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This veteran & community art project begins with making handmade paper from military uniforms and creates a space for  understanding.
This veteran & community art project begins with making handmade paper from military uniforms and creates a space for  understanding.
This veteran & community art project begins with making handmade paper from military uniforms and creates a space for understanding.
61 backers pledged $10,098 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Breaking Rag: N.C. Military, Veteran & Community Art

$10,098

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About Breaking Rag: 

Breaking Rag is a veteran, family, and community art project, facilitated by veteran/artist Trish Brownlee, serving Fort Bragg and surrounding Cumberland, Moore, and Hoke counties. "Breaking Rag" is a term in papermaking, referring to the physical process of breaking fibers into pulp, from which the paper is made. Breaking Rag offers public demos and workshops to veterans, their families, and the community, specializing in creating paper and artwork from worn military uniforms. The goal of these workshops is to assist veteran and their families in creating their own artwork that communicates their military experience. Through art, we are able to break through assumptions and stereotypes and find real connection, bridging the gap between the military and civilian communities.

Visit: www.breakingrag.works to learn more and stay updated.

Creating paper from uniforms
Creating paper from uniforms

Why Is Breaking Rag Needed? 

Collaborative art-making offers a space for understanding and honest connection between veterans and their communities. Art is an access point for exploring and sharing one's experiences. Breaking Rag offers public demos and workshops to veterans, their families, and the community. Through the transformational process of creating handmade paper from worn military uniforms, the workshops create a safe space for creating, conversation and storytelling through artistic expression. Every veteran has a story. In order for us to truly have an understanding of our country's history & future, stories of our military must be heard. War lingers, follows and haunts the families and communities of those who fight them. Art is capable of reaching across divides and creating understanding. Veterans, families and civilians are invited to create alongside one another in the Breaking Rag Art Project. Breaking Rag is modeled after the existing "Combat Paper" workshops, with the goal of creating on-going access to community art workshops in my area, which surrounds Fort Bragg, NC. My community is home to one of the largest active/veteran military populations in America. I believe these workshops are needed everywhere and I am honored to have found a calling and become a piece of this great work.

Trish Brownlee pulling a sheet of handmade paper, pulped from military uniforms
Trish Brownlee pulling a sheet of handmade paper, pulped from military uniforms

Kickstarter Funds & Budget: 

Before I can begin the Breaking Rag project, I need equipment to create a portable papermaking art studio. The equipment costs are the most expensive part of launching this community-based project. Funds received from the Breaking Rag Kickstarter Campaign will be used to purchase equipment and supplies and to pay off any loans which were used to purchase any of the existing equipment. Funds will support workshops through 2016, and cover the costs of Kickstarter rewards and fees.

Equipment & Supplies: 

A Portable Hollander Beater by Lee McDonald (cost $4848.00), the most essential piece of equipment for successful workshops. This equipment is portable, allowing me to take these workshops to the veterans and organizations who need them.

A portable Hollander Beater from Lee McDonald
A portable Hollander Beater from Lee McDonald

This budget also includes an upright inkjet printer (with ink) that allows veterans to put their own images directly onto the handmade paper, which will be a unique part of the Breaking Rag workshops. I've perfected this process demonstrated in the work below:  

Veteran artwork on handmade paper
Veteran artwork on handmade paper

Additional Supplies include: moulds/deckle sets, deckle boxes, drying and pressing equipment, vats, strainers, felts, pulp pigment, and other papermaking supplies and equipment. This budget also includes paints and other art media/tools that will be used by participants for creating artworks on the handmade paper.

Funds will also cover the costs of 4 workshops in 2016. This includes one workshop on March 12th for military spouse at Cape Fear Regional Theater, which will accompany a play focused on the military spouse perspective. Learn More Here

The other workshops will be at an established veteran outpatient treatment facility in Moore county with recreational therapist and program coordinator Kelly Frye. Kelly wrote the following testimonial about the impact of the Breaking Rag workshops with her patients: 

A testimonial about Breaking Rag from recreational therapist Kelly Frye
A testimonial about Breaking Rag from recreational therapist Kelly Frye

Funds raised beyond the goal with be used for publicity and marketing, operating more workshops and program expansion.

