A year ago, the papermaking workshop was a big deal for the students of University of Texas at Austin.
But it hasn’t been as big of a deal as it should be.
For starters, the program has only offered a handful of workshops in its 15-year history.
The number of classes has decreased from roughly 400 a year to a few hundred a year.
And the cost of the program is still significantly higher than it was a decade ago.
“I was looking at $5,000 to $10,000 and I’m thinking, this isn’t worth it,” says the program’s principal, Katerina Kravitz.
Kravitch has had to hire a new head, an assistant principal and a few new teachers over the past five years, but she is confident the program will continue to grow.
The new school year began July 2.
Klimitz and her husband, Alex, will be working with other students to create new workshops.
They’re trying to find a balance between making money while still teaching.
They’ll be starting a new papermaking studio in 2018 and a new business called Paper &Print.
The business, which will produce printed paper products, has been in the works for about five years.
In 2016, they sold the business to a local business owner, and Kravitti and Klimitti’s husband started the business.
They also plan to open a studio in Austin’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in 2018.
It will be a small studio that sells papermaking products, as well as the company’s business cards.
Klevitti says that with the advent of digital printing, the business will have a large number of customers.
“The printing business is one of the largest businesses in Texas and it’s a great business to be in,” she says.
Krivitch is not the only person who has a vision for papermaking.
In 2017, the Austin Community Papermaking Guild formed to develop a plan to create a papermaking industry in Austin.
The group hopes to hire about 20 people to work on the guild’s business plan and its website.
In the meantime, the new school and studio will be just a stepping stone to the real business.
Kovaits hopes to become the next leader of the paper making industry in Texas.
She wants to see more classes and a stronger papermaking program.
But Klevitz isn’t sure if the program can take the next steps needed to become a viable business.
“It’s just so far off,” Kovaitts says.
“We need to get people back in the business.”
Kravits is hoping to find some volunteers to help her get things rolling.
She’s also hoping to expand the program beyond papermaking to include other types of craft.
“Papermaking is a craft that is very important in the culture in Austin,” Klevits says.
She hopes to see people of all ages participate in the program and learn about what papermaking is all about.
Kovitz says she’s happy with the program as it stands now.
“There’s no reason why we can’t do this to a bigger level,” she said.
“Our vision is that we’ll see a resurgence of papermaking in Austin and we’re going to be able to create the paper we want to make, just as the people we want.
We just need to work together.”