Noting the success of the process, farmers have begun raising and harvesting Paper Mulberry. By selling the raw materials they are able to gain an income and the paper studio is able to sell its products to other countries within Africa that have for so long relied on European imports. For instance, The Artists’ Press in Johannesburg could be a potentially large client. It is largely responsible for developing the culture of printmaking in Africa and relies on fine art papers as a base for its operations.
With acres of raw material ready to be transformed into handmade papers, the next step will be for Hark and her team to develop an economic plan for the project. It has the potential to attract ecotourism, spark international exchanges, provide numerous jobs for the local population and make use of a long overlooked plant species. Hark has already initiated a number of youth workshops. With the establishment of Take Time Press, Hark, Atta Kwami and Pamela Clarkson have produced the book Listen, Listen that can be found in the library collections of the Metropolitan Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Smithsonian among others.
Images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat