Several years ago I stumbled upon Japanese Papermaking: Traditions, Tools and Techniques in the local university library. I wasn’t a papermaker, but wanted to know a bit more about the topic. The book turned out to be an enjoyable mélange of travel writing, ethnobotany, history and detailed fine craft how-to. Up to then I wasn’t all that familiar with the author, Timothy Barrett, but soon came to know that he’s a respected presence in the paper and book world, and is affiliated with the University of Iowa Center for the Book.
I was pleased to hear that Timothy Barrett was just named a recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship. One doesn’t usually expect to find the likes of papermakers included in such honors. In a recent press release Timothy says,
People have asked me how it feels to receive this award….More than the money, I have to say I’ve been moved by the recognition. I’ve spent most of my career focused on the history, technique, science and aesthetics of hand papermaking. I’ve been lucky to be a part of the UI Center for the Book for the last 23 years because, in general, career tracks in my specialty are few and far between. So it is very much to the MacArthur Foundation’s credit that they acknowledge creativity in new fields of study, as well as in established disciplines.