Jim Meilander

Handmade paper, mixed media

I have an active role in operating Submarine Paperworks, the hand papermaking workshop I share with my wife Joan Rhine on our property in Gualala. I designed and fabricated equipment which is regularly in use at our studio, including molds and deckles, deckle boxes, a hydraulic platen press, a vacuum table, and also I restored a 1966 Voith Valley (Hollander) beater.


Although my main focus is on creating art, making handmade papers to incorporate in my mixed media works is part of my process. I begin by making sketches. Then I create a painting using a palette of pigmented abaca and cotton paper pulps, and paper made from plants growing in Mendocino County. I embed collage elements into the paper and especially welcome the varying neutral shades obtained from the natural color plant fibers. After the paper has dried, I continue to develop my design using acrylics, print media, collage, drawing materials, and encaustic. As I work on the pieces, I allow for spontaneous images to develop.


The range of media I work with includes printmaking, collage, painting, drawing and sculpture, in addition to hand papermaking. My abstract imagery is a playful personal synthesis of real and imaginary images. I am inspired by my natural and man-made physical surroundings, by objects used in work and play, and by pure fantasy.


For the last several years, I limited my palette to values of black and white, now I”m adding back touches of color. I am currently working on a new series of artworks that refer to realistic subject matter, inspired by the forest trees surrounding my studio.


I received my degree in art from Ohio University. I settled in San Francisco, where I established Submarine Paperworks in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard with my wife, Joan Rhine, in 1984. In 2000 we moved to Gualala.


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