Field to Library: U of I Collaboration for Sustainable Book Conservation
A dynamic partnership in the works at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign aims to prove that paper doesn’t — and perhaps shouldn’t — grow on trees.
The participants? Fresh Press — a hand papermaking studio at the School of Art + Design — and the U of I Library’s Conservation Unit. Using Fresh Press’ trademark agriculturally sourced materials, the organizations will collaborate to craft a new kind of paper that meets conservation standards and can be used to rebind and repair the Library’s at-risk relics.
Despite existing in separate spheres, the organizations have quickly fallen into step with one another, united by the drive to create meaningful and environmentally conscious material. Fresh Press brings the paper, conservators provide the artifacts, and the result is a multilevel experiment in sustainability, conservation and the fusion of fine art and science.
Eric Benson, co-founder of Fresh Press, defines its mission:
“We want to explore papermaking from a more environmentally friendly perspective, and in the process create more sustainable paper products.”