Jane Farmer is retired from a career as a curator and producer of international traveling exhibitions, artist exchanges, and
programs about printmaking, handmade paper and artists’ books in Washington, DC. One of the final projects Farmer
was involved in, with co-founder Tom Leech and three partners, was the Paper Road/Tibet project that helped re-
establish the hand papermaking tradition by bringing elderly papermakers to teach their skills to young people in Lhasa.
During her work with artists and papermakers Farmer became fascinated with the early use of pounded bark fibers as a
religious symbol, the history of papermaking’s migration from China east to Korea and Japan and west to Central Asia to
North Africa and finally to Europe. The role of paper in subsequent cultures varied depending on the time of its arrival
–still serving a religious-spiritual function in Asia as well as a conveyance for the written word, whereas paper’s role in
North Africa and Europe was almost exclusively as a means of printing books.
Since moving to New Mexico –with a large collection of handmade papers, prints, paperworks, and artist books- Farmer
has aspired to learn the craft of book binding and the creation of artists’ books in order to create books that relate to her
experiences. She will talk a little bit about some of her research about the uses of paper, particularly the original
Himalayan method of creating paper that allows it to dry on the paper mold. She will discuss her role as the creator of the
“Paper Garden” as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival of 2002,
The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust, her research from Japan to Venice, and share her first artist’s book that tells a portion of that story, about the Uyghur traditions of silk and paper in Xinjiang Province in China. She will share several of her books that have been the precursors for this boxed book.
This is the first of a series of talks on Handmade Books presented by members of the Book Arts Group of Taos, with and at SOMOS.
Two additional programs are scheduled for October 18
and November 1
. Watch for these in the SOMOS calendar