In my blog reading this week, I came across the Combat Paper Project. I'm not even sure how I connected to it, but it's the type of project I'd like to hear more of, and I thought I'd share it with you. This project uses art, in this case hand papermaking, to help veterans work through their personal experiences in the military.
Art therapy is used in many places, believing that the creative process is therapeutic and improves quality of life. My own workplace has an art studio used by mental health consumers in their recovery process. In the Combat Paper Project, veterans use their very own uniforms in a cathartic process of making paper from them. They actually cut up their uniforms and use a Hollander beater (wouldn't we all love one of these in our basements!) to beat the fabric into a usable main component of the paper pulp.
From their website, they note:
"Through ongoing participation in the papermaking process, combat papermakers are attempting to progress from creating works specific to their military experiences to expressing a broader vision on militarism and society. The work reflects both the anger of the past and hope for the future. Through this collaboration between civilians and veterans, a much-needed conversation is generated regarding our responsibilities to the returned veteran and an understanding of the dehumanizing effects of warfare."