Combat Paper Project Uses Uniforms, Art to Open Discussion with Veterans

Colleen Locke | October 25, 2013
The Combat Paper Project's Nathan Lewis works with a UMass Boston student to turn military uniforms into art.

The Combat Paper Project's Nathan Lewis works with a UMass Boston student to turn military uniforms into art.
Image by: Harry Brett

Works Made at UMass Boston This Week to Be Featured at Made in Fort Point Gallery Saturday

The stack of military uniforms that has been on a table in the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center since Tuesday is shrinking, and the artwork strung in the Campus Center Terrace is growing. As the week has gone on, those uniforms have been transformed, first into paper and then into artwork that UMass Boston students have created.

The idea of the San Francisco-based Combat Paper Project, brought to campus by the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences through a grant from UMass President Robert Caret’s Creative Economy Fund, is to open up discussions about war among veterans and civilians.

“First and foremost, I’m really fascinated with the craft of hand papermaking, and the other thing is it seems a really appropriate way to respond to excessive intergenerational military experience in this country,” said Drew Cameron, director of the Combat Paper Project.

On Saturday, October 26 from 1 to 7 p.m., the work created during this week’s papermaking workshops at UMass Boston and Boston Paper Collective will be on display at the Made in Fort Point Gallery, located at 30 Channel Center Street in Boston. There will also be a reading with Cameron, Nathan Lewis, former Joiner Institute Director Kevin Bowen, and other veteran writers from 4:30 to 5:30.

Watch the video to see the papermaking process from start to finish.

About UMass Boston
Recognized for its innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s ten colleges and graduate schools serve 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: art , combat paper project , joiner institute , veterans

Comment on this story

Comments (1)

Posted by Ann Dumas | October 28, 2013 - 10:05 p.m.

What a wonderful project! Transformation of the material sign of service, the uniform, into a creative expression of the service experience by veterans, into art for the community. “Liberate the rag,” he said—may the healing continue!
Thanks to everyone who contributed.