One Square Foot of Wildflowers

One Square Foot of Wildflowers

The Sunday Paper #354

March 7, 2021

Paper of the Week: Wild Abaca

This wild abaca paper (I sometimes call it abaca leather) is an unusual paper I developed years ago. I had been air drying abaca with embedded strings and wires, and I decided to try misting and restraint drying a few air dried sheets without embedded objects. The result was this new paper that was translucent, textured, and strong. I’m making a batch now for an artist who is doing an incredible project – documenting the tragedy of lives lost in New York due to Covid – and while I’m at it, I will make some extra sheets. Let me know if you’re interested ($15/14″ x 17″ sheet; $10/10″ x 14″ sheet).


In the Studio: 

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jamie Thome of Artist’s Book House in Evanston, IL for their book artist series. This is an audio and video interview where I talk about my journey with paper that began in 1985 on an exchange program in Germany. Find parts one and two here.

On a related note, Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry – I highly recommend both books – and her team at Artists Book House just won a competition to enter into negotiations for a long-term lease of the Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston, IL. This is fantastic news for the book arts community!


Papery Tidbits:

  • I love the concept behind the new paper shop, Letterpress Play, in Austin, TX.


To provide residents with an immersive outdoor art experience last month, Canal Shores Golf Course in Evanston, IL hosted Winter Wonderland, a nature art display across the golf course’s 18 holes. Jamie Thome, (mentioned above – a board member of Artists Book House) started her art piece by tying two small paper books to the branches of a tree, and other members of ABH added their work to the tree too.

Courtesy of Jamie Thome: A piece of the Artists Book House tree. Artist Mardy Sears created a heart-shaped book insulated in a Plexiglass box.

Hadi Fallahpisheh goes into a pitch dark room without vision and draws with a flashlight on photo paper. The resulting work becomes conceptual and political, and there is this beautiful promise, or dream, that you go through darkness, not able to see anything, yet you have full freedom to do anything.


Check out this new Airwick campaign created by Havas New York: each scene consists of miniature props and puppets that were hand crafted from environmentally friendly materials, natural based paints and recycled paper to create a unique story that encourages people to plant wildflowers.

Rosemary Karuga’s collage work depicts pastoral and domestic African scenes. She was one of the pioneers who made major contributions to contemporary art on the continent. Click through to see more of her delightful collages.

© Karuga Family/Red Hill Art Gallery

This is a fascinating profile of Hanne Tierney, an artist who morphed into a gallerist and is committed to showing middle-age women and Black artists at FiveMyles in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Try It! Panel Shade online class, Playing With Pop-Ups, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, and Tangram watermark paper.


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  1. Greta Movassaghi says:

    Yes Helen, I would like some of the abaca you are making. I think 3-10×14 sheets.

    Thanks for all you do for our continued learning!


  2. Listened to the ABH interviews – so great to hear how community is such an important part of your projects. The warmth is apparent:)