Cabbagehead Press ~ Arizona
(John Risseeuw)

Cabbagehead Press: “Over four decades, John’s art has often touched on political and social themes, including political corruption, equal rights, environmental abuse, fascism, illegal wars, arms proliferation, and sheer idiocy. Recent prints on handmade paper about landmines and the detritus of war are generating fundraising for agencies that assist mine victims and work for mine clearance.”

Landmine Print Project
Artists books by Cabbagehead Press

By John Risseeuw.
Tempe, Arizona: Cabbagehead Press, 1996. Edition of 150.

8 x 10" closed (folded); 8 x 20" single sheet extended. Handmade paper from shredded paper currency with rag pulp including clothing from the victims named. Handset types used include Stymie, Clarendon, Baskerville, and Neuland. Metal relief engravings and woodcuts created for the images and printed by John Risseeuw at his Cabbagehead Press in Tempe, Arizona. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Risseeuw created a piece about the world arms trade, printed on paper made from clothing of victims of armed conflict and recycled currency from the top 10 arms-exporting nations.

John Risseeuw, Content-Specific Handmade Paper in Prints and Artist Books: "I started with an appropriate quote about arms sales, then printed a list of the top ten arms exporting nations between 1990 and 1994. The U.S. was (and is to this day), to my regret, the top exporter by far. I began a list of arms sold as well as some woodcut and engraved images. Inside the piece, the facts continue about the value of arms sold, the list of arms, and more quotes and images. Included within the page are stories of victims of armed conflict, from South Africa, Iraq, and elsewhere. Finally, at the bottom, the colophon tells you that the paper you are holding was made from the paper currency of the top ten arms exporting nations (U.S., Russia, Germany, UK, France, China, The Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic, and Switzerland) mixed with clothing from the victims of armed conflict named above. For example, a papermaker friend in South Africa knew a woman whose sister had been murdered by the Security Police in 1985. She sent me a cotton skirt once belonging to her sister and it was pulped for this paper. A colleague at my university in the mathematics department is an Iraqi Kurd, who was chased out of northern Iraq with the other people of his family and village when the Iraqi army began shelling it. The paper contains clothing from people killed in that action sent from relatives who are still in exile in southern Turkey.

"Repeatedly, I have found that the impact of this piece is increased when people read about, or are told, the content of the paper. Some, in shock, have dropped it, unable to bear the weight of the connection linking arms, money, and death. It is so simple, making the paper from these materials, yet the piece becomes a conceptual whole that is much more powerful. It has a wholeness like that of the farm keepsake - a satisfying unity and rightness - making the art into an object for deeper and further consideration, rather than merely a representation of an idea. The paper is not merely a substrate holding representative marks; it becomes something greater. A friend calls this Symbolic Paper, but I think it may be more than that."

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The Paper Landmine Print Project

John Risseeuw: "These prints are the result [of] an ongoing project that began as a sabbatical research project in 2001-2002. The subject is landmines and landmine victims. The UN estimates that 100 million mines, or more, may be deployed in 62 nations. That’s one mine in the ground for every 50 humans on earth. Every 15 minutes, somebody steps on a landmine. These 'hidden killers' pose a constant threat to the safety of local populations long after the guns of war have been silenced.

"The project involves making handmade paper and printing landmine images, facts, and stories of survivors and victims on it. In hand papermaking, we can make paper from used cotton, linen, or silk clothing – rags – as well as plant fibers and other sources of cellulose. I have collected articles of clothing from landmine victims (this means only a representative piece of clothing – something the person wears or wore – not from the accident itself), fibrous plants from mine locations, and the currencies of nations that make or have made landmines. All of this is pulped and made into the paper for my art."


La Explosión
By John Risseeuw
Tempe, Arizona: Cabbagehead Press, 2003. Edition of 35.

14" x 11", irregular, single sheet. Woodcut, letterpress, polymer relief, and hand coloring on pulp painted variable handmade paper.

John Risseeuw: "Through a victim assistance agency, Nicaraguan landmine victim Agustín Matey Ramos sent me a red t-shirt along with his story of injury. His shirt was beaten and pulp-painted onto the base paper, made from burlap coffee sacks from the region (he was injured while working on a coffee plantation) and shredded Nicaraguan, Soviet, and American currency. Imagery includes coffee plant diagrams and ghostly landmines of American and Soviet manufacture, those used during the Contra War of the 1980s."


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Map 'N Facts
By John Risseeuw
Tempe, Arizona: Cabbagehead Press, 2002. Edition of 24.

15.75" x 14", irregular, single sheet. Woodcut, linoleum cut, polymer relief, and handset letterpress on handmade paper.

John Risseeuw: "This print features a map of Cambodia and some of the numerous facts about the mines and victims that I collected. The OK! is in reference to the fact that Cambodia is about the same size as Oklahoma. What would we do if 60 Oklahomans a month were encountering landmine accidents?"


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By John Risseeuw
Tempe, Arizona: Cabbagehead Press, 2002. Edition of 25.

16.25" x 13.5", single sheet. Woodcut, letterpress, and polymer relief on handmade paper.

John Risseeuw: "The story of Maes Pow explains the twin danger to landmines: unexploded ordnance (UXO). Cambodia is usually considered to be the second-most mined country on the planet, after Afghanistan, and there may be as much UXO as there are mines. Although the UXO that Maes Pow encountered was left behind by the Khmer Rouge, most UXO in Cambodia is the result of American bombing during the Vietnam War."


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Other available prints can be found at

Page last update: 12.19.13


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