After an extensive national search, Michael Fallon of Minneapolis, Minnesota has been selected as the new executive director of Hand Papermaking, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and advancing traditional and contemporary ideas and practices in the art of hand papermaking. The organization was founded in 1986 by Amanda Degener and Michael Durgin and since 1995 has been under the leadership of Tom Bannister who recently announced his retirement.
“We are excited that Michael Fallon will be leading our organization as our new executive director,” said board chair Susan Mackin Dolan, who headed up the search committee. “With more than 10 years in nonprofit-management experience and an extensive background in arts, writing, and publishing, Michael is uniquely qualified to take over the leadership at this moment in our organization’s 30-plus-year history.”
Artist books, handmade paper, and the stories contained therein have been the through-line to Michael Fallon’s career. After graduating college with degrees in literature and art, Fallon studied with Buzz Spector and eventually earned an MFA degree in book arts at the University of Alabama, studying letterpress printing and papermaking with Steve Miller and publishing a rare edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s work. In 1998 Fallon moved to Minnesota, where he served as an artist in residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and befriended renowned book and paper artists Amanda Degener, Bridget O’Malley, Mary Hark, Chip Schilling, Jana Pullman, and many others. Growing interested in writing about art and craft, after publishing his first article in—of all places—Hand Papermaking magazine, Fallon eventually wrote for local and national publications such as Public Art Review, Art in America, and American Craft. In 2005 Fallon went back to school to earn a degree in nonprofit arts management. After more than ten years now of managing arts and educational nonprofits, Fallon has developed strong supervisory, financial, strategic leadership, marketing, and fundraising skills that he will put to use in sustaining Hand Papermaking, Inc. through the next 30 years of its existence.
“What most excites me about coming to work for Hand Papermaking,” Fallon said recently, “is it feels like I’m making a full-circle trip back to my roots—as book artist, papermaker, arts writer, and publisher. I am eager to use the skills and experiences I have picked up along the way in nonprofit management and community organizing to give something back to the organization that played a key role in the early development of my career.”
For over 30 years, Hand Papermaking, Inc. has explored and chronicled the art of making paper by hand—through its biannual magazine, quarterly newsletter, limited-edition portfolios, and online platforms—featuring traditional and modern practices worldwide, curating and presenting the best of the field, inspiring the ongoing revival of the craft, and facilitating the emergence of handmade paper as a vibrant contemporary art medium.