Planted Papers

This picture is a spread from Susan Mills’ “Twentysix Plants.”The left side shoes a light green paper made from pampas. It has a rougher edge. The right side, made from burdock, is also green, but covered in many different dark spots. 

Sometimes, certain books can seem simple. For example, Susan Mill’s “Twentysix plants” book, where each page contains only one cut-out word. But then you have to think about the processes that made that book. Susan Mills was inspired by another artist who previously made an artists’ book with twenty-six pictures of gas stations along a long stretch of road. Mills published her book on the twenty fifth anniversary of her inspiration’s publishing.  

Besides the inspiration, the book itself is a whole other process on its own. “Twentysix plants” much like the title suggests, is made up of twenty-six pages, each made with a different kind of locally grown plant. This is personally the part that drew me into this book. I have done my own paper making once. And I am certainly no expert, but I found the process really fun. So, someone like Susan Mills, collecting the plants and turning each into paper to then bind together into her book, was an interesting idea to me. Plus, I liked that you could see the different looks the paper got, based on what material was used to create it.  

I think it was a really good idea to cut the words out rather than print or write onto them. It makes it more interesting to get a peep at the next page and still see pages you had seen before poking through. It makes the words pop out more. 

Works Cited

Mills, Susan. “Twentysix Plants.” Women’s Studio Workshop, Women’s Studio Workshop, 1 Nov. 2017, https://wsworkshop.org/collection/twentysix-plants/.  

4 thoughts on “Planted Papers”

  1. This book reminds me of a simple, yet effective, children’s book that would teach its audience about animals, plants, and other such aspects of the world in captivating ways. (For example, a book I used to read as a little boy called Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins)

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  2. As someone who really likes plants, the concept for this book is exciting. I love the way that all of the different plants create their own unique textures and colors on the pages. It definitely makes you think about the process of each page’s creation, as you mentioned in your post.

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  3. This book reminds me of the little stacks of paint cards you can get at the hardware store. The pages are sort of like samples you might choose from when selecting paper for your own book. I had never really thought about what would happen if you made paper from different plants; I’d like to feel each page and think of some way to use that particular paper.

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  4. I love how this book appears both visual and tactile; I can imagine holding it and not only comparing the appearances of the different pages — the colors, the grains, the patterns — but the textures, the different ways in which different plants can be made into paper. It also calls to mind — or, my mind at least — just how entwined with nature the experience of interacting with books is; since paper can be made of so many different materials, perhaps the creation of books has always existed in human nature.

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