Established by Kathryn and Howard Clark in 1971, Twinrocker was pivotal to the renaissance of hand papermaking in America.. They met in graduate school at Wayne State University in Detroit, she working toward a master degrees in Fine Art Printmaking and he toward a degree in Industrial Design. Upon graduation, they moved to San Francisco where Kathryn was a fine art lithography printer in a Tamarind offshoot shop named Collectors Press. It was during those years, 1970-1972, when they realized there was no handmade paper being made in America and that people had to import fine papers from Europe.
With encouragement from Master Printer and Director of Collector's Press, Ernest deSoto, and fine book printers and binders in the Bay Area, they decided to try to make handmade paper. Howard designed and built a hollander beater (the pulping machine) and other equipment, and they began to make their first sheets of handmade paper from old cotton rags in their basement. Kathryn then tested the paper for lithography printing at Collector's Press. During 1971, they made paper for only one special edition of prints in San Francisco, which was a suite of fine art lithographs by Jose Luis Cuevas titled "Cuevas Comedies," but their influence on fine book printing and the art world in California was profound.
In the spring of 1972, when Howard's father died, they moved to a tiny, family farm on the edge of Brookston, Indiana to look after Howard's grandmother and to build a handmade paper mill. Their mission was to revive handmade paper in America. "The rest is history" as they say, and Kathryn and Howard have been the "Ma" and "Pa" of contemporary handmade paper ever since.
Twinrocker has been technically innovative by applying modern papermaking materials to the hand craft and setting high standards for permanence and light fastness. Artistically, they began to offer papers in many sizes and shapes that had not been available before, also making larger sizes than European hand mills had made (up to three by four feet) and gradually began to influenced the "look" of some machine made papers. Now, thirty five years later, Travis Becker, who was trained at Twinrocker by Kathryn Clark and has been a master papermaker and colleague for many years has become a partner and will carry Twinrocker into the future.