My boyfriend was ready for is military contract to expire after eight years, two tours and countless sleepless nights served as a U.S. Marine. To commemorate the occasion, I enlisted the help of Combat Paper, an art initiative catering to the personal catharsis of veterans through individual paper-making.
“The goal is to utilize art as a means to help veterans reconcile their personal experiences as well as broaden the traditional narrative surrounding service, honor and the military culture. Through papermaking workshops veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art. The uniforms are cut up, beat and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences as a soldier in war”
I contacted Drew Cameron, co-founder of Combat Paper, to inquire about purchasing some paper and his response provided an unexpected display of kindness,
“For something like this I wouldn’t want to charge any money, as badly as I could use it, it is projects like yours that allows us to continue: Connections”
Genuine and sincere, I set-out to create a limited-edition lithograph print not only for my boyfriend but also for the people at Combat Paper and the veterans who donated their uniforms for my paper. When the paper arrived, I was surprised to find that printed on the back were the names of each veterans involved in the papermaking process as well as a process description:
“Combat Paper is a collaboration project initiated by Drew Matott and Drew Cameron of the People’s Republic of Paper along with the members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Utilizing the uniforms that they wore in combat, the veterans cut, cooked and beat their issued uniforms into a pulp and used a spray-pulp printing technique to render images and text onto the sheets.
This series was made from the uniforms of: Chanan Saurez-Diaz, Jon Michael Turner, Adrienne Kinne, Drew Cameron, Cloy Richards, Matt Howard, Eli Wright, Nate Lewis, Mike Blake, and Phil Alife”
A special thanks to Drew Cameron and everyone at Combat Paper for supplying the handmade paper for free to commemorate the expiration of another honorable veteran’s eight-year military contract.