Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Artists, engineers combine for campus, national paper venture in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 04/16/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


STEVENS POINT - College and professional artists need special cotton-fiber paper for painting, drawing, and printing.

UW-Stevens Point's art students bought that expensive paper from traditional European mills for years.

Meanwhile, UWSP's Paper Science and Engineering Department taught students about the papermaking business on its huge paper machine just a building away on campus.

The logical tie between art and engineering came together, and is now going national.

"It was a natural. We use paper, we make paper. I think there's something we can do together," says UWSP Professor of Art Bob Erickson.

UWSP students used to pay four to five dollars per sheet for imported European fine arts paper.

All the while, students at the university's Paper Science and Engineering Department were producing roll after roll of other kinds of paper - just steps away on campus.

Erickson took a sheet of his paper over.

"I said, can we make that? They said, yeah, we can make that. So I thought, that's great. We need paper, they make paper," he says.

That conversation led to years of tinkering with formulas, ideas, and the university's paper machine itself.

"The challenges came when we started trying to meet the specifications of the artists, and translating what the properties of the paper they were telling us about, translating those into something we can actually measure," says UWSP Paper Science and Engineering Department Chair Karyn Biasca.

"About a year ago, we started to get a good paper that we felt we could use and market," Erickson says.

The finished product Erickson gave students like Josie Balk?

A high quality, cotton-based, fine arts papers at an unbeatable price.

"It was kind of nice because he says, use this paper, it's free. As a college kid, it's hard, budgeting as an art student, and paying tuition, and all of that other stuff," Balk says.

"They can experiment, they can try papers, they don't have to worry about, oh my god, I'm using a four-dollar sheet of paper," Erickson says.

Art students stay in touch constantly with the papermaking students, sharing what they like about the paper, and what they want done differently.

"They say that the properties of the product are equivalent to any of the much more expensive papers that are made overseas that they've used before," Biasca says.

The paper went over so well, its reach has expanded far beyond campus - making a brand called RiverPoint Paper.

"We've filled orders in at least fifteen different states to artists, other educators, students, and we always encourage them to let us know how it's working," says Ron Tschida of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology, a group associated with the university that focuses on entrepreneurship.

Buyers love the paper quality, but that's not the only upside.

"(They like) not only the paper itself, but also the idea behind the paper, that it's being made at a university, by students, by faculty. We're not a company. They like the idea that it's being made that way," Erickson says.

That pride holds true for UWSP student artists, too.

"Being able to present it to people, saying, hey, this was used on campus, this paper is from the campus," Balk says.

It's an idea gaining national attention, all starting from a seemingly simple cross-campus connection.

"They are very excited about making paper," Erickson says, simply. "Our students are very excited about using the paper."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - You often see tomatoes growing in gardens across the Northwoods, but making sure tomato plants stay healthy is difficult here in Wisconsin because of tomato blight.

In Wisconsin, tomato plants often get a disease called tomato blight. It can come early or late in the season.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


+ Read More

ADAMS COUNTY - Two men died in a car crash near the Wisconsin Dells Saturday afternoon according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Police got a call around 2 p.m. about a two-car crash on County Road B north of State Highway 23 in Adams County.

A 65-year-old was driving and a 72-year-old was in the front passenger seat. Both those men died at the scene. They were both from Oxford, Wisconsin.

Driving the other car was a 24-year-old man from the Wisconsin Dells. He was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating. The names will not be released until the families are notified. 

+ Read More

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - We now know who were the three people killed during Wednesday's double-murder suicide in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says  36-year-old Justin Bohn of Wisconsin Rapids shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 3-year-old son, Devon.



+ Read More
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/29/2016

- Local schools have stepped up to show their support for the Antigo community after last weekend's prom shooting. We'll show you what that effort looks like at Lakeland.

- Plus, a local greenhouse that was destroyed by a tornado in 2011 and was rebuilt is celebrating it's20th anniversary. We'll take you to the celebration.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Just over a week ago more than 10 different agencies rushed out to rural western Oneida County to deal with a man threatening to blow up his house.

When crews got there, 60-year-old Kenneth Welsh was sitting on his porch with a long gun. He held up police up in a standoff for the next three hours.

Last week he was charged with attempted first-degree homicide along with other felonies.

Welsh appeared in court Friday to hear the judge's decision regarding whether the prosecution has presented enough evidence to move forward with the case against him.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here