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  • Writer's pictureKarin Mansberg

At 20 years old, I moved from a smaller city, Tartu to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, to start my studies in art school. My dorm was in a high-rise building with the tram stop under the window. The small rail cars arrived and departed at short intervals and the rattling of the metal cars on the bumpy asphalt sent vibrations up the stone wall of the dorm building - there was hardly ever a quiet moment.

On weekends, I often chose to retreat to my parents house, 3 hours trip from the city, where I had grown up. My mom still comments how one Friday night, I arrived home in the fall semester and went straight to clean the flower beds from weeds and dried leaves; I simply was thirsty for nature connection. I would recharge my mind working in garden and sitting by the river behind the house. My favorite spot was by the river - at any season - perhaps my first sit-spot. When I eventually moved away from Estonia and came to the States, I found nature walks were just the cure when I felt stressed or lost in life's wide open road.

Over the five or more years when I have visited Estonia, I make sure to spend time at my original sit-spot by the river. I have made drawings, and small color studies of the river at the early hours of sunrise when water is still like a mirror and in summer afternoons when the sun starts to descend behind tall birch trees on the opposite bank and the shadow outlines the plants making the shapes easy to observe.

The idea of a sit-spot is that visiting a spot in nature regularly over a period of time, one can develop deeper awareness about nature through all the senses. Having my special places (yes, I have several favorite spots) in nature has become a source of inspiration for my art. Nostalgia is not the main theme but building on my remembered relationship with nature. I intend to design a series of new relief prints, which stem from my sketchbook studies done at my several favorite nature spots. Working from observation or rather from prolonged observation I believe will help me to translate nature's shapes onto a flat plane in black and white. Allowing me to find new forms and lines as I am further developing my printmaking language.

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  • Writer's pictureKarin Mansberg

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

The story behind my print “Denim” starts when I was looking for new printmaking paper made (locally) in the USA. There are some traditional printmaking papers from Japan and Europe that I have printed on, but I was curious to try out something different. Mohawk paper company, located in New York state manufactures its papers in the mills across USA. They sent me some samples. Their Renewal series includes papers made from partially recycled natural materials like hemp, straw, denim thread, and cotton t-shirts.

Straw Renewal paper is processed by Columbia Pulp, LLC in Eastern Washington and contains wood pulp and 30% of straw. I hand pulled a relief print with Renewal Straw Rough, Harvest White, 140 cover paper. Paper has visible texture, slightly smooth surface, takes ink well and I would use it again. In the same paper family there is also Rough, Wheat, 120 cover paper, its color is deep warm almost golden dark yellow. However, the surface of the paper was too slick for hand pulling relief prints; the ink sat on the surface rather than sinking into fibers, and occasionally I did not get a clear print due to the slick surface.

There is abundance of textile waste waiting to be reused, recycled - I am glad I took a chance on Mohawk’s recycled cotton papers: Renewal T-Shirt White and Denim. In fact, the paper made of denim inspired my newest print honoring sustainable makers and fashion designers who choose upcycling, mending, recycling as their main practice.

Mohawk’s recycled cotton papers worked really well for hand pulling relief prints.

Lastly, Renewal Hemp paper in Flower color is warm green, beautiful - I ordered envelopes made with the paper.

All in all, I am glad to have found nice quality, sustainable, locally made paper for my printmaking and card making purposes.

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