Showcasing papercraft in a digital world

We’ve recently crossed the snowy threshold of a new year. 2019 is still much like a fresh piece of brilliant white paper — not yet crumpled and basically free of coffee stains. We’re still enjoying that blank-slate vibe that comes with every new beginning. And I can thankfully report that 2019 dawned looking nothing like the 2019 of Ridley Scott’s "Blade Runner." Elon Musk and his posse may be chomping at the bit for such a hi-tech world but, personally, I’m not ready for flying cars, humanoid replicants or a paperless world — are you?

A virtually paperless society would bum me out. A self-proclaimed paper ephemera pack rat, I love all things paper except parking tickets, jury duty summons or mail addressed to Mr. Alex Dailey. My desk at home is a veritable paper collage work of art in its own right, complete with postcards, letters, notes, movie tickets, magazine scraps, doodles and the like — it’s paper ephemera central. I save paper treasures like it’s my job. But as we all get further and further immersed in the digital world around us, there seems to be less and less paper floating around and being used.

So many societies in futuristic films seem to have outgrown the use of paper, relying instead on holograms, digital devices and information implants. "Blade Runner," which may be occurring in a parallel universe right now, has a real absence of paper, unless you count the trash blowing around in the derelict streets or the origami creations Edward James Olmos’ Gaff taunts Harrison Ford’s Deckard with.

In our 2019, we aren’t using holograms, but numerous areas within society are attempting to match those futuristic models and go paperless. Many schools are now using tablets and laptops for printing and writing instead of lined paper. and just about every piece of mail I receive prompts me to go paperless. While paperless options are better for the environment and desk clutter, the art world has a different mindset regarding paper. At Crooked Tree Arts Center we currently have an exhibition completely devoted to paper and papercraft. What can I say, we heart paper.

“Fresh Cuts: The Art of Papercraft” features original works by artists from across the United States; intricate papercuts, colorful collages, book arts and contemplative paper sculptures fill the Carnegie and Cornwell galleries, demonstrating both traditional and innovative uses of paper as an artistic medium. This exhibition’s 50 pieces were created by over two dozen artists, six of whom are Michigan residents.

With each passing year, our technological advancements bring us closer and closer to the digital and almost paperless society of Blade Runner. We’re just a few years behind schedule, and thankfully still clinging to paper in some areas. Feb. 16 is the final day to view “Fresh Cuts” at CTAC; I hope you don’t miss this soon-to-be-vanishing experience of papercraft.

Alex Dailey is the Public Relations Specialist at Crooked Tree Arts Center-Petoskey. She can be reached at alex@crookedtree.org. For more information about CTAC please visit www.crookedtree.org.