Events & Timeline:

March 1, 2016 - Launch Kickstarter, 45 days

March 3, 2016, 6:45pm - Artist talk at Cape Fear Regional Theater. Learn More

March 3-20, 2016 - Handmade paper art installation at Cape Fear Regional Theater to accompany world premier of Downrange: Voice From the Homefront. See Details

March 12, 2016, 10am-7pm - Breaking Rag workshop with military spouses and community at Cape Fear Regional Theater. Info

March 19, 2016, 12pm-3pm - Public demonstration of Breaking Rag at Weymouth Woods : "Party for the Pine" 1024 Fort Bragg Rd Southern Pines, NC - Info

April 14, 2016 - Kickstart ends. Upon receiving funds from successful kickstarter, purchase/pay off equipment. Promote and schedule workshops.

Getting Personal: 

Breaking Rag is modeled after my experiences with Combat Paper Project, Combat Paper NJ, Warrior Writers, and other veterans, writers and artists who have inspired and supported me. I first experienced the Combat Paper workshops myself as a participant,  creating art from my own military uniforms. Through these workshops, I began to process my own military service and am now able to use my experience to help others. I am also the spouse of a Soldier who struggles with the post-traumatic stress of multiple combat deployments. His struggle was the inspiration for the artwork and research that led to the launch of Breaking Rag. I believe that art allows for testimony and gives veterans a way to share the burdens of war with the country who asks them to fight in a safe space.

Many other veterans who go through these workshops have similar outcomes and are able to find purpose and healing. These workshops begin as an individual experience and become something bigger - they connect the military and civilian communities, breaking through stigma and assumptions to create understanding. 

My husband and I creating paper at a workshop similar to Breaking Rag
My husband and I creating paper at a workshop similar to Breaking Rag

Inspiration & History:

I did not create this process, nor am I am the first - or hopefully last - to create new workshops modeled after the work of existing COMBAT PAPER artists. After learning the process of creating paper from military uniforms from my mentor, Drew Cameron of Combat Paper, I continued seeking out, meeting, and interviewing members of Warrior Writers, Combat Paper NJ, Melissa Walker (Art Therapist) and other affiliated veteran-artists. I used this experienced, along with research in PTSD, art therapy and trauma theory, to create my new body of artwork and write my MFA thesis: Deconstructing the Divide: Art as a Voice for Military Experience. I also attended an independent papermaking residency the Penland School of Craft to increase my knowledge and skills of the process. After complete my MFA and with the blessing of my mentors, I am now launching Breaking Rag in 2016.

See what workshops like Warrior Writers and Combat Paper (which Breaking Rag is modeled after) are doing for veterans and communities in the Northeast/MD/Washington DC: 

 Rewards

To thank you for generosity and support of Breaking Rag, I am creating art specifically for you and will mail your reward to you when complete. All supports will receive a supporter mention on website/marketing in addition to the rewards below.

$10: Handmade paper bookmark, just for this kickstarter.

$10 Reward - Bookmark created from handmade paper
$10 Reward - Bookmark created from handmade paper

$35: "Make Art, Not War." Breaking Rag t-shirt, letting others know you supported the launch of this project.

$35 Reward - T-Shirt
$35 Reward - T-Shirt

$50: A sheet of 8"x10" handmade paper, created by me for you, just for this kickstarter & a "Make Art, Not War." Breaking Rag t-shirt, letting others know you supported the launch of this project.

$50 Reward - 8"x10" handmade paper & T-Shirt
$50 Reward - 8"x10" handmade paper & T-Shirt

$100 - A 5"x7" handmade paper sketchbook/journal, created just for you by me. Limited edition created just for this Kickstarter. + T-shirt           Note: Image is a sample. Cover, binding and material may vary.

$100 Reward - Sketchbook with handmade paper
$100 Reward - Sketchbook with handmade paper

$500 - An 11"x17" print from my Shadowbox Series on handmade paper OR an abstract monoprint on handmade paper + T-shirt. (Limited edition original artwork by Trish Brownlee)

$500 - A print from my ShadowBox Series on handmade paper
$500 - A print from my ShadowBox Series on handmade paper
$500 option #2) Original abstract work on handmade paper (sample)
$500 option #2) Original abstract work on handmade paper (sample)

$1000 - A private one-day papermaking workshop for you and your guests (Must be within a 2-hour radius of Raeford NC or York PA - summer only for PA) OR you may donate this workshop to a local group instead. You will create paper from your own clothing! Workshops will be arranged within 2016. This can be presented as needed to meet the needs of the backer; such as a veteran or support group, an educational workshop, a team-building experience, or for fun in the style of Wine & Papermaking Party, making paper from baby clothes for a mom's group and more. Papermaking is a powerful experience. Arrangements and timeframe for reward is subject to the schedule of artist. 

$1000 - A 1-day papermaking workshop
$1000 - A 1-day papermaking workshop

Risks and challenges

Due my experience, skills and the fact that I am working within an existing workshop model, this project is low-risk.

The main challenge for this project is the start-up cost. The supplies and equipment for launching a papermaking studio are expensive. I've purchased much of the equipment already, through a loan. This project could function without this Kickstarter - but it will be far more successful, will quickly be operational and have a wider outreach with the help of this campaign. Successful funding of this Kickstarter project will allow Breaking Rag to operate debt-free, and pay workshop facilitation fees through 2016.

Another challenge I will face is getting the word out to veterans and organizations in my area that Breaking Rag is operational and available. I will overcome these challenges by marketing, making connections with other groups and businesses, and reaching out to organizations who may be interested in the Breaking Rag workshops. I have already scheduled several workshops and have connected with health professionals who are ready to bring Breaking Rag workshops into their existing programs. I am also operating using the existing Combat Paper Project and Warrior Writers workshop models, which are already successful. I feel I will be able to overcome any challenges I face because I'm committed and passionate about providing Breaking Rag workshops to veterans, their families and my community.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A handmade paper bookmark created from military uniforms just for you be me (Limited edition created just for this Kickstarter) Plus supporter mention on website/marketing.

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    5 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    A "MAKE ART, NOT WAR" t-shirt designed by me with the "Breaking Rag" logo. (Limited edition run of t-shirts created just for this Kickstarter, letting others know you helped make Breaking Rag a reality)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 19 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An 8"x10" sheet of handmade paper created just for you by me. (Limited edition created just for this Kickstarter) with A "MAKE ART, NOT WAR" t-shirt designed by me with the "Breaking Rag" logo. (Limited edition run of t-shirts created just for this Kickstarter, letting others know you helped make Breaking Rag a reality)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A 5"x7" handmade paper sketchbook/journal, created just for you by me. (Limited edition created just for this Kickstarter) and a T-Shirt.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    An 11"x17" print from my Shadowbox Series on handmade paper OR an abstract work. (Limited edition print on handmade paper) and a T-Shirt. Plus supporter mention on website/marketing.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    A private one-day papermaking workshop for you and your guests (Must be within a 2-hour radius of Raeford NC or York PA -summer only for PA) OR you may donate this workshop to a local group instead. You will create paper from your own clothing! Workshops will be arranged within 2016. This can be presented as needed to meet the needs of the backer; such as a veteran or support group, an educational workshop, a team-building experience, or for fun in the style of Wine & Papermaking Party, making paper from baby clothes for a mom's group and more. Papermaking is a powerful experience.

    Arrangements and timeframe for reward is subject to the schedule of artist.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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Funding period

- (45 days)