the fluid dynamic of the medium that has most often been limited to dimensions more focused on documentation than understanding.

Whether it is through the earthy strength of cotton or the ethereal, soft subtlety of bamboo, the viewer is ultimately invited to a place of thoughtful calm and a profound personal experience of culture and spirituality that are united through metaphor and material.

Bear Jolly is an American artist expressing a reverence towards the environment and all that surrounds us. Her artistic realm embraces legend, poetry, and saga as guiding insight for expressive forms. She has taken a foundation in paper-making and transformed it as she explores pulp and fiber to express metaphors of culture and spirituality. Trained in art and psychology at Arcadia University in Glenside,Pennsylvania, she works in mixed media, primarily fiber, in two and three dimensions.

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Mel Kolstad

Mel KolstadI received the wasp’s nest, which is central to the idea of this piece, from one of my friends about two years ago. It is all at once beautiful and haunting, as there are still wasps in the nest, frozen in place, trying to escape.

The nest, combined with the ethereal nature of handmade paper and the conjoining yet separate hexagons, brought about the idea that while our "nests" may be conjoined, as in a neighborhood or a community, many of us still feel isolated or alone. We’re more connected than ever, yet the feeling of togetherness is absent in a physical sense. We’re all so "busy", and it’s becoming more difficult to spend time with our friends, neighbors, and even family members without scheduling time to actually do that. I wanted to explore the paradox in this piece.

I purposely used one of the most gossamer items of repurposed paper in my pulp - vintage clothing pattern tissue. It resulted in a very fragile, sepia-toned paper, which complemented my idea of the delicate ecosystem of the core of our humanity - the need to be around other humans and to feel connected.

Mel Kolstad is an artist, speaker, instructor and arts advocate who makes her home in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She is a printmaker, collagist, fiber artist, and papermaker. She is also delighted to be a Certified Papermaker for Arnold Grummer, Inc.; the membership chair of Wisconsin Visual Artists - Northeast Chapter; and curator for the Langdon Divers Gallery, located inside the Fond du Lac Public Library. Mel has participated in many artist residencies throughout Wisconsin and also teaches various classes all over the state. You can view her artwork and find a listing of her upcoming classes on her website.

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Barbara Landes & Paul Sullivan

Barbara Landes &Paul SullivanWe could make sculpture without our handmade paper, but we'd rather not.

We experiment with papermaking, learning more about a fascinating, ancient craft while making things that interest us. We start by pulling sheets of papers of different fibers and colors. These are often embellished with pulp painting (literally painting with colorful paper slurry) and blow-outs (as fun as it sounds - hold a stencil on top of the still wet fragile paper sheet and turn on the garden hose nozzle to blow away the uncovered parts.) The sheets are kept wet and refrigerated. We collage them together either as flat nets of shape and line or as dimensional tapestries over a collection of objects. Our artworks are abstract, but thoughts and issues that concern us at the moment trigger our responses to the work. That's where our titles come from. The best title is allusive and accessible enough to disarm the wary viewer and to halt the fast walking one.

Barbara Landes and Paul Sullivan are artists who have been making and showing work for a couple of decades. Recently, the husband and wife duo began to collaborate on sculpture made primarily from their handmade paper. Located in Madison, they most recently showed at the Madison Public Library's Diane Ballweg Gallery. In 2018, they have a show at the Phipps Art Center in Hudson, Wisconsin.

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Dana Slowiak

Dana SlowiakI am a papermaker and artist focusing on the natural world as my source of inspiration and materials.

My current work reimagines handmade paper and deconstructed books as sculptural elements. Oak leaves, birds, and other elements of nature are hand-cut from handmade papers and book pages. Paper blossoms, reminiscent of Chinese brush painting, are hand-formed and sewn. Each piece is created one-by-one, each unique. These elements are formed into sculptural works incorporating natural tree branches, recycled wood, beads, and other embellishments. Each piece asks viewers to examine their own relationships with paper, wood, and trees.

As a paper maker, I focus on using plants as the bases for my papers and paper dyes. I use plants considered invasive or ubiquitous around my home. I then use my handmade papers in my art pieces.I also use handmade papers from other countries to complement my work.

I also create artist books with many of the same natural elements. The book as art allows many interests to be shared in one medium. The book allows for further exploration of what we expect from a book and how that expectation can be manipulated.

Dana’s background includes art and writing degrees. She lives in Lodi, Wisconsin, in the rolling hills north of Madison. Her husband, Dean Allen, is a sculptor. Together they own and operate D Squared Studios, a gallery and studio space where they create their own work and seek to share and encourage the work of other local artists.I received the wasp’s nest, which is central to the idea of this piece, from one of my friends about two years ago. It is all at once beautiful and haunting, as there are still wasps in the nest, frozen in place, trying to escape.

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Laura Steinmetz

Laura Steinmetzi have been painting for 30 plus years... i get my inspiration from my aunti mercedes bruss, she's 94 years old and still painting!! she says you never stop learning and art is all around you just need to stop, look and SEE it!! my style is mostly impressionistic, though some say abstract... i say its art!! i use oils and old brushes (most have been with me for the 30+ yrs) and my trusty knife (LOVE my knife) !!!! ~ landscapes, wildlife, especially birds and started plein air painting in 2014...

Laura is a member of Wild Goose Fine Arts United and Fond du Lac Artists Association. 

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Maria Amalia Wood

Maria Amalia WoodWhen I make paper, the materials invite me into a transformative journey. First, the raw fiber is immersed in water and beaten for a while until a slurry is formed. Then color can be added by mixing the slurry (pulp) with pigment and a chemical called retention aid. The colored pulp is then formed into a sheet using a mould and deckle or deckle box. The sheet is pressed and dried. The result is a new object with different characteristics, but with the same essence it started with. The process is very similar to the one I embarked on many years ago when I moved to the United States. Like leaves in the fall season, dancing in the wind and falling slowly, I embrace change and celebrate my new life. Although, it is a different chapter, the narrative is still part of the same book.

Maria Amalia Wood was born and raised in Honduras, and currently maintains a studio in Madison, Wisconsin. Using textile processes and materials, she draws upon material culture, the natural environment, and the complexities of a life lived between Central America and the Midwestern United States. Working intuitively, Maria Amalia is committed to finding and sharing beautiful marks that refer to specific memories. Beyond the development of a personal studio practice, Maria intends to find ways of sharing her vision through socially engaged, artful collaborations in both Wisconsin and Honduras.

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