Artist Mana Hewitt’s “Orange Blossom”

Artist Mana Hewitt’s “Orange Blossom” is among the works featured in “Paper Alchemy,” curated by James Thurman, showing Oct. 7 through Nov. 9 in Reavley Gallery in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House. An exhibition reception is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the exhibition “Paper Alchemy,” curated by James Thurman, Oct. 7 through Nov. 9,in Reavley Gallery in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

“Paper Alchemy” features more than 40 new artworks created specifically for this exhibition by 38 different artists from five countries – Italy, Kuwait, Scotland, Turkey and the United States.  All artworks include a piece of Thurmanite, an innovative environmentally conscious material created by Thurman and used in his own artworks for nearly 20 years. It is made of layers of recycled paper bonded with a plant-based eco-resin. The exhibition includes wearable jewelry, small sculptures and wall-mounted artworks.

“We are excited to host ‘Paper Alchemy’ at the Cole Art Center and showcase a group of artists using Thurman’s material in creative, refreshing ways,” said Erik Ordaz, exhibition coordinator for Cole Art Center. “We are thankful James is sharing his passion with our community. I am sure this will jump start great discussions and generate ideas for our art students.”

An exhibition reception is planned from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Cole Art Center.

Thurman is associate professor of metalsmithing and jewelry at the University of North Texas’ College of Visual Arts and Design. He has curated or juried numerous exhibitions throughout his career. This exhibition is unique because it features Thurmanite, previously only used in the creation of his own artworks.

“By distributing this material to the participating artists, visitors to the exhibition can see the range of creative applications of this environmental material and gain appreciation for the potential of recycled materials,” Thurman explained.

“Paper Alchemy” debuted in Istanbul, Turkey, at Atelier Maya in June 2021. The debut of “Paper Alchemy” in the United States was at Radford University’s Art Museum at Covington Center Sept. 6 to Nov. 19, 2021. It will continue to travel throughout the United States and other countries for several more years.

Thurman received his M.F.A. in metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2012 and 2016, he was a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in Istanbul, Turkey.

Admission to the exhibition and reception, which is sponsored in part by William Arscott and the Friends of the Visual Arts, is free. The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-5500.