Arnold Grummer’s Paper on the River

by Kim Grummer

Can you name three essential items needed to make paper? If you said water, fiber, and a screen, you’re exactly right! A drive through our beautiful communities explains why Wisconsin is the leading producer of paper in the country. We’ve got it all the Fox river (water), managed forests (fiber), and screens (or ‘forming cloth’ in the industry). Three area screen makers are global suppliers. The Fox Valley is essential to paper production in the U.S. and beyond.

It’s no surprise then, that Appleton is home to a small business that’s become the nation’s leading supplier of hand papermaking kits for schools and emerging STEAM educational initiatives. Arnold Grummer’s Papermaking Kits & Supplies started in the basement of Mabel and Arnold Grummer’s home in 1976. Today, School Specialty, Inc. in Greenville is a leading distributor of their hand papermaking kits and supplies.

Kim Grummer, current owner, and her mother Mabel Grummer look for paper art around town, especially in administrative offices and local businesses serving the paper industry. Artworks by Tom Grade, an Appleton papermaker, can be seen at the library and Paper Discovery Center. Few additional artworks can be seen by the public.

“Hand papermakers and the paper industry use the exact same basics to work their magic water, fiber and a screen, just on vastly different scales. I believe most people have never been introduced to handmade paper art, or to artists working in that medium,” said Kim Grummer. 

That’s why Arnold Grummer’s is bringing their handmade paper art festival to Appleton. The event, formerly known as Arnold Grummer’s Paperfest, outgrew the venue at Town Center in Green Lake after three years. Arnold Grummer’s Paper on the River makes the move to the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton this fall, appropriately located in the former Atlas Mill.

Kathryn and Howard Clark from Twinrocker Handmade Paper will be keynote speakers at Paper on the River’s artist reception October 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Community members can meet the Clarks, the artists, view the art, and witness awards given to three winning pieces in the exhibit. The reception is free and open to the public with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages. The exhibit remains open through October 30 during usual hours with admittance fee at the Paper Discovery Center.

“We are very excited to host Paper on the River at the PDC,” says Carol Couillard, executive director at the Paper Discovery Center. “The exhibit will be a great addition to our newly expanded Purdy-Weissenborn Paper Lab and exciting line-up of STEAM programming. We’ll take this opportunity to introduce papermaking workshops and classes for the community.”

Kim and Mabel Grummer are very excited to bring the event to Appleton. “It’s amazing to see what artists create with paper they make themselves,” said Kim Grummer. “We hope lots of people and families will come to the Paper Discovery Center and see the art on display for Arnold Grummer’s Paper on the River exhibit during October. We might just inspire some new papermakers for art or the industry!”

Arnold Grummer’s Paper on the River is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts and underwritten by Mabel Grummer and Arnold Grummer’s, LLC.