Happy New Year! Whether you’re just discovering this blog or you’ve followed it from the beginning (we’re coming up on nine years) I truly appreciate your ongoing support! Thank you for following along on this paper journey.
This is the second annual end of the year list of 100 of my favorite papery things – from tools to tutorials, inspirations to online explorations – I hope you enjoy reading through it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
I would love to know your favorites too – please leave your comments below. You’ll notice that several of the recommended items came from other paper lovers this year. Thank you!
Feel free to share this list with your paper-loving friends. Enjoy!
Paper: Figuring out which paper will work best for a particular project is tricky, but it can be a delightful journey. There are so many qualities – thickness, opacity, foldability – to name a few. My advice: try it and see if it works. If it does, it becomes a favorite paper. If it doesn’t, you learned something!
- Paper Connection International has a monthly subscription club called Paper Pastiche. Sign up and receive 8 different papers every month to get your juices pumping and get you out of your comfort zone.
- Oblation Papers & Press is a classy stationery shop in Portland, Oregon, where they produce a broad range of house-made paper goods. There’s plenty more to explore on their site as well as in their brick and mortar shop.
- I love these wrapping paper books published by Pepin in a wide variety of themed designs. The sheets are folded in quarters and bound into books with a perforated edge. Tear them out and unfold!
- Hook Pottery Paper has a lovely variety of handmade sheets (many from home-grown fibers) available through Colophon Book Arts Supply. One of my favorites is their Moon Paper, which looks extraterrestrial.
- I bought some papyrus bookmarks to make into paper jewelry. It was good quality paper and made really beautiful earrings. Many people thought they were made from ivory – the paper has the same look and texture as mastodon ivory. Recommended by Bev Frey.
- Loose Ends advertises itself as uncommon materials for uncommon artists, and they really do have unusual papers, most of which are small batches from independent papermakers in the USA and abroad. They also sell unusual ribbons, ephemera, and organic textiles. Recommended by Marguerite Blythe Katchen.
- Shizen Design has a large variety of handmade papers – fabricated and printed by hand in India – that are widely distributed in America. They offer a selection ranging from small packs of watercolor papers to decorative paper packs and full-size sheets in unique patterns. This is their Amazon link, which gives you a nice overview, but I recently picked up some large sheets at Two Hands Paperie in Boulder.
- Aitoh distributes premium origami papers made in Japan.
- Paperphine is a cool paper product – a paper twine from Austria – which is spun onto lovely old wooden spools. It comes in a variety of fun colors and thicknesses.
- Papillon Press digs into the past, like design archaeologists. They look at old books and objects to find designs and beautiful papers that they recreate or use as inspiration for new designs. In 2022, they expanded to open a retail shop in Grand Rapids, MI.
Techniques: There are so many ways to transform paper, and I am fascinated with all of them! Take a walk on the wild side with paper by following the links below – you might just end up in a paper vortex.
- Check out these incredible paper snowflakes. I love this tag line: “The only ingredients are scissors, paper and choices”. Recommended by Akua Lezli Hope.
- Steph Rue creates beautiful patchwork paper panels, based on the traditional Korean fabric technique called bojagi. Rue contributed a bojagi curtain project for my book, The Art of Papercraft, and I see that she’s teaching a workshop at The Penland School of Craft next summer.
- Artist, papermaker and paper investigator Amy Richard is teaching her popular and thorough Japanese Papermaking with Kozo workshop online. Class begins on February 7th.
- Plantable Seed Paper seems to be everywhere these days. Here’s a super simple tutorial from Arnold Grummer’s on how to make it with TP.
- Cathryn Miller created a new series of papery Advent tutorials for 2022. Here’s the index to all 25.
- Ann Martin of allthingspaper.net thrives on sharing paper craft projects and techniques via a running list of seasonally arranged, on-site tutorials complete with images. You’ll find it here.
- This is an informative article about papel picado and how the paper cutting tradition has changed over the years. For example, the designs – which used to be cut in fig-bark paper – are now cut in colorful tissue paper.
- This is a fascinating history of paper fans.
- If you’re into pop-ups, Duncan Birmingham’s youtube channel will captivate you for hours of learning.
- I love paper weaving, but haven’t dabbled into the dimensional paper weaving of Paper Matrix. Ooh, la la!
Online Resources: I’m still a fan of actual books, paper, and libraries, but there’s no arguing that the internet allows us to share and learn about things we might never discover in the analog world. Here are ten blogs and organizations that spread the love of paper.
- OrigamiUSA, the national organization for the sharing of origami, has an online shop with an amazing array of origami paper, books and supplies that can be used for origami and other creative paper arts. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s they present the “#2-to-be-seen Holiday Tree in NYC” at the American Museum of Natural History, a must see! Recommended by MaryAnn Scheblein-Dawson.
- The International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) is a membership organization for paper artists. They are hosting an in-person gathering in Dresden, Germany in 2023.
- Hand Papermaking’s print and online publications chronicle the finest work in the field of hand papermaking, while advancing the scholarship and production of handmade paper and paper art. The biannual print journal includes tipped-in paper samples; how cool is that?!
- North American Hand Papermakers is an organization that brings together people interested in hand papermaking, to encourage sharing of practical, historical, and artistic knowledge about the craft.
- Peace Paper Project is an international community-arts initiative that utilizes traditional papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism.
- I always enjoy watching Trish Witkowski’s Super Cool Fold of the Week. She focuses on printed materials, but many of the folds and techniques she shares could be applied to book arts and paper crafts.
- Jade Quek keeps tabs for us on everything book and paper-related with her Book & Paper Arts Calendar. You can sign up for her monthly e-newsletter at the link.
- The Movable Book Society is a nonprofit organization that provides a forum for artists, book sellers, book producers, collectors, curators, and others to share enthusiasm and exchange information about pop-up and movable books.
- Emma of Gathering Beauty offers a variety of paper craft tutorials. Recommended by Susan Buhler-Maki.
- Kelli Anderson specializes in book-like things and paper devices.
Books/Magazines/Articles: My collection of how-to books about paper continues to grow, and I was fortunate to have an intern this fall who catalogued them on Library Thing. Here are ten favorites.
- Like meditation or journaling, making collage can be an avenue for self-reflection and artistic exploration. In Collage Your Life, artist and teacher Melanie Mowinski teaches a variety of core techniques. Fun fact: Mowinski will teach a workshop in my Paper Year program in April.
- Creative Packaging: One Piece Packaging Solutions, is a new book by paper aficionado Paul Jackson.
- Though not strictly paper arts, Uppercase is a great magazine for design/art/craft communities. In addition to the periodical, Uppercase also publishes compilations called encyclopedias – the next one – Paper and Pulp – will come out in 2023. Recommended by Tess Hall.
- I had a lovely conversation on Paper Talk with the publisher/author and illustrator of Read Island, a children’s book featuring cut-paper illustrations. Nicole Magistro and Alice Feagan live and work right here in the Vail Valley of Colorado.
- Endpapers, by Jennifer Savran Kelly, is coming out early in 2023 and looks like a good read: a gender queer book conservator who feels trapped by her gender presentation, her ill-fitting relationship, and her artistic block, discovers a decades-old hidden queer love letter and becomes obsessed with tracking down its author.
- I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. The heroine is a papermaker! The book has been made into a TV series.
- I enjoyed this article by Brea Black who took a workshop recently at InterOcean Studio called Papermaking from Plant to Page. There are so many interesting tidbits in her recount of the workshop: a visit to The Rocky Mountain Land Library, the history of InterOcean Studio, making plant paper; and wow, I didn’t realize that you could take workshops on Creativebug with a library card (Black is a librarian in Topeka, KS, so her link is through her library, but I’m guessing other libraries offer this).
- Radha Pandey edited the book, Paper and Colour, Dyes and Dyeing Around the World, which was recently published by The Legacy Press.
