Homefront Help: Combat Paper Project

August 4, 2011
By Rita Boland

Veterans, activists and artists come together through this organization that provides a cathartic outlet for those who have served in the U.S. military. Through art-making workshops, veterans can share their personal wartime experiences as well as expand on the traditional stories surrounding military service and culture. In the papermaking workshops, they transform their uniforms into works of art. The purpose is for veterans to reclaim these clothes and to embrace their military experiences. Many of the pieces touch on the harsh, brutal reality of combat and the toll it can take on those who live it.

The typical Combat Paper Project workshop lasts five days, during which participants learn how to turn their uniforms into paper pulp and use it creatively. Other paper-based art forms also are addressed. Not all attendees are visual artists; some are writers who come for their own reasons. Veterans who want to spend more time with the program to work on specific projects or to hone skills can try to arrange for unpaid residencies with paper artists.

Exhibits of the group's artwork have been featured by various military, academic and cultural organizations. Though the Combat Paper Project is based in U.S. art studios, shows have traveled to Canada and the United Kingdom with upcoming demonstrations, exhibits and workshops scheduled in Australia and Eastern Europe.

Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information. If you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please submit that information to Rita Boland, SIGNAL's news editor.

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