Zak Thomson Paper: re-use, re-form, re-create

  • Tauira / Student
    Zak Thomson
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    George Hajian, Karol Wilczynska

When we think of paper, we typically use it in conjunction with writing, printing or painting to create a project. However, paper doesn't have to lack excitement; it can be something we admire on its own.
Historically, the craft of handmade paper was a highly recognised artform in many cultures, utilising a range of plant fibres to create a functional material. Due to the industrial revolution, this artform slowly died out and was replaced by mass-production machinery removing the handmade feel.
Paper: re-use, re-form, re-create is a publication that draws from traditional methods and meets at the intersection of handmade craft and sustainability. The publication doesn't necessarily touch on the subject of sustainability. Still, the notion of which the user engages with publication aims to encourage them to reduce paper waste by breaking it down and making handmade paper at home. More importantly, it shines a light and pays homage to a traditional artform.
Although it is important to mention that in Aotearoa majority of our paper is recycled, there are still 1.4 tonnes of paper waste sent to landfills around the country each year. One reason is that paper waste is too small and fails to meet the recycling requirements. Through market research, I found no products similar to what this publication provides. Due to this, there seems to be a lack of education regarding repurposing paper waste. This publication attempts to bridge this gap, allowing consumers to enter a circular economy within their homes through a reuse, reform and recreate pattern.
Paper: re-use, re-form, re-create teaches consumers how to make paper at home using repurposed materials, for example reusing an old photo frame as a mould and deckle. It also contains a historical section along with a step-by-step guide on how to get started on making your own paper. Furthermore, this publication includes ten paper recipes (with examples) that utilise different forms of paper waste, textures and natural pigments from around the house.
The publication's layout follows a minimalistic system paralleling that of a traditional cookbook, with simple and easy-to-follow steps. It felt important that the handmade paper was not printed on, to allow it showcase its individual traits, which commercially-made paper lacks. In return, the publication opted for recycled vellum paper for the printed text and placed on top of the handmade paper to create an overlaying translucency.
Paper: re-use, re-form, re-create invites consumers to reposition and rethink their relationship with paper waste, through traditional but easy to follow practices.