Red Cliff Paper Retreat

I’ll be posting info about the next Red Cliff Paper Retreat in late 2017. Below you can get a feel for the event. Send me an e-mail ( if you’d like to be the first to know when registration opens for the 2018 retreat.

Click here to view a gallery of images from past retreats.

The 2017 Retreat theme is Sculptural BooksWe will focus on creating pages, panels and unusual book structures before, during and after making paper. Stitch, glue, cut, fold. What kind of books will you make? And what is a book anyways? Explore these ideas as you create unique paper objects with like-minded people.


Creating With Paper in the Colorado Rockies, 

NEW: TWO Sessions: Come for one or Stay for Both!

Session 1: September 8-10, 2017; Session 2: September 12-14, 2017;

You are invited to my studio in the heart of the Rocky Mountains to cut, fold, layer, collage, weave, glue and make paper as you explore its potential in two and three dimensions. Enjoy three peaceful creative days in the tiny hamlet of Red Cliff, surrounded by mountains, the river and aspen trees as they begin to change their glorious fall colors. Experiment with several techniques as you create a variety of book objects that will intrigue your eyes and illuminate your spirit. All levels of art experience are invited.

If you’re interested in staying for both sessions:

This option is those who are interested in a full-week experience. Two three-day retreats will be separated by one day to relax, adventure or sight see. The two sessions will differ in the following ways:

  • Our morning projects will be different, so you will learn new techniques in each session.
  • Keep the momentum going! Past participants have expressed that three days wasn’t enough.
  • Meet new participants at each session.

If you have questions about this option, feel free to e-mail Helen:

About Helen

retreat-helenHelen Hiebert constructs installations, sculptures, films, artist books and works in paper using handmade paper as her primary medium. She teaches, lectures and exhibits her work internationally. She has taught at the Penland School, Haystack Mountain School, Women’s Studio Workshop, the Papierwespe in Vienna, Austria and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Helen is the author of the books Playing With Pop-Ups, Playing With Paper, Papermaking with Plants, The Papermaker’s Companion, and Paper Illuminated and writes a column for Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine. Helen serves as an advisor for Hand Papermaking Magazine, is a member of the national and international hand papermaking organizations, and writes a weekly blog, The Sunday Paper.


2016: Helen’s Red Cliff Paper Retreat was a perfect mix of papermaking, paper vessels and mountain air. Her teaching style added just the right mix for a weekend filled with artistic fulfillment. I left feeling refreshed, and my mind was overflowing with my own interpretation of the many projects introduced. – Elizabeth Hansen, CO

2016: This was my first time at the Red Cliff Retreat. I could not have asked for a more rewarding and educational experience. Helen and her assistant went above and beyond to make sure that everyone was able to meet their learning goals while having a fun time! – Lou Plummer, New Bern, NC

2015: I just wanted to say THANK YOU for another amazing, creative, thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable retreat. Thank you for being such a patient teacher and sharing your boundless knowledge, talent and love of craft with all of us. Thank you for holding the space and creating an environment where everyone is free to share, and everyone supports everyone else. Thank you for being the beacon that attracts such a lovely group of people each year. I loved this retreat even more than the last one, and I loved the last one!  – L.L., Santa Fe, NM


Our group will spend the mornings working together on step-by-step projects, such as a double pamphlet stitch book with a surprise in the middle, Japanese shoji screens panels, one-sheet book structures, and book pages with pop-ups.

The afternoons will be more freeform: Helen will demonstrate papermaking techniques, and you can choose whether to spend the rest of the day making paper or continuing to explore the morning’s techniques.

Dry demonstrations will include multiple ideas for constructing book structures. Helen will show a variety attachments and connections that work well with paper (glue, tape, eyelets, sewing, etc.) and we will also explore folding, cutting, weaving, pop-ups and more. Helen has an extensive library featuring paper forms and projects that will be available for inspiration.

Wet demonstrations will include embedding string and wire for structure, creating one-sheet books during papermaking, and embedded hinge ideas. Our focus will be on book structures, but we’ll also be thinking “outside of the book”. Projects will include sculptural book forms that can morph into lamps, lanterns, installations and more.

