The Papermaker is a short documentary about Gangolf Ulbricht, one of the last handcrafting papermakers in Europe. He "makes unique tree- free papers by hand for international artists, conservators, photographers, printers and many more.
He learned his uniqe craft in Germany, Japan, France and England" (via).
Paper has character. You can tell from the product whether there are things going on beneath the surface . . . paper can have the power of life and death. Paper can be the bearer of emotions. A love letter comes to mind.
Author Simon Garfield says that the art of letter writing is dying, and for obvious reasons: Email. Email has transformed our world, making communicating much faster, much easier, and much more efficient. But what these emails lack, according to Garfield, is depth and emotion. They tend to be much more factual and functional, rather than personal. We read, write, send, then move on and read, write, send – quickly forgetting what we read, wrote, and sent.
Letters, however, take time. And not just to write, but the whole process. There’s the finding of the address, writing it out, finding a stamp, stamping it, then getting the letter to the mailbox. All the while, we could have written over a dozen emails. Emails that, over the course of just a few hours, will have been lost in the shuffle, deleted, or ignored.
I could possibly say the same for journals. When I used to keep an actual paper journal, I did a lot more doodling, more comic style writing (I'm in no way an artist, but I would feel the freedom to try, because who would know?). But then I would forget the journal on a plane, in a taxi, or wherever else journals are forgotten. That's even why I started blogging, which I've learned to truly enjoy, but still. Something personal seems to be lost.
Letters though, good thought provoking and sincere letter make an impact and are not easily forgotten. They are personal and a physical manifestation of how much someone means to you. Which is why they are found pinned to caulk boards or placed carefully inside our favorite books, so that they can come back to life, over and over again.
Just like Gangolf Ulbricht's paper.
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