- This is an incredible pop-up book based on Euclid’s Geometry by Sjoerd Hofstra. It’s near and dear to my heart, because I made a book based on Euclid’s geometry too.
- Need help getting into the creative groove? I wrote this article: Tips and Tools for Creating a Successful 100 Day Project for the Craft Industry Alliance. I talk about a 100 Day Project I did with paper weaving.
One-Sheet Wonders. This is the premise of my newest book. The Art of Papercraft, which shares all the things that you can make with a sheet of paper (well not all of them)! Here are 10 one-sheet wonders that caught my eye.
- Templatemaker.nl creates templates for all kinds of polygons that can be folded from a single sheet (you can plug your own dimensions into their formulas).
- The Sheet’s A Stage – a project for all ages designed by Paula Beardell Krieg that is featured in The Art of Papercraft. Krieg wrote about the project on her blog Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works.
- Most of us have seen and heard of folding 1000 paper cranes to make a dream come true. Check out these miniature paper cranes by Naoki Onogawa that adorn the branches of bonsai trees.
- Goran Konjevod folds sheets of paper infused with encaustic paint in amazing ways. He’s participated in the 50-50 Show at Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica for a couple of years now, creating 50 new pieces each year and used a few of my abaca sheets in his 2022 collection.
- Did you know that Hans Christian Andersen made paper cuts? He enchanted party guests of all ages with improvised stories as he snipped away, unfolding the sheet at tale’s end, a souvenir for some lucky young listener. Approximately 400 survive, primarily in the Odense City Museums’ large collection.
- These paper puppets are so cute! Learn how to fold them, add facial features, and put on a show!
- Polly Verity’s folds of facial expressions are truly clever.
- A diagnostic test that relies on a strip of filter paper and some cunning origami can quickly distinguish between different variants of SARS-CoV-2.
- You know I’m a proponent of paper, but sometimes it makes sense to argue against it. My husband’s family of origin used paper towels; mine didn’t. He purchases them; I don’t. Here’s a round-up of The Eight Best Alternatives to Paper Towels (hopefully my husband will read this).
- Here’s a uniquely folded one-sheet wonder by Gina Pisello, a Red Lantern.
Artists / Designers /Tinkerers: I once thought I might run out of people to feature on the blog, but I’m convinced that this is a never-ending list. Enjoy these 10 and I’ll introduce you to 10 more next year.
- I love this promotional video by Paper and Pixel in Australia. Check out how Jean Kropper is turning paper into unique promotional materials for her clients.
- At just 16 years old, Valentin Frechka decided to study alternative sources to cellulose production in order to reduce deforestation. He explored options like grass or straw until one day, he noticed the leaves in the forest where he lives in the Ukraine. Re-Leaf Paper has perfected their take on the paper bag, which are now sold worldwide.
- The Mingei International Museum looks like a fun place to visit. Check out these wonderful paper bag hats by moses.
- I met Travis Nolan when he was about 15 years old at a papermaking/origami event with Paper For Water in Dallas, TX. Travis is now studying biology and geology (with a goal of becoming a paleontologist) at Southern Methodist University. He’s an origami olympian.
- Sandro Tiberi announces on his website: “I do not make paper, I mold desires. It is not paper, it is the substance of dreams.“ Recommended by Nelia Palma.
- Airgami masks are not paper, but they are a one-sheet wonder. Robert Lang (an origami master) helped Richard Gordon create a computer program to automate the creasing for these masks, which have won several awards.
- Charles Young started creating architectural models in paper as a daily project and continued, with some breaks, until he had 1000 models. All of the models are made using 200gsm watercolour paper and PVA glue. His daily method allows for rapid construction and exploration of diverse areas of architecture, pushing the possibilities of paper.
- When dumped in landfills, paper is one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gasses. Two brothers in Kenya are saving old newspapers from that fate by turning them into pencils that feel like they’re made with real wood. Not only that, but they are donating many of their pencils to schools.
- Watercolour artist Vaishali Chudasama and miniature paper cut artist Nayan Shrimaliis are creating an ongoing series of 100 miniature paper artworks, marking the importance of and appreciation for pollinators and all kinds of natural creatures.
