The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is a magical transformation that metaphorically represents our own evolution towards the mature human beings we each aspire to become.
This interactive artwork invited the SoHE (School of Human Ecology) community to reflect and write about our fears, misunderstandings, prejudices, and stereotypes—our isms. Using the transformative nature of the papermaking process, more than 60 participants each tore an empty page out of a hand-bound blank book. Then, they made notes on this page about the ways they would like to grow and change in their social interactions. Afterward, the sheet was ripped up and beaten into paper pulp. This paper pulp, carrying our (now hidden) collective hopes and dreams for personal transformation, was made into new sheets of paper by members of the SoHE community. Finally, the newly formed pages will carry thoughts from other participants about what it would be like to live in a society free of "isms".
Craft processes and materials contribute in powerful and meaningful ways to the content of artworks. The fine craft of handmade paper can be a powerful vehicle in support of the social values our community works towards embracing. I firmly believe that all social change must start with personal self-reflection, and hope this work will contribute in a quiet andpersonal way for those who participated.
I would like to thank the EcoWell Committee, Dave Metler and his team for their time and assistance.
Mary Hark for her valuable mentorship and encouragement. Marianne Fairbanks for her guidance throughout the project. Jim Escalante and Carolyn Kallenborn for their advise and feedback.
Aaron Granat for producing an amazing video of the metamorph-isms process and Aliza Rand for documenting the project with beautiful photos.
Most importantly, thank you to all of you who participated in the project and made paper with me.
This project was made possible through the generous support of the EcoWell Idea to Action Fellowship at the School of Human Ecology.