Folded Folly Flexagon (say that three times fast)!

Folded Folly Flexagon (say that three times fast)!

The Sunday Paper #375

August 8, 2021

Ooh la la!

I’m delighted to introduce you to the third in my series of Curated Paper Collections! This is a set of 11 unique papers from around the world that I enjoyed discovering and purchasing from paper shops and artisans. The sheets range in size from 8-1/2″ x 11″ up to 15” x 20”. Some are full sheets with deckled edges on all sides, and others are cut in half or quarters. Click through to read a bit about each of the 11 papers in the collection and order a set today.

Here’s a sample description of the paper pictured in the top left corner above: Cockerell and Sons was best known in the last century for their marbled papers, which were not only used in books, but also by many other artisans. The reverse bouquet pattern in browns is marbled on a kraft colored paper. This film shows how wonderful the production process is and the craft skills involved.


This looks like a super fun virtual event hosted by MoMath (the National Museum of Mathematics). While indulging in the folly of attempting to create an impossible shape with folded paper, artist and educator Paula Krieg stumbled upon a novel flexagon that not only shape-shifts to expose hidden faces, but also hides and reveals small pockets and winged handles, adding more dimension to this already-mysterious surface. Join Paula on August 12th from 6:30 – 8pm EST ($10-$20 fee) as she demonstrates the astonishingly elegant folding method used to construct this playful mathematical toy, then make your own Folded Folly Flexagon as a keepsake of this unique evening.The instructor, Paula Beardell Krieg, happens to be our guest artist this month in The Paper Year (my membership program).


I played with legos as a kid and even had a few lego people in my fire and police station sets, which I remember fondly. The figures looked a lot like this paper cut atop the Arc de Triomphe. Artist Rich McCor sells prints of his amazing photos of papercuts in famous places in his Paperboyo shop.


Visiting Florence in September? Don’t miss this event at the Corsini Palace that shows visitors how, over time, craftsmen and their workshops thrived around the Palazzo, a place which became a showcase and a training ground for experimentation. One of the exhibits will feature life at the paper mill, where visitors can witness the different manufacturing phases by observing a master papermaker, a watermarker, and a calligrapher as they demonstrate their techniques.


Last call for submissions: Arnold Grummer’s Paper On The River handmade paper art exhibit in Appleton, WI. Exhibit opening Oct 1 and Artists’ Reception with special guests, Katherine and Howard Clark, Twinrocker Handmade Paper. Free master class for attending artists. Full details online.


Paper Tidbits:

  • I made a short video on how to do the three-hole pamphlet stitch binding. This is part of a series of paper tips on youtube.
  • This light-up whirlybird looks like a super fun project for kiddos (of all ages). This is a delightful object to play with, even without the paper electronics.


In the Studio:

I purchased an old copy of the Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Papermaking (E.J. LaBarre, 1952, Hilversum and Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam).

I can relate to what LaBarre write in his introduction: “This book began as an attempt to name and define clearly a number of material things and concepts in the paper field that I had found to be vague, ill-defined or even applied to different objects, processes or ideas. On asking paper experts for information, I had found that one and the same word were used for quite different objects in one and the same country, while words adopted from a foreign language tended to diverge widely from the original meaning and thus added to the confusion…”

I had a similar experience when I wrote my book Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, but my dilemma stemmed from defining papermaking processes rather than words. I wanted to document how to do each step in the papermaking process, but when I talked with papermakers, they all had different methods of doing the same thing! It was fun to learn that LaBarre ran into similar issues, and I am in awe of this book that is a goldmine of information that could be read cover to cover.

Here’s an entry:

Fore-right shake is, as the word indicates, the ‘shake’ or ‘stroke’ the vatman gives to the MOULD when lifting it with pulp from the VAT, from his breast outwards and back again, the other ‘shake’ being from right to left. Records and manufacturers’ reports  as to usage differ in saying which of these movements is done first.

As a papermaker myself, I had to move my hands to recall how I shake my mould. Without doing that I would have said that I shake from breast outwards and back again and then left to right, but my hands moved as described above (right to left rather than left to right). I’ll have to pay attention to this the next time I have my hands in the vat.

If you are a papermaker, which way do you shake your mould?


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Opening Soon: Flexible Book Structures Online Class, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, Curated Paper Collection #3, The Papermaker’s Studio Guide DVD

Flexible Book Structures Banner


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