Stories from William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
Fifty students of the Industrial Art Department of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic in the Upper East Region have attended one week training in papermaking, in their bid to broaden their scope of using available local materials to produce quality artistic works.
Paper mmaking is the process of making paper, a substance which is used universally today for writing and packaging. Commonly used raw materials include the bark or pulp of specific trees such as the pulp-mulberry plants.
In paper making, a dilute suspension of fibers in water is drained through a screen, so that a mat of randomly interwoven fibers is laid down. Water is removed from this mat of fibers by pressing and drying to make paper.
The participants, made up of 38 males and 12 females, were taken through various stages of paper making.
The Head of Department of the Industrial Art Department of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Mr. Christopher Oppong, said that the Department was a young one, and therefore, needed the support to grow.
According to him, industrial art sector was one key sector that could address the unemployment problem in the Upper East, because the region was endowed with a lot of raw materials such as leather and basket straw, which artistes could take advantage of to produce beautiful and attractive products that could be their income activity.
He was not happy that even with the existence of the Bolgatanga Craft Village, most art works were imported from neighbouring Burkina Faso.
He also revealed that in his department, most of the students came from the southern part of the country, where raw materials were hard to come by, as compared with the Upper East Region.
As a result, Mr. Oppong said only traditional indigenous people used art products, while their contemporary counterparts did not patronise them.
As a measure to whip up the interest of the youth and public in art products, Mr. Christopher Oppong said his department would embark on an outreach programme next year.
Prof. Mary Hark, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA Design Studies, African Studies, and Art Department, was the lead resource person.
She said Ghana had a lot of respect on the international stage, in the area of her rich artistic works, and urged students of Industrial Art to take their course very serious.
She proposed the development of a designer incubator, an artist’s workshop space in Ghana, that is focused on using Ghanaian pulp-mulberry fiber and hand papermaking as its primary resource.
This workshop will use artistic activity to promote ongoing partnerships between arts professionals and others.