Highlights from the interview with Carlene Moscatt

Portrait of Carlene Moscatt

On Paper and Pyramid

AF: What about your own art-making practice?

CM: It’s evolved a lot over the years. Since I graduated with an undergraduate degree in painting and then a masters in crafts, I found an ideal medium probably around 1982 or 1983, when I heard about a papermaking facility. It was in this building. I was very interested, and I did sign up for a few classes; that was 1982 or 1983. That was called Pyramid Prints and Paperworks, and it was upstairs—that whole space where the gallery is now was that facility.

So I did paper almost exclusively for about twelve years—handmade paper, in which you incorporate art into the ancient art of papermaking. As you make the paper, you are actually working on the art.

Paul? You’re making noise, Paul!

PM: [Sawing wood for a frame in the background]

CM: Paul!

PM: Got it. This is a studio!

CM: Well, anyway, the art was all paper and it was mostly abstract, because the medium forces you to be more abstract that representational. These are just some of the things I did up there in that studio.

AF: Oh, yeah.

CM: Almost all my paper works were done upstairs.

AF: A couple people have mentioned Pyramid being up there.

CM: Right.

AF: Would you be willing to describe more what that was like?

CM: Oh sure. In fact, I brought a lot of stuff here to do with Pyramid.

AF: Yes, I’m very interested in that.

CM: Yeah, uh huh.

AF: Thank you.

CM: Today, Pyramid is in Washington. The woman who is the founding director, Helen Frederick, she’s retired as director now; she’s like the director emeritus. But this is the current website, and it’s now called Pyramid Atlantic. It’s in Silver Spring. So I brought this for you. [CM hands AF a computer printout from the Pyramid Atlantic website.] This is Helen. She’s the director. She’s a professor now at George Mason University.

AF: Thank you.

CM: And you could probably, if you’re really interested in that history, you could talk to her probably.

AF: Yeah. Or even just your experiences up there. I’m interested in that.

CM: Right.

AF: How many people were up there and what was it like?

CM: She had classes and she had newsletters—announcements of her classes. This is probably one of the first that I saw. [CM hands AF a Pyramid Atlantic newsletter to examine.] Let me see now… 1985. This is the brochure that came out with the classes I took. And there’s a picture of the Cork Factory on the back!

AF: Oh, that’s awesome. So she was running it pretty much [by herself]?

CM: Oh, she was a fabulous director. It was entirely her baby, you know. I mean, she was focused on that completely.

Audio clip from oral history interview with Carlene Moscatt

Flyer for Pyramid Prints & Paperworks, Inc.

A sample page from a Pyramid newsletter that shows the interior of the Cork Factory in 1985, as shared by Carlene Moscatt