Mary Hark, founder of HARK! Handmade Paper Studio, has devised a constructive means to lend a helping hand to the poverty-stricken region of Ghana with a unique paper-making venture.
Utilizing the ingenious bicycle-powered Oracle Beator created by Lee MacDonald, Hark and her team of students and faculty from the Kumasi Center for Book and Paper Arts, Kwame Nikrumah University of Science and Technology and the Ghanian artists' collective have begun crafting handmade paper from invasive plants in the region. Not only is their method of manufacturing eco-friendly, it is also an excellent way to keep up with production in the face of Ghana's frequent power outages.
Mary Hark and her team began researching the indigenous organic fibers of the region and settled that the difficult Mulberry plant contained the same kozo fiber commonly employed in traditional Japanese paper-making. HARK! Handmade Paper Studio has also made use of discarded pieces of textiles from Ghana's booming textile industry and incorporated fibers from several local plants to achieve a variety of textures and colors.
Durable and captivating to behold, the paper crafted by HARK! Paper Making Studio is spurring social and economic change in Ghana one beautiful sheet at a time.