About Handmade Path
Handmade Path celebrates the art of hand papermaking and book design by asking artists and designers around the globe six questions about their practices. This limited edition offset printed book is a collaboration by Professor Lu Jingren, Amanda Degener, Peng Wu, and artists around the globe. Each artist gets an artist proof and there are 100 copies for sale. The cover is inspired by the calligraphy created by Professor Lu Jingren. It’s a made-up ancient Chinese character of a hand 手 growing out of the heart 心. It’s printed letterpress on handmade paper by Amanda Degener. The book is designed by Peng Wu.
It was possible to collaborate because Prof Lu Jingren traveled to the USA to be one of the keynote speakers at Codex in California and give a workshop and lecture at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. This activity was made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a 2017 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Handmade Path is published as part of the One World Many Papers project. We invited artists, Amanda organized the entries, and Jack Mader took incredible photographs of their handwritten answers. After three years we are finally publishing this book. Why so long? All three collaborators got involved in other projects and there is that huge ocean between China and the USA, thanks for your patience.
The six questions:
1. How did you begin your practice?
2. Why do you still make paper/books?
3. What is the difference for you reading on a digital device/book?
4. In what way do you understand the five senses of paper/book: vision, touch, hearing, smelling, tasting?
5. Share with us some moments either break through or breakdowns in your world?
6. What is your next dream project?
Artists responded with handwriting on paper.
We also included:
1, A photograph of their hands at work.
We think a photo of your hands at work represents you as an artist better than a portrait.
2, images of their artwork.
From Richard Flavin - Photography by Shunjie Yong
Special thanks to the early submissions from:
A contemporary artist and master of the ancient traditions of Chinese book design, Lu Jingren has been crafting books for nearly four decades. He is renowned not only for his prolific creative work and cutting-edge design sensibilities, but also for his dedication to fostering an appreciation of the book as an art form. “Lu Jingren is a superb designer and his mastery of material and form is exemplary. His books exhibit the rare quality of being accessible to both beginning readers and connoisseurs alike,” says Peter Koch, founder of the Codex Foundation. Lu’s career has spanned major technological developments in printing, from letterpress to offset to digital, and his work demonstrates an inspired, graceful response to such changes. One must “design a book with a novel approach every time,” he says.
Lu studied under the tutelage of Professor Kohei Sugiura of Kobe Design University, Japan in 1989 and 1992. Upon his return to China, he founded Jingren Art Design Studio in Beijing, which focuses on book design, editing, and translating design-related publications. Lu currently teaches book design at the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He has garnered numerous awards for book design in Hong Kong, Germany, the United States, and China, and is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).
Amanda Degener graduated from Bennington College and then received an MFA from Yale School of Art. In 1984 she moved her paper studio to the not-yet-opened Minnesota Center for Book Arts where she was a Founder, their first Artist in Residence and later, their first Artistic Director. She was the co-recipient of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library 2012 Minnesota Book Artist Award sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group. Degener’s community service work includes volunteering for non-for-profits such as Wilderness Inquiry, co-organizing national paper conferences (four of them) and teaching Tai Chi. Degener educates through writing, publishing and traveling to teach and exhibit her work in the United States and in places such as Japan, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Korea, and Taiwan/China. Her work is in countless private collections and she has collaborated with many talented and famous artists from coast to coast. Cave Paper’s are used in books that can be accessed from public collections like: The Library of Congress, St. John’s University, and the Walker Art Center to name a few.
Peng Wu is a design activist and an interdisciplinary artist dedicated to creating socially engaged art in pubic space. His design and art projects have been shown internationally in group and solo exhibitions in US, China, and France. His work combines the power of design thinking with avant-garde contemporary art strategies to address various urgent social issues including social justice, modern medicine and health, environmental sustainability. He previously worked for Robert Bosch GmbH as a senior graphic designer and currently work for the University of Minnesota as an independent researcher and artist in residency at Weisman Art Museum.
He received his MFA in visual art at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) Class of 2013. He also holds a MFA degree in industrial design and BS in Atmospheric Physics. He previously worked for Robert Bosch GmbH as a senior graphic designer.
Cave Paper has pushed the creative potential of paper by collaborating with respected and internationally known artists, it has fostered and promoted the craft of handmade paper by offering an influential training program to more than 100 interns. Today, to further explore the great potential of handmade paper and its use as a medium in creative, collaborative projects, they have launched a project called “One World Many Papers.”
To celebrate and promote the traditional craft of handmade paper and its use as a creative and collaborative medium in numerous artistic genres, Cave Paper is collaborating with five nationally and internationally renowned artists and artisans over the next three years.
The project will culminate with public lectures, an internship program, public workshops, and public exhibitions meant to expose the public to this artistic craft. The first invited artist was Lu Jingren from Beijing China. He was part of a collaboration with Peng Wu and Amanda Degener, he also gave a keynote lecture at Codex in San Francisco and a free lecture at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in February 2017. This book we are publishing is an offshoot from Peng Wu, Lu Jingren, and Amanda Degener's collaboration.