The University of Wisconsin at Madison hosted a four-day Combat Paper workshop in October, 2009. The workshop was part of Honoring the Warrior: Combat Paper on the Black Hawk Trail and coincided with the anniversary of Chief Black Hawk's death, a Sauk Fox warrior. Robert Possehl, a Wisconsin papermaker, locates and harvests native and non-native plants from specific sites along the Black Hawk Trail. The fibers were harvested in Madison, field-retted, cooked and beaten to accompany the Combat Paper workshop. The fiber helps tell the story; of the Saux Fox warrior and the returning soldiers of today.
Workshop leaders Drew Cameron, Drew Matott and Robert Possehl were joined by students and local veterans who pulped their uniforms worn while in military service. Some of the uniform pulp was mixed with the Black Hawk fibers to add an additional layer of context to their emerging personal narratives. Participants made paper sheets and bound them into personal journals, and experimented with pulp printing and silk screening images on freshly made papers.
Our thanks go out to the Madison community for their warm welcome, to John Hitchcock and the University's Art Department and to Jim Escalante for sharing these images.