Happy New Year! Whether you’re just discovering this blog or you’ve followed it from the beginning (we’re coming up on Post #500!!) thank you for following along on this paper journey.
This is the third 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!
O-Gami papers are crisp, strong, beautiful, and perfect for anyone who wants a superior folding paper. Paper Circle makes these 100% abaca handmade sheets in a variety of richly pigmented colors.
- 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 Helen Spielman.
French Paper is a commercial mill in the US. They have started selling multi-packs – you get a selection of several colors – which makes it easy to explore their paper collections.
Kozo Studio in Thailand creates a wide variety of handmade and decorative machine-made kozo papers. Free shipping on orders over $99.
Think of a special wish and write it on Flying Wish Paper, and then shape your paper into a tube and place it on a platform. Light the top edge of the tube and watch it burn down in a small, beautiful flame.
Rock Paper is a unique substrate that is waterproof, cuts, folds and embosses well, and you can work on it with a variety of media. Some sheets are translucent, and the small sheets come in lovely colors.
Acuity Papers is a family owned online retailer of Fine Art Paper. They carry a wide selection of printmaking and drawing papers from around the world.
Ilan Garibi and Gadi Vishne, over at Happy Folding, have evaluated over two dozen common and uncommon origami papers and gathered together information about sourcing, prices, and which techniques the paper is best for. Recommended by Madonna Yoder.
The Handmade Paper Exchange is an annual paper swap of full sheets of handmade paper. Send some, get some! Deadline is January 15.
- Origami-Shop (in France) has a fantastic selection of unusual papers for origami, along with some of the best books on the subject.
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.
- The pieces I’ve seen that were inspired by Paula Krieg’s recent series of Seminole Patchwork with Paper are incredible. I love how she had an idea and developed it with her online community.
There are so many ways to weave paper! Look at how Sia Hurtigkari is exploring scale, color, and finish.
- Chilean artist Catalina Swinburn’s elaborate sculptures use thousands of pieces of folded paper to explore world history. She is drawn to ideas around migration and displacement, turning material derived from books, documents, and maps into large-scale wall pieces and intricate, robe-like compositions.
- Get a glimpse into how Awagami Factory creates handmade paper for a collection of gorgeous wallets for the company PostalCo.
- This work, by Sanaa Gateja, is created from rolled paper beads. The production of his materials provides sustainable employment for craftswomen across Uganda.
- Xavier Casalta creates his works on paper, one dot at a time. He estimates that a recent piece contains about 48 million dots of meticulously stippled black ink.
- This is a lovely profile of Ramona Garcia, who hosts workshops to teach others about the history of the traditional Mexican paper mache doll and incorporates art therapy to promote mental health.
- Colette Fu was artist-in-residence at BIMA and created this giant pop-up book called 许愿树 (Wishing Tree).
- Yulia Brodskaya never ceases to amaze! Over the past year, the artist has developed a series in which she portrays the “people of Gaia”—a hopeful vision of what people will be like in the future – using her unique paper quilling technique.
- I have enjoyed watching the evolution of Matt Shlian’s sculptural work with paper over the years.
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. Many of these are repeats, and they’re worth repeating! Here are ten blogs and organizations that spread the love of paper.
- The International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) is a membership organization for paper artists.
- Ann Martin delights in showcasing the very best paper art and craft created by worldwide artisans via the Artist Spotlight series on her allthingspaper.net blog. Also featured are step by step paper craft tutorials, the latest paper art and paper craft books, as well as round ups of paper jewelry, handmade ornaments, paper crafting kits, etc. She sends out a colorful newsletter every three weeks that’s loaded with even more paper-y goodness. Subscribe to her newsletter.
- 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.
- Trish Witkowski is ending her popular Fold of the Week series after 15 years. What an amazing run, and all 655 inspirational episodes (plus the 10 last ones that are coming out soon) will always available to view.
- 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.
- Do you listen to my podcast, Paper Talk? This past year, I conducted 17 interviews with papermakers, paper engineers, origami artists, surface designers, book artists and authors.
- Papercraft Miracles is a woman-owned small business in Buffalo that creates sustainable handmade paper & stationery, handcrafted paper flowers, handbound books and plantable seed bombs.
- The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center hosts a popular annual Illustrated Accordion exhibition. Entries are due on January 22.
Books/Magazines/Articles: My collection of books about paper continues to grow, and I have catalogued them on Library Thing. Here are ten new faves, some in my collection, some on my wish list.
Pattern & Flow, by Mindell Dubansky, chronicles the flourishing of American decorated paper arts beginning in the 1960s and extending to the 2000s and showcases marbled paper, paste paper, fold-and-dye papers, and more.
- The Art and Art Therapy of Papermaking: Material, Methods, and Applications, by Drew Matott and Gretchen Miller, provides a comprehensive collection about the contemporary practices, media, and value of hand papermaking as social engagement, art therapy, and personal voice.
Kelsey Pike’s new book, Modern Papermaking, makes the craft relatively easy and accessible since all the essential tools and supplies can be DIY’d, recycled, and thrifted. It provides all you need to start making paper.
The heroine in The Paper Magician is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic and learns to fold animated paper creatures, among other things.
- Laura Russell’s limited edition artist’s book, Exquisite Warriors celebrates 26 women battling Parkinson’s Disease. This book is an empowering exploration of exquisite women! All profits from this edition will be donated to an organization supporting women with PD.
National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart’s new book, My Life in Paper: Adventures in Ephemera, is a memoiristic inquiry into the ways in which paper shapes and holds our lives via a series of letters written to the late Dard Hunter.
Papermaker’s Tears, Essays on the Art & Craft of Paper, V2, edited by Tatiana Ginsberg, is now available from The Legacy Press.
Beatrix Mapalagama has published a beautiful book about her work at the Papierwespe in Vienna over the past few decades. This book is filled with photos of inspirational ways of working with paper developed by Mapalagama and others.
- Uppercase Magazine released Volume R, Rag & Pulp, in their Encyclopedia of Inspiration series as told through beautiful imagery and inspiring stories and interviews.
In an age of AI and digital overload, the humble notebook is more relevant than ever. I’m looking forward to reading The Notebook, A History of Thinking on Paper, by Roland Allen, when it comes out.
One-Sheet Wonders. Something that has captivated me throughout my career is how many ways a single sheet of paper can be transformed! Here are 10 one-sheet wonders that caught my eye.
Uashmama’s Toge Toge Lampshades are flat sheets of their signature washable paper that velcro together and fit perfectly around a standard wine glass. They come in fun colors and are illuminated with a tea light.
I am totally entranced every time I see one of David Umemoto’s designs. He sells architectural DIY templates through his company, No-Bu-Ru.com.
Sho Shibuya creates paintings on the front page of the NY Times – creating a visual and emotional interpretation of the news.
I love Paul Spencer’s Twistmas Trees (sold out for this season, but still cool to look at).
- Gina Pisello shares a few new tutorials on her blog each year. I enjoyed these Spiral Boxes.
- This is an interesting story about folded paper triangles.
- João Charrua folds human faces from single sheets of paper. I love what he says about paper folding: “Origami requires rational and sequential thought, where each fold goes to form part the whole, and they all have to come together to produce the final result.”
- Paula Beardell Krieg made a video tutorial for one of the projects in The Art of Papercraft – the Pleated Display Stand designed by Hedi Kyle. Paula’s got some clever additional tips for the project and paper recommendations too. Share a photo if you make one!
- Check out the July/August issue of Popular Mechanics, featuring an animated paper airplane.
- Pulpatronics tackles single-use electronics with paper RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags.
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.
- Paper Life! Ocean is a series of paper sculptures by Tina Kraus who is thinking about how the climate crisis, pollution, and the loss of biodiversity have already had a big impact on nature and life on this planet.
- This is a lovely profile of Ruma Choudhury, who runs a company called Paper Nest. Through her extensive research in Birbhum in West Bengal, India, she has been able to successfully procure fibers from 38 natural resources which are indigenous to this district.
- Here’s something to make you smile! These monumental paper installations by Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen bring vibrant flora indoors.
- Marieke de Hoop runs PapierLab in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She has been making and experimenting with paper for the past 40 years using traditional papermaking techniques. De Hoop works with other artists and makers to create unique, beautiful and sustainable papers and products.
- I enjoyed this interview with Shigeru Ban on Heidi Zuckerman’s podcast, About Art. He constructs entire buildings with cardboard.
- Kelli Anderson started a monthly good mail club this year. I always look forward to receiving her monthly paper experiment, which ranges from paper contraptions to small pop-up books, magic tricks, zines and art prints.
- HiiH Lights makes gorgeous lighting fixtures in Oregon. They bring together the function of light, the craft of handmade paper, and the art of sculpture. Handcrafted in Astoria, Oregon, their designs are in residential and commercial settings, as well as galleries throughout the country.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota artist Liz Sexton creates sculptures that blur the line between the animal kingdom and human life. Working with paper mâché, she creates large masks of fish, birds, and mammals that are meant to be worn.
