The History of Paper - Fabriano

The entire project I called “My sketched travel” deserves a decent introduction. Dear museum goers, here I will say something about the history of paper, through the Museum of Paper in Fabriano, Italy.

Many of you showed some interest in my Lost Castles Tour post series, and it was quite easy to notice something new in my museum writing. While photography remains important for my work, I introduced sketching/drawing as a new and exciting element of my museum and travel stories.

The Fabriano Paper

Have you ever heard about the Fabriano paper?

It is one of the world’s leading brands of printing papers, originating from the Italian city of Fabriano, in the Marche region. The city of Fabriano has indeed a pretty long tradition of paper making.

On the left: this is exactly what it seems to be – a basket full of bleached clothes. They will serve for paper manufacturing.
On the right: The process – my colleague trying to produce her own paper, assisted by a museum worker

As the photos suggest, in this museum you can easily learn about the history of paper. The visit starts with the understanding of the very origins of paper as a material.

Fabriano paper making
These are not clothes anymore!

It’s quite important to notice that the first paper was never regular or smooth looking. Each piece of paper had its natural shape. Nevertheless, paper was always a precious and expensive material.

For the love for paper

Nowadays, waste has become a huge issue. Paper is no exception. For becoming affordable and commonly used, we consume a lot of paper which we consequently waste.

The great artist Josef Albers, who worked as a teacher at the Bauhaus school, once brought his students a bunch of old newspapers. Therefore, he ordered them to make something creative out of it. He wanted his students to learn how to use the materials they have on their disposal.

Fabriano Museum of Paper
This rough paper comes from – a box of cookies.

See also: Sustainability in museums

First of all, I decided to rethink the packages and draw this gorgeous inner courtyard of the Paper Museum in Fabriano inside a cookies package. A very personal drawing style I introduced focuses on the beautiful visiting experience in this museum.

By looking deeper into the drawing, you might notice I highlighted only some of the architectural elements. While the whole courtyard gives you an entirely different idea about the building, this particular view shines with this water pond.

Medieval Branding

There is something unique about our human existence, and it’s the passion for brands. As a result, we value goods and experiences that carry a sign or a name, or a logo.

How did the watermark actually show up on the paper?

They basically invented the watermark in Fabriano. Aside from serving to show to the world that a piece of paper was created in that city, the watermark can also promote the one who ordered the paper. Therefore, many wealthy families, craftsmen, institutions, and so on had their own watermarks.

Inside the museum, you can see a variety of different watermarks. Similarly, they made clear the whole process of applying watermarks. The paper making mould contains wires inside, so that the water goes down leaving only the solid material to be easily taken down from the mould.

In order to create a stamp, papermakers apply a particular shape to the wires in the moulds. As a result, every piece of paper produced in that mould gets a subtle signage on it. That signage is what we call watermark (filigrana in Italian).

Fabriano Museo della Carta e della Filigrana
Answers to all the questions about the paper you ever had are in this building.

Where is Fabriano?

In the central Italy, not far from Ancona, Pesaro, Rimini, San Marino. Some other cities such as Pescara and Bologna are also not far from there. It is in the Marche region.

“Is there any paper missing?”

In my country, Croatia, there is common expression about the bureaucracy. We like to say that according to them, there is always “one paper missing”. It means that they will likely find one document you don’t have but they require it from you. In that case paper=document.

Certainly, no paper is missing in my cabinet. I collect papers and draw on them. Stay tuned on my new exciting sketched travels.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.