There are some fabulous old black and white books with amazing diagrams for folding, cutting, scoring and manipulating paper in simple ways that often lead to complex forms. My favorite book is Creating with Paper, by Pauline Johnson. This has proven to be a popular book for many years, with fourteen print runs in hard cover before it was released in paperback in 1975!
Paper Folding & Paper Sculpture, by Kenneth Ody is another gem, filled with diagrams and ideas for pleating, slitting and constructing with paper.
Creative Paper Design, by Ernst Röttger is another book in my library that I often refer to for inspiration.
One of the techniques that is covered in these books is what I’ll call slit paper. Most of us has made one of these slit paper lanterns at some point in our life.
It never ceases to amaze me how a single flat sheet of paper, folded in half, slit multiple times through the fold, unfolded, wrapped into a cylinder shape and smushed a bit transforms into a three-dimensional form.
And leave it to some brilliant artists and designers to come up with some really complex and innovative twists on these forms.
Check out these air vases by Torafu Architects. I first saw these on the blog about everything paper: UponaFold (a warning, if you click on the link – and you should! – you will be sucked into a paper vortex).
These delicate forms can be sculpted into a plate, vase, or bowl. Watch this video to see the vessel being sculpted.
One of the artists featured in the gallery section of Playing With Paper is Matthew Shlian. He’s engineered paper in multiple ways, but this Stretch Series relates most to what I’m typing about here.
Matt and his partner have just launched a new website showcasing their smaller art objects in paper and wood.
There is one last technique I want to mention, although I don’t have a good photograph. In Japan there is a technique called shifu, which is a way of spinning paper into thread (and then weaving it into cloth). The beginning of the process requires slitting the paper… here’s a set of images from the Japanese Paper Place (worth a visit if you’re in Toronto) that gives you the idea.
Do you have any old books about paper art or paper crafts? Have you seen other ideas for stretching paper? If so, please share it with me by emailing or leaving me a comment below.
About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!