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The Finest Paper in North America

A nice story at the NY Times on N. America’s most highly regarded paper maker, Timothy Barrett. His paper, which he harvests from Japanese kozo trees in Iowa, is used for some of the most valuable archival projects, from Mozart scores to the U.S. Constitution.

Beyond being a nice reminder of the artisanal nature of paper-making, it is also a timely reminder of paper as “platform” — literally as something that supports material objects of great value through time. There is as much artistry to that act of preservation as there is to the work of migrating and emulating digital files.

“People are always surprised when they see it for the first time,” he told me afterward. “It’s as though it comes out of nowhere.”