morgan conservatory preserves, shares lost art of papermaking

Tucked away on a hard-to-find, one-way street in a neighborhood full of worker cottages and hulking industrial buildings is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to preserving the art of papermaking.

Wending your way to the Morgan Conservatory, sandwiched between a factory and aluminum-sided Colonials on East 47th Street off of Commerce Avenue, is like traveling into a forgotten world. It's the perfect warm-up to a venue that celebrates paper in an increasingly paperless society.

The gallery and educational center offers classes in the basic process of pulling handmade paper, more complex processes such as pulp painting, the art of sculptural 3D papermaking, Korean and other Asian papermaking techniques, and historic bookbinding techniques such as creating double-book structures.

The mission of the nonprofit Morgan Conservatory is to provide instruction in the art of handmade papermaking, book arts, letterpress arts and silk screening. Despite the increasing popularity if the iPad and other paperless devices, classes are often full. The conservatory also seeks to become a hub and resource center that will keep artists in Cleveland and offer workshops to students of all ages.

"The best part for me is seeing young people get involved," says Tom Balbo, Executive Director of the Morgan Conservatory. "This kind of facility is rare in any part of the country, and there are only a handful of similar facilities. Cleveland offers the affordability to do this; none of the others are nearly this large."

The Morgan Conservatory incorporates many sustainability efforts. Workers capture rainwater on site and uses it to water the garden. Additionally, the venue recycles a wide array of materials, converting many of the items into paper.

Currently, the gallery features work by artists Qian Li and Don Lisy which will be on display through August 26th. The conservatory is located at 1754 E. 47th Street.

Source: The Morgan Conservatory
Writer: Lee Chilcote
Signup for Email Alerts