The Papermill holds an annual exhibition to share art work with the Whangārei public but this year's event is extra special as it also celebrates 30 years of papermaking.

The 2019 exhibition of handmade paper works by people who have intellectual disability and unique abilities is called Vibrant Journeys, and is themed on the Tree of Life.

It will also showcase the entry called Tree of Life which took second place in the open wearable arts section in last week's Northland Bernina Fashion Awards. All the papermakers played a part in creating the costume.

Vibrant Journeys opened in the Quest Art Space, 58 Bank St, on Saturday.

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For the show, each papermaker created a unique design on a 120mm diameter circle, depicting what is important to them. Using certain attributes of a mandala such as the circle, symbols and patterns, they have translated their ideas from written form to pictures. In some cases words tell about their life's journey and networks.

Papermaker Julia Plant modelled the Papermill's Tree of Life entry in the matinee session of the Northland Bernina Fashion Awards. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Papermaker Julia Plant modelled the Papermill's Tree of Life entry in the matinee session of the Northland Bernina Fashion Awards. Photo / Michael Cunningham

As for further celebration of the 30 years the Papermill has been a successful and valued part of the community, all those who have been involved in at some time - as volunteer, papermaker, staff member or trustee - are invited to the Papermill on Friday October 25 for a special morning tea.

The Blue Goose Papermill Charitable Trust was established in 1989 by Rhonda Rutherford-Dunn, to offer a safe, vibrant, creative learning environment.

Paper art has always been the special focus at the Papermill, where techniques and textures are explored and experimented with.

First housed at the council-owned Blue Goose facility on Whangarei's main route south, the Papermill is now more centrally located in Kamo Rd, Kensington. The facilities are available to the public as an educational and tourist attraction, and include a shop selling interesting handmade art and paper products.

The Vibrant Journeys exhibition will run until October 11, with papermakers on-site daily from 10am to 2pm. As usual, visitors will be encouraged to have a go at creating their own paper-art.