Paper has been manipulated for ages (think origami) but there are a surprising number of techniques that artists and craftspeople have employed to coerce paper into incredible shapes and forms. And paper is the real hero here, because of it’s amazing properties. Before I get started, I want to mention an artist who manipulates paper to a tee: Jocelyn Chateauvert. Look her up – you won’t be disappointed!
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Some of these books were written awhile ago, but they still have great content! Let me know if you have a favorite book about maniuplating paper, and I’ll consider adding it to the next Best-of-List.
And by the way, click here to see the growing list of the Best-of-Lists. I’m creating one a month and this is number six!
Donald Farnsworth, 1997
Farnsworth runs Magnolia Editions in Oakland, CA and has written widely about Japanese papermaking. This self-published book is a gem that covers how to make momigami, a crumpled paper which has been used in Japan for slothing, umbrellas, wallets, purses and other craft items which demand extremely durable papers. The book guides the reader through the making of a paste to coat the paper with, the crumpling technique, and ideas for decorating momigami. There are also instructions for making several projects, including a portfolio, a wallet and a card case.
I took a workshop with Jiyoung Chung a few years ago. She is a master of the Korean technique of joomchi, an ancient technique of joining layers of hanji paper by rubbing, squeezing and agitating the fibers, causing them to tangle and bond (similar to felting). The book is filled with instructions for both the traditional methods and contemporary applications, plus an impressive photo gallery of 2D and 3D work.
Benjamin DiLeonardo-Parker, 2016
Be ready for a challenge if you want to tackle these pleated paper projects. This is one of those books where you need to start at the beginning and work your way through. Parker covers the basics of preparing paper for pleating, shows us how to do basic gridding, pleating and six simple twists. He then delves deeper, describing in detail how to use the six simple twists and then go beyond to create fantastically folded sheets. The book includes a bibliography with other books on the subject.
Ruth Singer, 2013
The next two books aren’t about paper, but if you look at the cover of this one, I think you’ll see why I’ve added them to the list. They are full of inspiration! This book has 150 creative sewing techniques, and many of them would work with paper. I use my sewing machine on paper all the time, but you could also substitute other fasteners or adhesives (or just crease the paper)! Singer shows us how to fold, tuck, gather, pleat and manipulate fabric, i.e. paper.
Colette Wolff, 1996
The main difference between this book and the one listed above is that the photos in this book are in black and white. But I don’t think that takes away from the content. It is chock full of images and detailed diagrams to keep you busy for years to come! If you are into hand stitching on fabric (which you can also do on paper) there is a nice glossary of hand stitches in the appendix. If I were going to choose between these two books (I own both) I’d choose this one, but it’s a close call.
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