HARK! Handmade Paper Studio, Ghana
Local Hero Mary Hark has helped give young Ghanaian’s living in Kumasi the opportunity and skills to support themselves by making hand-made paper. What’s more is Mary also found a way to turn something harmful -a non-indigenous, invasive plant that has been damaging farms- into something beneficial…a paper source that protects the environment and benefits the local community without sacrificing the native trees.
Mary is a Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as well as an independent curator of textile and paper art exhibitions and proprietor of HARK! a handmade paper studio which specializes in small editions of high quality flax and linen papers. In 2006, the educator and artist was awarded a Fullbright Senior Research Grant to work and study in Ghana. While there, she started to share her love of papermaking with others in Kumasi and became a founding member of the Kumasi Center for Books and Paper Arts, a grassroots organization focused on the development of high-quality paper made materials native to Ghana.
Because of Mary’s efforts to develop the skills and abilities of Ghanaian youth to create paper using local materials, we awarded her a 2010 GO Innovation Award. Not only did she help the youth increase their knowledge but also provided them with vocational training, which means they can earn an income to support themselves and their families. Read more about Mary and her work with GO below.