Nov 13, 2012 9:25 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson veterans transform military uniforms into art

TUCSON- There is a week-long celebration at the University of Arizona to honor our veterans.

The UA's chapter of Student Veterans of America is hosting a series of paper-making workshops, where people can turn retired military uniforms into works of art.

Ricardo Pereyda, the president of SVA is turning the trench coat his grandfather wore in the Korean War, into a journal for his grandmother. "She's going to write down her memories of her and my grandfather, and I think it's going to be really special for me to hand that off," Pereyda says.

It's part of a national movement called the Paper Combat Project. "For us today in this country many of us share in the military experience, so it makes perfect sense to use material that embodies that memory and those experiences," says Paper Combat Project Director Drew Cameron.

Cameron is a vet himself, who started the project in 2007.

Through a process called rag papermaking, the uniforms are cut up and then thrown into a machine called a Hollander beater. The material is then turned into paper.

A single pound of fabric can make up to 30 sheets of paper.

Pereyda, who also served in the Army, will be turning some of his military garb into canvasses. "I'm looking forward to putting some old pictures that I have from Iraq up there and maybe some poetry," Pereyda says.

The process is about taking something old and giving it new meaning. "It's really special for me," Pereyda says.

The workshops are being held at the UA Book Art and Letterpress Lab at 1035 Mabel Street just across from the UA School of Art Graduate Studios.

Tuesday, Nov. 13:12pm-8pm

Wednesday, Nov. 14:12pm-8pm

Thursday, Nov. 15:12pm-8pm

Friday, Nov. 16: 9am-5pm

Some of the finished artworks will be displayed on Nov. 17 in the Kachina Lounge at the Student Union Memorial Center from noon-6 p.m.


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