Check out this fantastic profile of Amos Paul Kennedy on Hyperallergic.
Paper flowers seem to be all the rage these days, but I haven’t seen anything quite like these. Arnold Drake turns paper napkins into beautiful flowers and brings joy to people in coffee shops around Portland as they watch him make his art.
Tutorials + Classes: There are endless possibilities for what you can make from/with/of/on paper. Here are just a few ideas.
- Janine Vangool, editor of Uppercase Magazine uses earth friendly packaging to ship her magazines, but she’s gone one step further to develop a series of tutorials that encourage subscribers to reuse the mailers.
- I hosted three free mini Zoom workshops this past year. Catch the replays and create your own: 1. Faceted Map Ring 2. Crown Lantern 3. Pleated Paper Card 4. Tea Light Topper
- There are several book arts centers across the US that offer workshops in books arts, printing, tool making, papermaking, letter arts and more. The San Francisco Center for the Book, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Center for Book Arts NYC, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center are a few that come to mind. What have I missed?
- Cathryn Miller created a new series of papery Advent tutorials for 2023. Here’s the index to all 25.
- Mariela has been generously providing origami tutorials on her YouTube channel, OrigamiManiacs, since 2011. Not only is she teaching how to fold amazing origami structures but she also invites the masters of origami from all over the world to share and teach their structures. Recommended by Jade Quek.
- Kit Davey makes playful art to spread delight across the planet. She offers live online workshops in book arts every couple of weeks.
- Matthew Reinhart’s endless enthusiasm for paper is infectious. He’s got loads of tutorials over on his YouTube channel.
- Madonna Yoder at Gathering Folds creates amazing tessellations and teaches origami folders the principles behind folding, reverse engineering, and designing tessellations so they can fold whatever patterns they like.
Megumi Lorna Inouye’s upcoming book, The Soul of Giftwrapping comes out in April, 2024, but here’s a sneak peak project – How to Wrap a Book without Tape.
- Check out these Skillshare courses by Clarissa Grandi, who plays around with geometry and mixed media and teaches others this fantastically accessible art form.
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.
- Bruce Foster created a giant (8 foot tall) pop-up book for the for the Christmas service at Crossroads Church. Check out the four spreads: a winter scene, the Nativity, theThree Wise Men, and the Crown of our King of Kings.
This is a great story about a company in India that is providing sustainable employment to rural women. Itsy Bitsy is a scrapbooking company and the biggest consumer of handmade paper in the country.
How cool is this? Since 2015, the arts nonprofit Visual AIDS has celebrated Valentine’s Day with women living with HIV through LOVE POSITIVE WOMEN (LPW), a grassroots initiative that uses the holiday as a backdrop for activism and advocacy through community kinship and artistry. With the help of Brooklyn-based paper-making mill Dieu Donné, LPW invited artists, activists, and community members to design hand-crafted Valentine’s Day cards to distribute internationally to women living with HIV.
“Around 1,300 years ago, a woman leant over a precious book, and etched some letters into the margin, along with some cartoonish drawings. She didn’t use ink – she scratched them in, so they were almost invisible to the naked eye. Until last year, no-one knew they were there…” Now, researchers are able to “see” these etchings thanks to a new imaging technology at the Bodleian Library, which can map the physical texture and contours of a book page, manuscript, or the surface of other historical objects such as printing plates.
Who knew that mathematicians were searching for a shape that never repeats itself (of course they were)! The guy behind the discovery of ‘The Einstein Tile’, David Smith, is a retired printing technician who spent a lot of time at home cutting shapes out of paper and experimenting with them. The National Museum of Mathematics in New York and the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust in London then asked members of the public for their most creative renditions of an einstein. A couple of the finalists used paper!
Nearly 4 million origami hearts were displayed at the complex of the famed Angkor Archaeological Park in northwest Cambodia’s Siem Reap province to show support for the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Graveyards are increasingly becoming a matter of concern for the environment. You can contribute to nature and show your responsibility towards the generations to come before reaching the grave. Ecopod Coffins are made from 100% recycled paper.
I have no words for all of the (unnecessary) pain and suffering in the world. We humans just keep messing up! Heather Dearman is CEO of the 7/20 Memorial Foundation (her cousin Ashley was paralyzed in the Aurora, CO shooting, and Ashley’s daughter Veronica and unborn baby were killed). One of the things the foundation does is fold paper cranes, each with a message of love and support, turning them into wreaths to be sent out to communities impacted by a mass shooting. You can participate in the Paper Crane Peace Project.
