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

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You'll likely find some slow-moving guests on the road this weekend. Turtles start laying their eggs in late May through mid-June.  Based on where they like to do so, it's a dangerous time for the reptiles.

Wild Instincts Rehab Center in Rhinelander treats at least 30 injured turtles each summer.  Painted and snapping turtles are most common in the Northwoods.  They tend to lay their eggs along roadsides, driveways, and in places with soft sand.

"They get a lot of heat from the blacktop so it's an ideal place for them to lay their eggs in a lot of ways, not so much for the fact that they get hit by cars so often," rehab director Mark Naniot said.  "People should just kind of slow down whenever they're going around areas where there's lakes and rivers."

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off the boating season in Wisconsin.

The Safe Boating Council has designated this week as National Safe Boating Week.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - During a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that it would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugs, including painkillers.

After speaking with one of the bill's authors, that notion is not at all true. 

John Murray, the executive director of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, which supports the bill, said it was never the bill's intention to include narcotics, or any drugs not related to neuro-muscular skeletal healing. The bill is in its early stages, having had a co-sponsor hearing on Tuesday, and future drafts of the bill will not have that broad language.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Every kid deserves a safe and comfortable place to sleep, but many parents can't afford to buy their children proper beds.

That's why Slumberland Furniture in Rhinelander is giving away 40 new twin size mattress sets and frames to families who need them. 

It's part of Slumberland's 40 Winks Foundation. Families in need were found through the local housing authority. It's a program Slumberland sees as a big benefit to the community.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - The roads will get busy tonight as tourists return to the Northwoods for Memorial Day Weekend. With more traffic on the roads, state troopers want people to extra careful.

They expect the roads to be the busiest tonight and Monday -when people are driving back home.

+ Read More

MADISON - A new report says Wisconsin's job creation agency has erroneously awarded more than $412,000 in tax credits to companies over how many jobs they created.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the detail came out in a review by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The agency first revealed the tax credit issue at a board meeting last month, but Thursday's report was the first time the size of the problem was detailed.

+ Read More

MADISON - A federal trial to help decide whether Wisconsin Assembly district boundaries Republicans redrew five years discriminate against Democrats is set to wrap up.

A group of voters who support Democrats sued last year alleging new districts Republican lawmakers created in 2011 marginalize Democrats and consolidate GOP power.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here