Almost twenty-five years ago, James Thurman began experimenting with the combination of paper and resin, which would ultimately become the material he somewhat humorously named “Thurmanite®.” (In May 2012, the trademark of the material was finally approved!) Coming from a background in Sculpture, he had always been interested in utilizing a wide range of processes and materials. Even while working on his MFA in Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art, his final body of work was a series of vessels that incorporated woodturned components and spun metal. While sharing a studio with a colleague at Penn State University, he collaborated on a series of trophies for an environmental design symposium. Although these pieces were all assembled with hardware, there was a lot of subsequent brainstorming that ultimately led to the invention of Thurmanite®.
Thurmanite® is a handcrafted material made entirely of layered recycled paper and eco-resin. Each layer is revealed through carving, sanding, and polishing. Having similar properties to hardwoods, it is used in a wide variety of jewelry and home accessories and has potential for so much more...
Thurmanite® is a composite material made of layers of paper bonded together with eco-resin, and then carved, sanded, and polished to reveal patterning similar to woodgrain. It is an extremely labor intensive process because each layer of paper must be individually coated with resin to ensure a solid bond which is required for overall strength and integrity of the material. After lamination and full curing, the billet of material can be worked in a way similar to wood or plastic. Once shaped and polished, Thurmanite® can either be used as a component within larger pieces of jewelry or as its own completed object.