- This article shares the interesting history of paper balloons (kamifusen). They are a specialty of Izumozaki, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, where they have been produced for more than 100 years.
- Alexis Arnold’s Crystallized Books transform novels, guides, and maps into gleaming sculptures that consider how we value and use objects. Arnold submerges found books into a hot bath of water and borax. When water boils, its molecules expand, and as the saturated water cools again, the molecules shrink and any excess borax crystallizes. Out of the pools come books coated with dense, translucent clusters that stabilize the objects as warped, crinkled mounds.
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.
- David Martinez is a Venezulean programmer who is a dreamer and paper folder residing in Bogota, Colombia. He very generously shares his origami creations both on Instagram and YouTube. Recommended by Jade Quek.
- The wearable paper artworks created by finalists in the Paper on Skin™ competition demonstrate the incredible versatility of paper and the innovative capacity of the artists. As a special treat for international audiences, films have been made of all of the works (and the gala parade), allowing the wearability and craftsmanship to be viewed in detail. Paper on Skin™ is held in Devonport, Tasmania (AUS). Recommended by Diane Britt and Lyndal Thorne.
Did you know I have a YouTube channel? I always like to say that making paper is one third set up, one third making, and one third clean up, so this Papermaking Series features videos in all three areas.
I’ve followed the career of Sarah Brayer, who lives in Kyoto, since my early days at Dieu Donné Papermill in NYC. This piece follows the fabrication of her fusuma-e (sliding partition pulp paintings) for a Zen temple in Kyoto.
- Many of you have seen this, but it’s always fun to watch Papermaking on Sesame Street! Look for a familiar (although much younger) face and listen to the catchy tune.
I enjoyed this fascinating lecture (recorded at the Cincinnati Asian Art Society) by Diane Maurer, artist, teacher and author, who tells the story of her career in teaching, demonstrating and writing books about decorative paper.
Here’s a new video about Polly Verity’s work. I love how she explains that she doesn’t like to pre-plan – she likes the freshness, or spontaneity, of making folds or creases and seeing what happens.
- Felon: An American Washi Tale debuted recently at Princeton. This one-person show features the poetry of Reginald Dwayne Betts and a paper kite set created by Kyoko Ibe, the artist behind a previous rendition of Recycling: Washi Tales. The through line is Elise Thoron, the NY writer and director of both pieces. Watch the video about the project here.
- Ann Manuel is working on a lovely paper installation called Breath, consisting of hundreds of seed pods and flowers. The work was inspired by the experience of witnessing her mother’s final breath — and her mother’s dying wish to see the flowers from her garden preserved.
- Click through to watch a lovely video about the Living Seashore that Jane Kim created (with paper) for the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I love how she talks about art and how it can make things that are hard-to-see (like underwater animals) visible.
Tools & Supplies: Here’s an eclectic list of tools and supplies for papermaking and paper crafts.
- Shanna Leino manufactures a small line of hand tools for bookbinders and craftspeople that are as beautiful as they are functional.
- Need a sugeta for Japanese Papermaking? Carriage House has you covered!
- I love my press from Arnold Grummers – it can press small sheets of handmade paper as well as books, flowers, and other small items that need pressing.
- I get several adhesives from Washi Arts: this double-sided tape, rice starch paste in a tube and this tapioca starch glue stick.
Hollanders in Michigan specialize in handmade papers and bookmaking supplies. Recommended by Tess Hall.
Talas in NYC has a wonderful and wide range of supplies of handmade papers and bookmaking supplies at reasonable prices. Recommended by Tess Hall.
- Eco Enclose is an innovator in eco-friendly packaging and shipping supplies, and they have great customer service. They offer free samples (but they ask you to pay for shipping – I think that’s fair).
- Colophon Book Arts Supply sells everything you need for bookbinding, box making and marbling. I’m a big fan of their Londonderry linen thread spools – I think I have one in each color!
- I’m a big fan of all kinds of attachments and connections. Eyelet Outlet sells a wide variety of decorative brads, which are a fun way to connect sheets of paper. I purchase colorful eyelets from them, too.
- I use these bulldog clips to hold things together as I work, especially when creating lampshades. Their flat surfaces come in handy for clipping them to shade frames without leaving a mark.
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. My other popular online class is called Weave Through Winter – this course takes place each February as we explore the art and craft of paper weaving. 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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