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Making Paper from Invasive Plants
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Photography by Megan Heeres

If you’re preparing to weed your garden this spring, then you might consider making an art project from the invasive plants that you remove, just like Detroit-based artist Megan Heeres did with The Invasive Paper Project.

This project creates awareness around invasive plant species and their effect on our ecosystem, but more importantly it provides an opportunity to think about invasive plant life differently. While we need to focus on eradication, we can also experiment with new uses and products from these noxious weeds.

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Vats of paper-making pulp from invasive plants found in Detroit.

The Invasive Paper Project consists of a series of community demos and workshops held throughout Detroit, in which invasive plant species were harvested and broken down into pulp. The process of turning the harvested plants, including Phragmites, Honeysuckle, and Garlic Mustard, into paper can vary from species to species depending on qualities of the plants themselves, but these processes generally include cooking the plants with soda ash or lye in order to break them down into pulp. Then the pulp is poured into vats where the pulp can be spread onto screens and left to dry into sheets of paper.

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Finished papers

If you happen to be in Detroit this week, and you’d like to see Heeres’ locally sourced papers in the flesh, then be sure to stop by Re:View Gallery where her exhibition called “The More We Get Together” will be on display through April 18th.

[via Hyperallergic]

5 thoughts on “Making Paper from Invasive Plants

  1. This is the second post Make has made for me where the webpage will not display completely and cuts text off. I am using an iPhone

  2. Are there reasons you went with soda ash over lye or vice versa? I would like to do this is there more information available?

    1. Soda ash is far less nasty than lye, and it’ll still peel the skin off your hands if you don’t wear gloves (as I have learned experimentally). You can get soda ash from places that do tie-dye, like Dharma Trading.

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Artist, writer, and teacher who makes work about popular culture, technology, and traditional craft processes. http://www.andrewsalomone.com

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