The 2021 Paper + Light online class is Phase 3 of our “Celebrating Solstice” event. 

Phase 1 was a FREE Zoom session, where we created Accordion Solstice Books. Nearly 500 registered for this event, and you can watch the recording on my youtube channel and view some of the books on my Instagram.

Phase 2 is a 3-hour live online Panel Lampshade workshop. I’m delighted that this workshop sold out and a second session has filled too. I’ll be planning more workshops like this soon.

Paper + Light registration is now open. Class begins June 21st.

$240 for 6 weeks June 21 – July 26, 2021

Do you love the glow of light filtering through paper? Crave the inspiration you get from the act of making? Have a desire to connect with others who share these same goals? Join me in creating a series of luminous objects that will intrigue your eyes and illuminate your spirit.

  • A new lesson will be added to the classroom every Monday.
  • Work from the comfort of your own home or studio whenever you wish.
  • Pop into the online classroom anytime to ask questions and share your projects and ideas in a supportive and creative on-line community.
  • You will have access to the course material after class ends – and indefinitely.
  • Attend live online Zoom sessions with Helen.

The weekly lessons will be exploratory (think model making) and concrete (you’ll be building light structures). I will present a wide variety of techniques and models for inspiration as we construct internal and external armatures made with paper, wood, wire, and string.

If you took Paper + Light Last summer, or if you’ve taken my Paper Illuminated online class in the past, there will be new techniques and inventive ways to explore illuminating paper. 

Week1 – Single Sheet Lanterns: Discover how a single sheet of paper can be transformed into a sculptural object with folds, curves and grommets. Light adds a magical effect.

Week 2 – Wraparound Lampshade: Learn how to join two lamp rings and a piece of styrene, adorned with almost any decorative paper, to create a unique shade for your table or floor lamp.

Week 3 – Accordion Structures: The repetition of the accordion fold can be enhanced and illuminated by integrating pop-ups, paper weaving and more.

Week 4 – Paper Sleeves: We will make momigami (crumpled paper cloth) and stitch sleeves in paper to connect panels with wood, string and/or wire.

Weeks 5 + 6: Chochin: Collapsible Japanese Lamps/Lanterns: construct this traditional portable lantern, made of thin bamboo cane wound onto a removable armature. The paper-covered lantern is collapsible, and can be folded flat, making it easily portable. These lanterns, one of Japan’s first forms of suspended lighting, were hung on Japanese shop fronts and bore the symbol or name of the business. Traditionally, the Japanese did not install lights on walls or ceilings, but today chochin are commonly used as ceiling lamps. I’ll also show how to wire a lamp in this lesson.


I have participated in other on line classes but you have the very best, clearest and most understandable presentations. Keep up the great work. Allison Roscoe, HI

Helen is a skilled, generous, and very organized teacher. I enjoyed every aspect of the online class, from the clear videos and the community feel, to the ability to work at my own pace. The projects and materials were lovely. The online format made it possible to benefit from Helen’s vast expertise without the time and cost of travel. Thanks Helen!  Sue E.

This was my first ever online class. The videos for each lesson were clear and easy to follow. It was fun to see the results that other participants posted. I found the interactive communication helpful and delightful. Thank you! I look forward to another online class with you!  Barb H.

What You Get:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials for each lesson
  • Printable instructions for each project
  • Templates
  • Resource and supplier lists
  • The online classroom where you can ask questions, share your work, and get feedback
  • Lessons about lighting components: incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, light strands and battery-operated LEDs. I’ll show you how to wire a lamp, too, although these shades can be put on existing lamps.
  • Create art, lamps, lanterns, sculpture and more.

How it works:

  • When you register, I will send you a link to the online classroom, where you will find a comprehensive supply list on June 1st.
  • Each Monday, beginning on June 21st, a new lesson will be available in the online classroom with a video tutorial  and PDF instructions featuring a new project to explore throughout the week. This is not a live lesson; you will be able to watch the video anytime, work at your own pace, and visit the online classroom to ask questions and share your work.
  • As a student you will have access to all lessons, support materials and videos indefinitely.

Supply Kit

For those of you who have taken classes with me in the past and have ordered a kit, there won’t be a kit to purchase for this class. Instead, I’m letting you make your own unique paper choices and will provide guidelines about what to order when you register, including a comprehensive list of materials that are available from just a few suppliers.

If you’d like to see a general list of supplies prior to signing up for the class, please e-mail me:

Tools: You probably have most tools on hand, but here’s an idea of what we’ll be using: pencil, eraser, ruler, scissors, cutting mat, craft knife, bone folder, awl, glue, glue brush, hole punch, needle and thread. Optional (and useful) tools: Sewing machine, grommet setter & small hand saw.

Beyond the class: The skills you acquire will have multiple applications as we explore paper as a material and a variety of sculptural techniques and forms. Take what you learn beyond this class as you add additional ideas for working with paper and light to your repertoire.

About Helen: My initial interest began on a trip to Japan 30 years ago when I was inspired by light filtering through traditional shoji screens. I took classes at the NY Center for Book Arts with Hedi Kyle, Susan Share, Barbara Mauriello and more – and soon began developing workshops combining book arts, papercraft and lighting techniques. I’m the author of five books about paper crafts and papermaking, and I host The Paper Year, an online subscription program featuring a new paper project each month. I am a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper. I teach, lecture and exhibit my work internationally and have an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world. My interest in how things are made (from paper) keeps me up-to-date on current paper trends, which I write about in my weekly blog, The Sunday Paper. I hold an annual paper retreat and two papermaking master classes in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each summer + fall.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why an Online Class?
I’ve taught projects to hundreds of students in person over the past twenty five years, but since I can’t travel all the time (and perhaps you can’t either) I decided to develop on-line classes. This is an extension of the numerous how-to projects I’ve written about in my books and the ideas I continue to develop in my studio, but they are more in-depth and elaborate, featuring skill building as well as creative ideas.

What if I have to miss a lesson?
The sessions are independent, so you can jump in at any point and come back to lessons you may have missed. You will also have access to the online classroom indefinitely.

What kind of experience is required?
This class is for all levels, but expect some challenges. You should be comfortable using a craft knife. I have taught and mentored all levels, from beginners to experienced artists.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Refunds are only available within 24 hours of purchase. You will receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee for cancellations within 24 hours.