Papermaking is my passion and has been for over 20 years! Being retired from teaching, I can now pursue my passion. Melanie McDaniels introduced me to papermaking through a Eureka Arts Council workshop while I was teaching elementary art. I fell in love with the process. As I researched various processes, I developed a technique that I could use to teach basic papermaking to my elementary students. I even wrote it into my kindergarten and second grade curriculum. Kindergarteners discovered that by blending in a blender torn red construction paper with torn blue construction paper a violet pulp was produced that they then pressed into small plastic lids for the wheels of their violet vehicles. Second graders were introduced to a paper artist, Denise Fleming, as we mixed all the secondary colors from the primaries using construction paper. They even entered a national contest sponsored by the American Library Association and WON!!! Denise Fleming came to our school and spent a day demonstrating her papermaking techniques much to everyone’s delight, mine included. As I worked on my +45 graduate credits, I took a papermaking class with Tom Lang at Webster University learning how to make pulp from plant fibers and clothing. Previously I had been working with cotton linter, recycled papers and dryer lint. He also introduced me to casting paper by various methods. Being an avid gardener, I had many plants to choose from as I continued to explore possibilities as I produced large scale papers which I exhibited into juried shows at The St. Louis Artists’ Guild and Art St. Louis. Later I took three metals classes with Sherri Jaude’s at Maryville University in which we explored metal formation, casting and fabrication. Wanting to incorporate my papermaking with the metals, I developed miniature “word” books in which the papers were large enough for only one drawn word and the covers were metal. A friend suggested that I add a chain so they could be worn close to the heart – being precious. Thus my “word” book necklaces came into being. I have entered them into the Missouri Art Education Association Spring Conference Art Shows and have won several 1st places in jewelry and even The Best of Show for 2010. Being an elementary art teacher allowed me to explore and teach the many areas of art: drawing, painting in acrylic, tempera and watercolor, weaving, ceramics, collage, mixed media, printmaking, assemblages and papermaking. I loved it all but am now pursuing my life-long passion of papermaking with all it’s possibilities!