Paper Bullets

Paper Bullets

Laura Shabazz creates pieces like The Red Umbrella from tiny bits of hand-torn paper. Courtesy of Laura Shabazz

The Sunday Paper #344

December 27, 2020

Papermaker of the Week: Nicholas Yeager

Hey papermakers! I’d love to feature you in this column. All you have to do is fill out this form.

Nick Yeager’s ruled-line watermarked hemp fiber paper 11″ x 17″, October, 2020.

Nicholas Yeager has been studying the craft of bookmaking and making books for a long time. Exploring the methods, designs and materials of historic books informs his own artwork. Having studied the history of parchment/vellum making for his BA in Humanities, Yeager has long been interested in how substrates are made and how they have been employed in recording information prior to the digital era. His curiosity about materials and techniques has encompassed every aspect of the book arts, and Yeager expands his knowledge through craft and research. He is currently developing his papermaking skills to replicate a 19th century manual filled with over 1,000 watermarked letters that were used as a guide for students to trace. The ruled-line watermarks, pictured above, are a throwback to 18th century stationery.

In the Studio: Nicole Donnelly on Paper Talk

I had the recent pleasure of interviewing Nicole Donnelly on Paper Talk. Donnelly is a hand papermaker and visual artist specializing in sculptural paper artworks and invasive plant papers. She is the President of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), 2015-2021; and the founder of the creative papermaking studio paperTHINKtank. She is master papermaker for The Brodsky Center at PAFA (2019- present) and for The Brandywine Workshop & Archives (2018-present). She teaches paper and book arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and other institutions. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2009 and her BA from Bennington College. Enjoy our conversation!


Papery Tidbits:

  • I am populating my Youtube channel with Paper Tips. Check out my recent videos on how to fold an accordion and paper grain.
  • Have you checked out The Paper Advisor? Discover my most popular papermaking and papercraft resources – including information about tools and supplies, how-to videos, and paper tips – all in one place!
  • I’m hosting an online event to kick off The Paper Year 2021 on January 3rd at noon my time.
  • Watch the video and read all about The Paper Year. Registration on New Year’s Day!

Did your child or grandchild ask for a pony for Christmas? Hermes Paris made this super fun video showing you how to make a giant origami horse to put under the tree – maybe they’ll get a pony next year?!

Check out the torn paper collage works by Laura Shabazz, who rarely using scissors and believes that ripped edges enhance her work. I agree!

Laura Shabazz creates pieces like The Red Umbrella from tiny bits of hand-torn paper. Courtesy of Laura Shabazz

I’m not a big fan of single-use anything, but since many people are (this company claims that human beings are putting 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves into the environment every month) I guess it makes sense to produce a recyclable, compostable alternative to the face mask. Avro Mask doesn’t call these paper, but they’re made of 100% cellulose, the main ingredient in paper.

Frontline Paper is making paper from healthcare workers’ scrubs during the pandemic. They are applying the same cathartic concept they use with military veterans (transforming uniforms into sheets of paper and works of art) to healthcare workers, who are on a different front line.

A Hero’s Painting-A Tribute to John Lewis. Artwork by veteran and artist Mark Oldland on blue healthcare workers’ scrubs.

Here’s a fascinating book review of Paper Bullets, a story about two artists who risked their lives during WWII. They disseminated notes — on windshields, in mailboxes, in the pews of churches and even, most daringly, in people’s pockets — that were painstakingly composed on slips of cigarette rolling papers because real writing paper was rationed during the war.


The Paper Year opens for registration on January 1st and will continue through January 10th. Since this is a subscription program, you can only join a few times during the year. I’m excited to get started!

Next Sunday, January 3rd, I’m hosting a free live online Zoom event to ring in the new year and kick off The Paper Year 2021. Everyone is welcome! I’ll be showing you how to make this pop-up paper lantern, and I’ll answer your questions about The Paper Year. Register for the event, and I’ll send you a supply list so you can create this lantern with me. Together, we’ll brighten the new year!


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

All About The Paper Year 2021 Subscription Club, Try It! Shadow Lantern Workshop, Playing With Pop Ups, Handle With Care


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  1. Jo says:

    Thanks for all your paper inspirations each week. I followed the link to see large origami horse being folded and could not find it. Am I missing something.

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      Hi Jo, I think Hermes has updated that page. That post is 3 years old, so the paper horse tutorial was there way back then, but I’m not seeing it anymore either. Sorry to disappoint!