NELSONVILLE — The Paper Circle received notice from the Ohio Arts Council of the receipt of the Traditional Apprentice Grant.

Utilizing the grant money, Paper Circle founder and master papermaker Sara Gilfert will engage Executive Director Barbara (Scout) Ery in an intensive apprenticeship to pass along the art and craft of making paper from paper mulberry.

The apprenticeship will last a year and include weekly learning sessions at the Paper Circle gallery in Nelsonville. During the apprenticeship, Gilfert will teach Ery how to recognize, plant, grow, harvest, and process the paper mulberry into sheets of paper.

“We both have a strong desire to preserve the long and rich history of making paper from paper mulberry, which we grow and harvest ourselves,” said Gilfert. “It will truly be our paper (Paper Circle) and the Appalachia area.”

The Traditional Apprentice Grant was awarded to nine organizations in 2020, totaling $20,751.

Gilfert started out as fiber artist and traveled extensively to the Far East, where she learned and explored Japanese paper making. After many years of visiting many master paper makers and building lifelong relationships in the east, Gilfert returned home to Ohio and decided to start a handmade paper studio in her basement. In 2003 Paper Circle was officially born.

Ery is a visual artist, painter, papermaker, book arts and fiber artist. She has created, taught and studied art starting at Ohio University in the mid 70’s. She made handmade paper and paper mache in college. It was in 2014 when she relocated to the area that she got involved with Paper Circle. Her interest was to work with local artists in the area and have access to equipment, knowledge, and materials.

“I made a commitment to stay in the area to learn from Sara and work towards keeping Paper Circle alive and growing,” said Ery. “I respect Sara immensely and am so thankful for the opportunity to apprentice with Sara.”

Paper Circle is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of hand made paper and education through the arts.

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