Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

The Sunday Paper #370

Happy 4th of July to those of you in America. I know the phrase Let Freedom Ring but had to look up where it came from. It’s the 7th line in a patriotic song called “America” (My Country ‘Tis of Thee) written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, but the melody is much older and has been used for songs in many countries. I’m trying to remember where I learned this: in school, at church? Read my Freedom Message at the end of this post.

July 4, 2021

My membership program, The Paper Year, is open for registration through July 10th. Join us and learn a fun paper technique each month with the support of a creative community. Below you see the projects we’ll be making for the rest of the year, and there’s a sweet little perk: if you join now, you’ll gain access to the library of tutorials for the projects we’ve made between January and June! Click here to watch the video trailer, read more and register.

You can also watch videos to see what participants created in the months of April and May

Here’s a testimonial about the program:

The Paper Year has been a game changer for me. I’m introduced to interesting techniques and new projects every month and have used many of them in my ongoing work. It’s also given me monthly goals, which have helped me stay motivated and productive. Helen is a wonderful teacher and the community is creative and supportive. I look forward to jumping into a unique project every month. – Lisa M.


I had a lovely conversation with Sierra Nevada-based visual artist Andie Thrams on Paper Talk! Andie uses watercolors in wildland forests to create paintings and artist’s books that explore mystery, reverence, and delight, while grappling with vanishing habitats. Merging the lineages of illuminated manuscripts and natural history field journals with a contemporary art and science awareness, her imagery weaves intricate botanical detail into rich layers of shape, color, and hand-lettered text to evoke the complex interconnections within ecosystems of the Greater West. Enjoy our conversation!

Andie Thrams, painting in the backcountry, Kings Canyon National Park, California


You don’t see this every day: sculpture meant to look like paper! The sculpture “Unbound” is a 45-foot aluminum and wire sculpture made to look like paper flying in the air and was created in 2020 by London artist Paul Cocksedge.

Unbound sculpture in front of the Norman Public Library Central.


I love what this 10-year old is doing in India: let her be an example to us adults! India has been a home to a number of young people who are trying to raise awareness and funds for environmental issues like sustainability, endangered species, climate change and pollution. Manya Harsha, a 6th grader, got busy during the pandemic,  recycling the daily kitchen waste into handmade vegetable paper.

Manya took the lead in raising awareness for saving water at a very young age of 8.


This is a fascinating story in The New Yorker about The Sapphire Show, an exhibition that took place on the Fourth of July in 1970, featuring six American artists declaring independence in an Echo Park loft, in Los Angeles. The occasion was the opening night of an exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of Black women.The connection to paper? The only known paper trail is housed in the Archives of American Art, at the Smithsonian: a copy of a flyer announcing the show. Paper is potent!


Paper Tidbits:


In the Studio:

Thank you do those who attended my free zoom session last week, where we made this freedom pop-up card. Bev Gillespie shared her version and gave me permission to share it here, along with her sentiments about freedom:

I was born into the darkest and bitterest time of apartheid: people were separated, families split, individuals categorized. At the  same time the regime enforced segregation, cheap labour and a version of Christian Nationalism. Many people fought against it, from all walks of life. Artists raised awareness, activists organized marches and campaigns. When we finally got a new constitution, one of the best in the world, by many accounts it was a celebration and counterpunch to those decades. No longer could you be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation etc. We still have a long way to go, and economic freedom is very far from too many household. Aluta Continua: The struggle Continues. – B. Gillespie

I think many of us can relate to these words. During the Zoom session, I asked participants type what freedom means to them into the chat. Here are some of the thought provoking responses (plus a few more).

  • Having options to make free choices
  • Freedom: joy to be, to live, to express, to create!
  • Freedom for me is the ability to pursue my passions and fully express who I am
  • Happiness
  • Freedom is the ability for everyone to be who they want to/need to be.
  • Recognizing, appreciating my responsibilities as balanced with my rights!
  • We just watched the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelt family and I regained an appreciation for FDR’s 4 Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

If you would like to make a Freedom Pop-UP Card, you can find the tutorial on my youtube channel. Let FREEdom Ring!


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

The Papermaker’s Companion, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, Playing With Pop-Ups, Playing With Paper


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  1. Lorrie Lane says:

    I learned “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” the first day of kindergarten in 1953. We had a flag ceremony every morning, and it included The Pledge of Allegiance and the song. It was an honor to be chosen to hold the flag. I remember that my music classes in elementary school included learning all the historic and patriotic songs. It was a great way to learn history!

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      I have similar memories. I firmly remember saying the pledge at school, but the song is fuzzier. I am sure we did that with the flag too, but I think I would remember if I held it myself, so I don’t think I did. I wonder if it was just boys who were allowed to do it OR I was so shy, maybe I stood in the back.

  2. Sally Hughes says:

    Hi Helen, I too used to have a flag ceremony every morning at my school. It was at the start of “homeroom time” where attendance was taken and announcements were made. We stood with our hands on our hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance then sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”. This was Buffalo, New York in the 1960s. I don’t know if it’s still done.

    I became a UK citizen last year, just before lockdown, having lived in England in Wales since 2003. After we had all taken our oaths (it was a group ceremony), they played a cassette (!) tape recording of “God Save the Queen”. Of course the words I heard in my head were not “Good save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen…” but “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…”

    I meant to write this last week. I am a long time subscriber to your newsletter and I have most of your books now. I am trying to make the transition from making recycled paper to plant-based paper so that I can use up some of the non-native weeds taking over the area here.

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      Thanks for your note, Sally. Love this story! Best of luck and enjoy making paper with plants.

  3. Sally Hughes says:

    Sorry: England AND Wales