September 21
4:00-7:00 PM

999 Main St., #109
Pawtucket, RI 02860

ADA Accessible: Yes
Fee: Free! Pay what you wish. Any donation you make supports DESIGNxRI in organizing and executing DESIGN WEEK RI as well as any programs and events throughout the year.

Pulp it, Spin it, Weave it

Ever wondered how paper is made by hand or how to use a loom and make beautiful patterns with thread or how color is derived from natural plants? Co-founders Lauren Pearlman Sugita of Paper Connection and Suzi Ballenger of Real Fibers will walk you through the process of hand weaving and hand papermaking by touring the tools and equipment necessary to do these traditional and industrial crafts.


A long-time dream has been realized. Paper Connection and Real Fibers have teamed up to create the largest fiber, paper and book arts center of its kind in Southern New England. It’s called the ART ANNEX located within Hope Artiste Village. We want to show you what we have created!

The ART ANNEX is a local makers’ space created for the greater community; welcoming folks of all ages and from all backgrounds. The ART ANNEX aims to not only honor world cultures via their crafts, but also to spawn new traditions and techniques via collaboration with others.

Section 1: 4:00 – 5:00 PM

Section 2: 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Section 3: 6:00 – 7:00 PM

Lauren Pearlman Sugita


Lauren was born and raised in Providence, RI. After obtaining a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology, she lived in Japan for 4 years, where her love for paper was infused in daily life. Upon returning from Japan, in the early 1990’s, Lauren became art director at a Boston-based , international trading company, where she maintained and marketed a collection of photographs, antique wooden chests, imari-ware, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) and washi-(Japanese paper).

In 1995, Lauren founded Paper Connection International, LLC, a Providence-based importer and distributor of specialty art papers for artists. Paper Connection has become an essential paper resource in North America- stocking hand-crafted papers made from mainly sustainable fibers. All together Lauren has been a paper researcher, provider, maker and educator for close to 35 years.

Through long experience working with paper, Lauren and her expert staff assist artists, designers and manufacturers with finding a paper match for a diverse range of projects. Paper Connection remains committed to ensure the art of handmade paper is preserved for future generations.

Over the years, Lauren has designed her own patterned papers, facilitated papermaking events, workshops, curated local paper art exhibitions, presented at various schools, and art organizations, and written articles for print and online publications. In 2023, she co-founded the Art Annex with Suzi Ballenger of Real Fibers. Currently Lauren is local committee chair planning the North American Hand Papermakers annual conference taking place at RISD and around Providence, October 19-21, 2023.

Suzi Ballenger


My work addresses expectations and boundaries that come from a fettered past. The threaded order/dis-order of fiber and form challenge the pre-conceived boundaries of symmetry and disturb a predictable order. Interruption as such, reveals contradictions and makes room for liberation of movement. This aesthetic is informed by the freedom I felt – and feel in the outdoors; and the exhilaration I find revealed in nature.

I knew I would be a weaver when I first stepped into a small studio on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia in 1981. The inspiration of that first “meeting” has never stopped. Born in Indiana and relocated to central New England in the mid 1970’s, I graduated with an MFA in Artisanry: Fibers from UMass Dartmouth.

Thirty-eight years of textile experience has yielded successes, experiments, patents, unfinished ideas, and constant learning! My endorsement as an Arts-in-Education participant for the RI State Council on the Arts in 1996 propelled my teaching and encouraged my dreams. I currently teach through my studio in North Kingstown, RI and The Art Annex, Pawtucket, RI . I also love gardening, hiking, and swimming in the ocean early in the morning