Combat Paper demonstrates the traditional craft of handmade paper, which uses plant-based clothing as the source material to be rendered into a pulp and finally into sheets of paper. This practice goes back many centuries and enables veterans to interpret and commemorate aspects of military service by transforming the uniforms from those experiences into paper.
On Sept. 25-28, Wesleyan will welcome Iraq War Veteran Drew Cameron to campus to share the story of Combat Paper, the practice of hand papermaking, and how this collaborative project has become an integral part of the emerging veteran artist movement. Cameron is the co-founder of Combat Paper, a project in which veterans and the non-veteran community use traditional hand papermaking techniques to transform military uniforms into paper, prints, books, and art.
“All of our experiences are encoded within the material items we carry about. With clothing, and military uniforms, our personal geographies, memories, and accomplishments are carried in the woven threads,” he said. “Through the hand papermaking process, the clothing is deconstructed, transformed, and altered into paper sheets that accentuate those individual and collective stories.”
From Sept. 25-28, the exhibit case in Usdan University Center will feature “New Works by Drew Cameron of Combat Paper.”
From 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 26, Cameron will lead an interactive demonstration of some steps of the papermaking process on Andrus Field, including “breaking rag” using donated military uniforms and the portable paper mill. The demonstration is open to the public and is being held in conjunction with Middletown Day, which has the theme “Salute to Service, Honoring Our Veterans.” Cameron will lead another interactive workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. in Usdan Room 108 and encourages Wesleyan students and Posse Veteran Scholars to attend.
At 4:15 p.m. Sept. 28, Cameron will deliver an artist’s talk on “The Combat Paper Project” in Usdan 108. The talk is open to the public.
The Combat Paper project is co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Department of Art and Art History, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Friends of the Wesleyan Library, and Center for the Arts.