- Oh my gosh! Check out these shadows on paper that inspire fun illustrations by Belgian artist and filmmaker Vincent Bal.
Tutorials + Classes: There are endless possibilities for what you can make from/with/of/on paper. Here are just a few ideas.
- Hattifant teaches you to make simple and addictive paper globes from three strips of paper. Recommended by Susan Buhler-Maki.
- Cecelia Louie of Paper Zen offers tutorials on quilling and many other folding and cutting paper projects. Recommended by Susan Buhler-Maki.
- This re-usable pillow box is inspired by Japanese furoshiki – a container that can be used a number of times. Here’s a printable pdf for a furoshiki design by Susan Niner Janes.
- I hosted three free mini Zoom workshops this past year. Catch the replays and create your own: 1. Pop-Up Landscape Card 2. Spinning Flower Card and 3. Cube Light.
- What the heck is a hexakaidecagon? Learn how to make one!
- Domestika offers a Design Your Own Paper Lamp course, by paper-folding artist Kate Colin. Recommended by Nelia Palma.
- I love how Jo Nakashima creates uniquely colored origami designs with double-sided sheets of paper. You’ll find detailed instructions on folding your own versions of intricate designs, but take note of this warning: “Although I call it ‘simplified,’ it doesn’t mean it is simple: it is just simpler than the original version, but actually it is still a bit complex.”
- Paper engineer Shawn Sheehy has a plethora of original pop-up cards you can make in his online shop.
- Paula Beardell Krieg shared this clever Cube with Curves recently. I enjoy following her paper explorations on her Bookzoompa blog.
- The Paper & Book Intensive is like summer camp for book and paper artists. Registration opens on January 1st. Don’t delay! This event sells out quickly.
Inspiring Projects: It is truly amazing to witness the ideas that people come up with to contemplate what is happening in our world and to make it a better place via paper.
- This is a touching project that I’ve written about before. It is becoming all too poignant. Soul Boxes fold gun-violence grief into origami boxes.
- This is an intriguing project: an art exhibition consisting of 1,000 origami paper cranes and 333 Japanese haiku poems that will grow and flock month by month. The year-long project related to Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee.
- Peter Jacobs has created a collage from daily newspapers every single day, uninterrupted, for nearly 18 straight years.
- Wowza! James Nolan Gandy created this hand-built drawing machine that makes fascinating mechanical drawings (on paper).
- I love the sentiments of Samuelle Green, who recycles hundreds of thousands of discarded sheets of paper into millions of hand-rolled cones and builds fantastic cave installations.
- Labora is a company that creates handmade paper cards, and their seed papers are beautifully printed and filled with thoughtfulness: “Our mission is to encourage people to share positive messages around the world. We make cards that inspire people to keep in touch in a thoughtful, personal, and meaningful way. Combining illustrations with calligraphy and typography, we hope to add some beauty to the world.”
- An inventor at 3M has come up with an alternative to bubble wrap. Check out Cushion Lock, which is made from paper.
- Did you ever wonder where the archives of artists end up? Shereen LaPlantz (1947-2003) was an internationally recognized book artist, basket weaver, author, and teacher. Her archives are at the University of Puget Sound, and you can learn a lot from this catalog entry.
- I love this Marshmallow Seat by Yiran Li Design – the upholstery is handmade paper. Scroll down at the link to see her process photos.
- Andrew Dewar invents clever paper toys. These ramp walking dinosaurs (propelled by gravity) are amazing!
Videos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does that make a video worth? Here are 10 videos in a variety of formats that I think are valuable to watch.
- Paper on Skin invites Australian and international artists to embrace the challenge of designing a wearable garment made from at least 80% paper. This competition has been going on for 10 years, and in 2022 they created a Paper on Skin Film documenting all 34 finalists’ garments.
- This a lovely video that captures the transition from traditional to contemporary paper in Japan: New Directions for Washi: The Sustainable, Elegant Use of Paper.
