|“Pulp to Paper,” a retrospective of work in paper and book arts by Cheryl Mahowald, will be shown from Aug. 14 through Sept. 15 in the Donald P. Taylor Gallery at Silver Lake College, 2406 S. Alverno Road.
The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The public also is welcome to her artist’s talk at 9 a.m. on Sept. 6 in Room 102, and to an artist’s reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 13. The exhibit, talk and reception are free.
Mahowald is an award-winning paper and book artist from Newton. Her work has been exhibited at numerous U.S. galleries, museums and libraries, and hangs in various permanent collections and in private homes.
“I met Cheryl in the Lakeshore Artists Guild,” said Erin LaBonte, associate professor of art and art department co-chair at Silver Lake College. “Cheryl is a leader in the group and an inspiring artist. Her works are beautiful and range in scale and subject, but fibers are her medium. Cheryl once showed our group her studio and walked us through the process of creating paper. It is unique for an artist to be involved in the creation of the medium, as well as the final work.”
Paper is an ancient medium, invented almost 2,000 years ago, Mahowald said in her artist’s statement.
“My obsession with handmade paper began over 20 years ago,” she said. “I was drawn to the sensory aspect and ‘Zen-like’ quality of making paper by hand. I like the smell of cooking fiber, the feel of the pulp in the vat, and the sound of the water as it drains through the mold. I love the entire process.”
Mahowald is challenged to explore paper’s many applications.
“Paper is an extremely versatile medium,” she said. “Among other things, it can be dyed, stitched, folded, painted, woven and sculpted. Through the years, I have learned many traditional fiber art and mixed-media techniques that I use in my books and paper art. My paper art tends to reflect more of the natural world and my books are usually an expression of my reaction to and interpretation of current events. I continue to learn new ways to work with paper. I know that I will never master them all.”
About the artist:
Mahowald holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Iowa State University in Ames and has worked in the field of art and design since 1982. She has taught papermaking and bookbinding to all ages, from preschool children to adults. She has hosted workshops, taught at the DuPage Art League gallery in Wheaton, Illinois, and the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, Illinois.
Mahowald is a partner in Prairie Spirit Papers Inc. and co-founder of the Book and Paper Arts Guild in Wheaton, Illinois. She is a member of the Sheboygan Visual Artists, the Lakeshore Artists Guild and Friends of Dard Hunter, an organization dedicated to papermaking.
Photo caption: “Starfish” by Cheryl Mahowald/Submitted photo