The pace will allow for structured teaching and individual meandering. You will head home with models, finished objects, and inspiration to continue with your creative work!

Daily schedule

9:00 am      Meet in the gym at Red Cliff Studios, 400 Pine St in Red Cliff, CO
12-1pm       Lunch break (catered)
4pm             Wind down for the day

Evenings     Dinner on your own, relax, or explore the Vail Valley!

After Hours:

I will arrange for the studio to be open for a few hours in the evenings for night owls!

Additional details:

  • Supply lists, weather information and other helpful tips will be sent upon receipt of your registration form and deposit.
  • If you plan to stay at the Green Bridge Inn, register early to receive the early bird discount and to assure that you get a room (it is a small hotel and it is wedding season).
  • Be sure to let Helen know if you would like to schedule time for individual art mentoring time during our retreat.
  • Feel welcome to bring any ongoing work you’d like to share and discuss with Helen or the group
  • Please feel free to contact Helen before the retreat with any questions you may have about our plans, supplies, techniques we’ll be covering or any special requests.

Retreat tuition:

Earlybird Signup before December 31, 2016: $495 for one session; $895 for both sessions (pricing goes up to $545 for one session; $995 for both sessions on January 1, 2017)

Please note: there will a materials fee in the amount of approx. $50 for one session/$100 for both (TBD) due at the beginning of the retreat

• Guided art instruction on Friday, Saturday & Sunday
• Our group will be limited to 12, allowing time for individual discussions with Helen
• Informative supply lists and instructional handouts
• Extra shared art materials and tools
• Lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
• Snacks & treats!
• Optional individual art mentoring session with Helen


  • Lodging expenses are not included (see listings below and let me know if you would like a roommate).
    • Travel arrangements are your responsibility (I am happy to connect you with others in the group).
    • Breakfast and dinner are on your own.
    • You may wish to ship some of your work home after the workshop.

Where to stay:


Red Cliff is the oldest town in Eagle County. At 8,650 feet above sea level (please note the altitude; you will need to drink extra water to acclimate), Red Cliff boomed at the turn of the century as a mining town with saloons, a bank, sawmills and even an opera house. Today it is a quaint mountain community (population 265) that attracts tourists who stop in as they drive their way down the Colorado Scenic Byway, Highway 24. Red Cliff is 20 miles North of Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the U.S. and just 12 miles from the center of Vail, a world famous ski resort. The town of Red Cliff is also accessible via Vail Pass off of I-70. Please note that there is no cell service in Red Cliff (yay!) but there is Wifi at the Inn.

Green Bridge Inn:; (866) 660-1716.

$100/night single or double if reserved by June 1, $119 after June 1

The Green Bridge Inn offers classy lodging to complement your perfect mountain-escape vacation. All 14 rooms at the Green Bridge are paneled with beadboard walls and laid with hardwood floors for a home-away-from-home feel. Experience extreme comfort and have a great night’s sleep on our on our king-sized or extra-long full-sized beds. Mention PAPER RETREAT when you register for the early bird discount.


The Bunkhouse in Minturn:


Enjoy a quiet, relaxing night’s rest in one of 30 custom-built bunk beds at The Bunkhouse boutique hostel. Comfortable mattresses, cozy linens and private spaces allow you to rest in peace. Each bunk features: clean linens, curtains for privacy, and ambient noise machines.

Camp Hale Campground


Located 8 miles south of Red Cliff, this facility is primitive but offers an inexpensive alternative to sleeping under a roof.

There are numerous hotel and B&B options in the towns of Minturn (9 miles), Avon (15 miles) and Vail (15 miles).

Getting to Red Cliff

Denver International Airport (DIA) is 2-1/2 hours by car and Eagle County Airport is a 45-minute drive. Rental cars are available at both, and Colorado Mountain Express offers frequent shuttle service from DIA.

Payment/Cancellation Policy

A 50% deposit is due upon registration and tuition balance is due by June 1, 2017. Register by December 31, 2016 and receive a $50 discount. You will receive a full refund minus a $75 processing fee for cancellations. No refunds after July 1, 2017, unless your space can be filled.