Papermaker's Garden Gets a New Look

Published on Sep 09, 2013
Plan Image by Oslund and AssociatesPlan Image by Oslund and Associates

You may have seen some construction in the Papermaker’s Garden on Wabash and 8th St. The raised beds and bike parking area have been, well, razed. And a big gravel pit has taken their place. But, that’s all about to change for the better. The new-and-improved garden is going to expand its growing space and include a rain-water collection system and a performance stage. The revamped garden will be used as an expanded interdisciplinary outdoor lab in departments across the college. 


According to April Sheridan, Project Coordinator in the Center for Book & Paper Arts, the garden was “the brainchild of Alex Borgen, an MFA student in the Center for Book & Paper Arts. In 2012, the college responded positively to a proposal that she put forward requesting some space to plant fibers for hand papermaking.” Borgen saw her plans come to life with five raised beds planted with sunflowers, echinacea, pom pom grass, day lilies and other fibrous plants. “We were able to use several pounds of harvested fibers in a variety of artistic ways,” Sheridan says.

papermaker's garden

Future Plans

The Center isn’t stopping there. That was just Phase One of the planning for the space. If you want to see what Phase Two has to offer, you can check out the renovations during the Wabash Arts Crawl on September 18  from 5–8:00 pm. Students from the graduate program will be in the garden demonstrating papermaking techniques, giving out hand-made paper samples and answering questions about the process and the space.  Plus, the performance stage is slated to be up and cranking out some sweet tunes.

Not stopping there, Sheridan tell us “in spring of 2014, the Center for Book & Paper Arts exhibition will be focused on social art practice through hand-papermaking and we'll have a lot of events revolving around that.” From gravel to growth, the Papermaker’s Garden is going to be a new hub of activity for all students at Columbia.