- This video is narrated in French, but you don’t have to speak it to see the amazing paper works in the exhibition, Paperholic: Obsession Paper. Recommended by Nelia Palma.
- BBC Radio has a show called Free Thinking, and recently there was an episode about paper. The riddle at the beginning is fantastic! The host, Laurence Scott, explores the cultural and social history of paper, from the Chinese Han Dynasty in 105 AD to the 20th-century workplace with several guests with an expertise in paper.
- I love this! A man and his daughter used to go to Pearl Beach every day to spend time there, amazed by the beauty of the city’s skyline. His daughter, also passionate about origami, had the idea: “What if I built an origami the same size as the huge buildings of the city?” During Covid, Rohith Jagadisha reimagined Dubai at the inspiration of his daughter, and the resulting video went viral.
- I completed a community installation, Step Into the Light, that was on view during the summer of 2022 at Anything Wright Farms, a library in Denver. This video documents the construction of the giant lantern.
- This is a great overview of traditional papermaking in Vietnam and how one village is trying to keep it alive. I included some Zo paper in one of my curated paper collections in 2021, so some of you have a sheet of paper from this village!
- This is a great video about the Akari Light Sculptures that Isamu Noguchi designed for the town of Mino, Japan. If you’re in NYC, make a trek across the East River to the Noguchi Museum, a wonderful sculpture garden and museum that used to be Noguchi’s studio.
- Peter Dahmen’s Dream Faire pop-up sculpture for the Netflix animation film “Wendell & Wild” is amazing!
- This video from Papayareusables (reusable paper towels) is so clever (and the soundtrack takes me down memory lane)!
Tools & Supplies: Here’s an eclectic list of tools and supplies for papermaking and paper crafts.
- You can cut perfect circles up to 6-3/4″ with this Ev-R-Round Circle Cutter. Sometimes you need bigger circles – get the extension and cut up to 15-3/4″ rounds.
- If you’re into paper weaving, check out this clever needle tool from Germany, where paper weaving is common in the classroom (available through Washi Arts here in the states).
- While you’re on the Washi Arts site, you might be interested in this fine tip Japanese PIT glue pen for tacking down the ends of woven paper strips.
- Sandy Fischer is growing flax in Northern California using regenerative agricultural techniques. She is selling the flax tow (as well as other products) for artists like papermakers who are interested in using it. I have just started experimenting with it, it beats very quickly and makes a lovely, rattly, golden paper. I have also experimented with it for high-shrinkage sculpture and love it. Recommended by Michelle Wilson.
- Stephanie Hare makes a gorgeous line of made-to-order magnetic moulds & deckles that are designed for making multiple sheets (think wedding invitations, greeting cards, envelopes and business cards).
- I visited with Don Farnsworth of Magnolia Editions earlier this year, and he was couching handmade watermarked sheets onto Evolon. If you have problems with couching, this looks like a great material!
- There are so many Exacto knives to choose from, but I always come back to the standard #11 blade. Did you know that you can sharpen those blades?
- This is my go-to glue applicator, and it’s refillable!
- I love my Scor Pal for accurate scoring of small sheets of paper.
- I use this Olfa Rotary Cutter to cut both wet and dry papers.
Helen Hiebert Studio in Red Cliff, Colorado. Photo by Red Cliff Paper Retreat participant Dell Combs.
About Helen Hiebert Studio: My interest in how things are made (from paper) keep me up to date on current paper trends, which I write about weekly on this blog. I also host the podcast Paper Talk, featuring artists and professionals who are working in the field of hand papermaking and paper art.
Discover my most popular papermaking and papercraft resources – including information about tools and supplies, how-to videos, and paper tips – all in one place by joining The Paper Advisor (it’s FREE)! You are also welcome to join my free facebook group, The Paper Studio, where we share what we’re making with paper on Flaunt it Fridays!
I run The Paper Year, an online membership program, where we explore creative paper techniques each month in a supportive community. I’m also the author of six books about paper crafts and papermaking, and I offer an annual paper retreat and host two papermaking master classes in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each summer and fall.
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