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A Multidisciplinary Look into Alternative Fibers

Class of 2024
Art and Art History
Environmental Studies
Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino Studies
Alejandra Altamirano Salazar is a rising senior at St. Lawrence University. Originally from Costa Rica, she is pursuing a double major in Studio Art and Environmental Studies and a minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies. Altamirano's interests revolve around sustainability, food systems and advocacy, and the intersection of both...
Summer 2023

This summer I devoted my SLU Fellowship opportunity to immerse in a new art medium. As a double major in Environmental Studies and Studio Art, I am passionate about finding space for intersection between both of my interests and  paper making felt like a perfect opportunity for the exploration of sustainable practices. I was mentored by Velma Bolyard and Melissa Schulenberg in learning the craft. We focused on the use of readily available materials for the production of quality paper. More specifically we utilized paper scraps, plant fibers and recycled cotton t-shirt. The papermaking process was physically demanding at first but once in a flow it felt almost natural and certainly therapeutic. The practical component was complemented by reading about the papermaking and its history besides stimulating conversations surrounding professional opportunities, sustainability, and how the use of paper as a material may serve as a cultural statement. Besides the physical paper production outcomes, where we surpassed the 600 sheets mark, thanks to the summer fellowship I have been offered to participate in the Listening to the Water Exhibition the Fall of 2023 and a personal paper exhibition in the spring of 2024, both featured in the Univeristy Brush Art Gallery. 

Northern America