I'm Don Widmer and I combine hand papermaking, bookbinding, and printing to create works inspired by storytelling and real and imagined histories. My sculptural artist books include my own writing and incorporate unusual book structures featuring movement and light. I create images within sheets of handmade paper using plant pulp as a painting medium, a technique called Pulp Painting. As a papermaker, I am fascinated by the ability of pulp to represent both living creatures and inanimate objects, which is why I choose to paint birds as well as architectural imagery. I have been a musician and librarian but only recently started my career as an artist after receiving my MFA in book and paper arts from Columbia College Chicago. I have received several Best of Show awards and my work is represented in university, museum, library and private collections.
Widmer has exhibited throughout the Midwest, including Gallery Studio Oh! (Chicago), Art Prize Grand Rapids, the Compassion Factory (Brookfield), Glenview Public Library, Terrain Biennial (Columbia College Chicago), Arts on Elston, Side Street Studio Arts, and Illinois Wesleyan University. His recent awards include 2nd Place (Lakeview East Festival of the Arts), Best in Show (Art on the Fox Fine Art Festival), Best in Medium (Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair), First Place Fine Art (Spring Bloom Fine Arts Festival), Judge's Choice Award (Greenwich Village Art Fair), Second Place Mixed Media (Crosby Festival of the Arts), Best in Show (West End Art Festival La Grange). Widmer has conducted papermaking workshops and demonstrations at the Elmhurst Artists' Guild, Arlington Heights Art Guild, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, and Spudnik Press. His work is represented in several university and library collections nationwide. Raised in Cleveland, Widmer received his MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago in May 2012. Prior to his art career, he was Library Director at VanderCook College of Music from 1996-2009.
Group Shows (Selected List):
My work can be found in the following collections: