Fiber College of Maine Touchstone Workshop: September 4-8

Papermaking, Printing, and Paper Sculpture

Learn papermaking for the home studio and printing methods for fine art and handmade paper. Explore three-dimensional forms with paper sculpting.

With Karen Olson

Connect with nature on an intimate level and explore methods of self-expression with natural materials and sustainable practices. You will learn concepts and methods for making paper from readily available materials in your environment and learn techniques for the home studio. Delve into the world of oriental papers and learn to print digitally on handmade papers. A variety of paper sculpture techniques both ancient and modern will be demonstrated and incorporated into your own sculptural pieces as you explore a variety of means for working three-dimensionally.


Hand papermaking is a process that can support many other mediums or be a work of art on its own. The process is an enjoyable and restorative way to connect with nature. Papermaking can be as simple or complex as you would like to make it. Truly a medium with endless possibilities! Students can expect to learn the fundamentals of papermaking in a home setting. You will gain an understanding of the tools required and the materials necessary to make a variety of papers. Readily available materials such as locally sourced plant fibers as well as more specialized fibers will be explored. The methods you will learn are accessible and adaptable.

Printing on Fine Art Paper

Printing on specialty fine art paper yields a particularly delicate and beautiful image. It has a quality that mimics the experience we have when connecting with nature. This is especially so with translucent Japanese and Korean papers. Experimenting with these unique materials gives an ethereal look to images and makes the artwork sing. We will discuss and view a wide variety of fine art Japanese and Korean papers and how they are made. An understanding of gsm, weight, translucency, and texture will be utilized. Students will learn how to prepare digital files and the steps necessary to print digitally on uncoated fine art paper. A photo transfer process using our handmade paper will be demonstrated. Resources for purchasing materials will be provided. Students may provide several images they would like to print at the workshop and incorporate into their sculptures. Several images to use will also be provided.

Paper Sculpture

When we work sculpturally, we gain a profound understanding of how perspective can transform and shift in response to the interplay of light and the angle from which we observe our creations. This powerful fact serves as a metaphor for the intricacies and ever-changing nature of life itself. By skillfully manipulating various elements and incorporating them into a multidimensional layered sculpture, we effectively convey the intricate and multifaceted layers that constitute our unique life experiences. Students will learn a variety of methods to strengthen and sculpt paper. Ancient oriental practices will be discussed and demonstrated as well as innovative techniques with natural materials. A variety of alternatives for armature will be shown. You will use your own handmade papers made at the workshop as well as other mixed papers and fibers available for your use to create your own artwork. Please feel free to bring your own prints, elements, or artworks you would like to incorporate in your sculpture.

Class and Retreat fee: $980

Materials fee: $120

All materials and tools for papermaking will be supplied. If there are specific foraged, purchased, or found materials that you have on hand and would like to try please feel free to bring them along. If you happen to have a mould and deckle, please bring it with you if you can.

For printing on fine art paper, please feel free to bring any type of paper and any images you would like to try. If you would like to print your own photography or artwork, please bring your computer and digital files. Materials to create your own artworks to incorporate into your sculptures will be available but, of course, you can bring whatever you would like to use. Awagami paper formulated for digital printing is recommended. We will have some available at class for you to try.

Please email Karen with any questions:

Other materials to bring if you can: Small and medium brushes for glue, ink, acrylic, or watercolor and brushes to paint with.

For more information on accommodation options, click here.

To see the other workshop offerings, click here.

Karen Olson Portrait

When trees converse, the air is charged with chemical substances, fragrances, hormones, and electrical connections. Placing myself in the middle of the conversation I am illuminated by it. Keenly interested in this human-nature connection and how it supports and fosters mental health and interpersonal communication has become the subject of my latest projects.

My work is conceptual and lens-based, exploring subjects such as grief, trauma, forest bathing, and the psychology of creative process. The act of constructing, deconstructing, and constructing further with both physical materials and digital files imitates the natural cycles of growth and decay.  Elements are digitally captured, blended, and intertwined. Fibers, papers, and photographs are formed and sculpted, adding weight and texture. Creatively, I seek an open dialog with the materials and the subject, encouraging collaboration and interchange.

I create intimate landscapes that are ethereal and immersive. They offer the viewer respite and recovery a safe place to explore feelings and emotions.

Touchstone Retreat Schedule


Settle into this magical world

2:00-5:00 Register, share a cider, pick up a map of places you might like to visit in the area and settle in for your relaxing retreat once you've gotten a lay of the land

5:30-7:30 Join us for cocktails/mocktails, snacks, and social time.  Meet the instructors and share in the stories while we have a teacher's work exhibition.  We'll light a campfire if you'd like to linger into the evening and toast marshmallows under the stars.


Dive deep into your passion

8-9 Breakfast (included for everyone, veg & GF friendly)

9-12 Class

12-2 Garden Lunch and Guided conversation (1:00-1:30) (veg & GF friendly)

2-5 Class

5:30-6:30 pre-dinner sip and stroll~ a chance to walk the beach and catch up on the day's activities.

Thursday: Light Dinner (veg & GF friendly) Followed by a Forest Bathing Walk through the ancient Oak grove

Friday: Dinner on your own, studios will remain accessible and we'll have a campfire in the garden for your pleasure

Saturday: Moveable Feast, Some part of dinner will be served in each of the classrooms...stroll through and see what everyone's been creating


Re-emerge Gently

8-9 Breakfast (included for everyone, veg & GF friendly)

9-12 Class

12:30 - 3 Lunch, book signing, special shopping, pictures and goodbyes (veg & GF friendly)