In consort with the flat page, cockled scrap, spun thread, and woven cloth, I look to paper as a substrate that can provide my environment, costume, sound-maker, and method of communication. At Guapamacataro, I used available plant material harvested sustainably to make paper from place. Combined with dry fibers brought in my suitcase, the results were samples that ranged from hybrid to pure fiber content from the Guapa land. These pages entered books and were cut to explore the landscape and language of the hacienda.
My work looks at human responses and reactions to our place in families and local communities, cultures and nations, and natural and manmade spaces. Through papermaking and handwork, I clear a window to the invisible by keeping alive ancient techniques and evolving them to reveal the fragile and strong nature of our precarious lives. By making a chamber pot out of paper, I can reveal unknown stories of objects to encourage understanding and communication between people. In creating a paper wardrobe, I refer to disappeared cultures of paper as well as possibilities of a new role for paper amidst our current culture of digital media.
I prefer techniques that require hands-on, long-term, systematic practice. However, my love for improvisation balances the seemingly rigid nature of the tools that I use. I print etched plates onto knitted paper, use old printmaking techniques to draw comics, tear up and re-piece carefully-made paper, and adapt all of my bookbinding knowledge to fiber and all of my fiber arts knowledge to books. The direct trace of the hand in all work, including artifacts, costumes, or scribbled maps reminds me of how much I still have to learn from the human hand, which is inextricably tied up with the human heart and mind.
Aimee Lee is an interdisciplinary artist who works in paper, book, and installation arts. She holds a BA in Visual Arts from Oberlin College and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago. As a Fulbright fellow, she researched Korean paper arts and built the first Korean papermaking studio in North America in 2010 at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland. In 2012, The Legacy Press published her first book, Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking, recognized in two categories of the Eric Hoffer Book Award in 2013. She exhibits internationally, and her artists’ books reside in collections that include the Cleveland Institute of Art Gund Library, Museum of Modern Art Library, and Yale University Haas Library. She teaches and lectures at sites that include the Cleveland Museum, Denver Art Museum, Oberlin College, Mills College, UC Davis, UW Seattle, Center for Book Arts (NYC), Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has been a resident artist at Art Farm, Jentel, Ragdale, Saltonstall Arts Colony, Santa Fe Art Institute, Vermont Studio Center, and Weir Farm Arts Center. Funders include the US Fulbright Program, Korea Fulbright Foundation, Manhattan Graphics Center, New York Foundation for the Arts Special Opportunity Stipend Program, and the Puffin Foundation.