Papillon Paper: Calvin grad duo bringing the printing press back

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Papillon Paper: Calvin grad duo bringing the printing press back

Photo by Mimi Metusa

Photo by Mimi Metusa

Photo by Mimi Metusa

Photo by Mimi Metusa

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Co-owned by two generations of Calvin grads, father and daughter duo Madeleine and Vernon Wiering breathe new life into the dying, centuries-old tradition of hand-crafted prints.This is for all you forward thinking trendsetters out there that love your obscurely sourced fair trade coffee and hand made intricately patterned prints. Papillon Paper, which has your stationary dreams covered, is a printing business that specializes in the art of intricate designs and printing decorated paper. They make postcards, greeting cards, notebook covers and more.  

The idea for the company started with Vernon’s love for endsheets, which are the insides of the hardcover of a book. For a long time, Vernon had a career in bookbinding, working on the exteriors and spines of books. Along the way he realized that he was more enamored by the insides of the covers. According to Madeleine, he started hunting down the prettiest patterns he could find and recreating them, either taking elements he loved and adding a twist, or taking a basic design and making it his own.

Madeleine and Vernon refer to themselves as “design archeologists.” Many of the patterns they print on are dug up and reinvented from centuries-old scraps of paper that were then used to line the insides of books that are now happily collecting dust in libraries.

The idea to name the company Papillon literally came to Vernon in a dream. One night  in early 2017, he woke up with the word papillon on his mind. He didn’t know where it came from or what it meant. He looked it up the next day and discovered its beautiful meaning “butterfly.” As fate would have it, a couple of days later, he stumbled across a beautiful butterfly design and he was sold. Thus Papillon Papers was born in April of 2017, in their Grand Rapids home.

The duo have since traveled to Germany for Paperfest, “the biggest event in the field.” They continue to seek inspiration in other artists and companies doing the same style of printing as they do as well as other styles.

Madeleine started her Calvin career as a psychology and international development major. She quickly realized that the ID major was not for her, and kept her psychology major but started looking for classes that allowed her to express her artistic side more. She dissuaded herself from pursuing a “real art” degree because she feared she wouldn’t make any money and eventually settled on a graphic design major. She is extremely happy she’s been able to put her creative energy into a business like this.

You can order cards or notebooks online at www.papillonpapers.com