Gillian Spires FSDC

Paper & Artist Books

About Gillian
Gillian’s fascination with making paper started through being introduced to Japanese papers while studying wood engraving. She has been making paper from plants since 1973 using primitive oriental methods, the fibres being beaten by hand. Her research has focused on colouration, watermarking techniques and the inclusion of 23.5ct. gold leaf in the paper; Japanese images have played an important part in her designs. Gillian has travelled widely to research papermaking, also teaching and exhibiting her work.
Biography Back to top

Solo exhibitions include Paperpoint, Covent Garden, 1984 and British Telecom, City of London,1999.

Major commissions include a Japanese Tea Ceremony room in London and a four panel folding screen for the Crown suppliers both made in collaboration with Alan Peters OBE.

Gillian has exhibited as a Fellow of The Society of Designer Craftsmen in the Mall Galleries having joined the association in 1986.

She is also a member of Make Southwest, formerly known as the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, exhibiting with them since 1976. In 1987 she organised and designed their exhibition ‘Papermakers - from Ancient Traditions to Modern Technology’.

Awards include South West Arts, Dartington Trust, Rex Beddis award from The Worldwide Fund for Nature, and sponsorship from various paper mills and publications.

She has published a number of articles and journals about her experiences and participated in television programmes with Channel 4 and BBC2.

Resumé Back to top

Working visit to the workshop of master papermaker Tsuneo Naito at the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan

International paper study tour to China visiting conservation departments of museums and art colleges, engaging with tutors and students

The first of numerous conference trips to the USA as a member of the association ‘Friends of Dard Hunter’ (now North American Papermakers). Studio visits with papermaking colleagues led to several teaching and exhibiting opportunities in the US.

Visits Burma to document the ancient traditions of the gold beaters of Mandalay. Travelling by ox-cart through the Burmese jungle visiting bamboo papermakers who make the substrate for gold leaf beating and rice straw papermakers who make the final packaging for the gold leaf. None of this paper ever comes out of Burma.

1994 & 1996
Invited to Malawi to research indigenous plants to make paper in, and for, schools where paper was non existent. A scholarship awarded by the The World Wide Fund for Nature allowed her to return to Malawi to continue this educational work.

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