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Rob Kennedy

My background is in photography and the creative arts, as well as the landscape sciences - geography and ecology. My interest in papermaking developed from recognising the need to take conservation revegetation to a new level. Papermaking is a mechanism for breaking the separation between conservation and economic activity. The act of sustainably harvesting from plants, such as Harakeke (NZ Flax), is important for maintaining healthy plants with vigorous growth. I also work with species which are unwanted and would otherwise become waste.

I work with a range of fibre plants both native and exotic. A good answer to which plants are suitable for papermaking is see what composts slowest or to look at what is commonly rejected from green-waste collections. I have experimented with bamboo, Phoenix and Nikau Palms, sedges and ornamental grasses, Toetoe and pampas species. Old clothes are also a source of plant fibre and I have given a new lease of life to many an old sheet and worn out jeans and linen fabrics- turning them from rags into beautiful papers.

Papermaking appeals to me because of the range of skills and interests I draw on. The experience is very grounding and connects me to my environment and my environment to my products. I want to achieve more than a biodiversity gain from conservation. I want to enable enterprise which develops native plant resources, conserves habitats, and provides people with both employment and the opportunity to express themselves creatively while deepen their experience of the relationship between people, plants and places. Learning how to work with nature profoundly rewards one’s sense of self and mental wellness.

 

HANDMAKING PAPER USING NATIVE PLANTS
1 Sunday morning - On 31 October from 9:30am-12:30pm

This class is now FULL. Paper comes from plants. Aotearoa has lots of really fibrous plants. So let’s make come paper from our local native plants. Come and learn how to make paper while making a new friend or two and developing a deeper appreciation for native plant resources. No experience necessary just a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands wet! The paper we make takes a few days to dry and then will be posted back.

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