In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows

The Sunday Paper #508

May 12, 2024

Happy Mother’s Day!

Look what happened this week. It was snowing when I drove up to the studio on Tuesday – but I was sure it wouldn’t stick. It became increasingly snowier and windier as the day progressed, so I decided to head back home (down the mountain road). What usually takes 20 minutes took more like an hour – with stuck semis, a snowplow off the road (!) and several fire fighters directing traffic.

In contrast, here’s today’s view.  That’s spring in the Rockies!


I had the pleasure of interviewing Megumi Inouye on Paper Talk. She is a gift wrapping and packaging artist who is known for her sustainable wrapping designs and creative innovations. Inouye encourages repurposing, utilizing everyday things around us and using organic and recyclable items. She attributes her passion for gift wrapping to her Japanese heritage and the cultural values that underlie the meaning behind the art of giving. Our discussion centered around her new book, The Soul of Giftwrapping. Enjoy our conversation!


The lovely light works of Aline Dalgleish are currently on display at Khaas Gallery in Islamabad, Pakistan. From the artist’s statement: “Combining memories from the past and recent creations, this collection of Light Sculptures and other Paper Works is an expression of a scramble through the gloom and an attempt to see beyond, to touch the essence of things, that inner light, always present, always elusive. It is also an expression of the reassurance that however enclosing the darkness, the tiniest pinprick of light can never be overcome.” I wish I could view this show in person!


I have made some fun discoveries while working on the manuscript for my upcoming book about paper weaving. I taught at Arrowmont about 10 years ago, the week after Jackie Abrams taught a basket making course. Strips of paper were still in the trash can when I arrived, and I learned that she used a pasta machine to cut paper (how brilliant – to be able to cut multiple fettuccini-width strips). I was curious about who came up with the idea, and Shereen LaPlantz’s name came up during my investigation. Shereen and Jackie have both passed away, so I reached out to Shereen’s husband, David, who got right back to me via email to tell me that he remembered helping Shereen cut microwood (a paper-backed wood veneer) with a pasta machine! I still don’t know for certain whether Shereen was the first, but it was fun to go down that little rabbit hole.

David and I exchanged several emails, and he sent me Shereen’s book, Twill Basketry, which features baskets made with reeds, plants and microwood. The page spread above shows folded baskets (one-sheet wonders that you weave flat and then form) and her models are definitely made with paper. I never had the opportunity to meet Shereen – I did speak to her once, asking for advice about writing how-to books – but I’m delighted that she left so many resources for us. Be sure to look her up – she wrote several books on basketry and book making.


Check out the Twisting Lights that Paper Year members created in April. The Paper Year will open for registration again in July. Hold Your Spot.


Paper Tidbits


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  1. MaryLu Lee says:

    I studied with Shereen LaPlantz in her Northern California home back around 1998-2000. She taught a small group of us over 6 weekends, spring and fall, for her three year artists books course. It was a wonderful, memorable experience that introduced me to all the basics. She was a gifted teacher, a multitalented artist, with a dynamic personality, and I am forever grateful to her and my fellow students for introducing me to this amazing world of handmade book arts. She left us far too soon. Her husband David is also a very talented artist, now living in Santa Fe.