Paper Effigies

Paper Effigies

Koh Eng Keat and his father often build elaborate papier-mâché mansions, like this one. The mansions are one of their most common commissions.

The Sunday Paper #450

March 5, 2023

Thanks to everyone who has already sent me map strips! What fun it is to receive snail mail and your lovely messages. This warrants another shout out about my map project, as I’ll be collecting strips for awhile. As they say, the more the merrier! Here’s a photo of what I received this week. It’s so fun to see the handwriting, stamps and security envelope patterns, too.

I am about to begin working on a how-to book about paper weaving. In conjunction, I am launching my next project – a collaborative paper weaving. I’m collecting map strips with messages from participants around the world which I will weave into a large wall piece representing our collective planet. I hope to feature this weaving in the book and to exhibit it.

You can help by sending me your maps!

Here’s what I need:

  • Cut a map strip that is 1” (2.5CM) wide and 12” – 24″ (30 – 60CM) long.
  • I hope to collect strips from all over the world. Your strip does not have to be local – think global. I’d love to have map strips from your travels.
  • You can send as many strips as you wish (from different places).
  • It is fine to fold your strips and tuck them into a small envelope.
  • The paper needs to be in good condition so that I can weave it – no brittle maps please.
  • Write the place that your map represents and a “vision for our world” on the back of your strip. Use any medium you like that does not bleed through to the other side, and write in your language of choice. Add doodles or drawings if you wish.
  • Include your name and e-mail address on a separate sheet in the envelope so that I can credit you and keep in touch about the project.

Send your strips to: Helen Hiebert Studio, 113 Mill Loft St. Unit C213, Edwards, CO 81632 by April 15, 2023.

Save the rest of your map – I’ll be hosting a free zoom workshop to teach you how to make a unique weaving in the near future.

This is a global community project – please tell your friends. Let’s see if we can get a map strip from each corner of the earth!


It’s official: The Guinness World Record for farthest-flying paper aircraft now belongs to two real-deal Boeing aerospace engineers. The record setters studied origami and aerodynamics for months, putting in 400 to 500 hours of creating different prototypes to try to design a plane that could fly higher and longer.



Wowza! Check out these paper effigies by a father/son team – one of seven artisans still making paper effigies on the island of Malaysia. They create everything from full-sized BMWs and iPhones, to 10-foot-tall mansions. Then, during a traditional Chinese memorial service to honor the dead, all of it goes up in flames.

Koh Eng Keat and his father often build elaborate papier-mâché mansions, like this one.


How fun is this? From book butlers to library sleepovers: 10 great UK places to stay for book lovers. This one, owned by bookbinder Rachel Hazell, has book-themed decor, with book art on the walls, a library of modern Scottish literature and a writing desk. I interviewed Rachel on Paper Talk back in 2018 when her book Bound came out.


Friends, I have sad news to share. Gordon Fluke, who was known for his expertise in letterpress, papermaking and book arts, passed away after an illness on January 24, 2023.  A talented artist, Gordon was the owner of J.D. Grahame Cracker Press in Santa Fe, a small private press focused on working with hand-set type and hand-bound works of art. Please join me in making a donation to help offset a travel insurance claim that was denied and has compounded this tragedy. Read more and donate here.


Paper Tidbits

  • The Red Cliff Paper Retreat is an annual week-long event in my Colorado studio, August 21-25. This year, we’re focusing on Paper Panels: book pages, screen and lampshade panels, wall pieces, and more.
  • Some of you contributed roots to my sculpture Mother Tree, and many of you have seen her on view, first in Portland and then as she traveled around the country. She is now at the Museum of Motherhood (yes, a museum about motherhood exists) in St. Petersburg, FL. I met the founder of the museum, Joy Rose, all the way back in 2010, right after I finished Mother Tree, and we’ve been talking ever since. They intend to purchase her to remain on site, and you can help! Thanks to those of you who have donated – we’re getting close!


Papermaking Series: Embossing


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

The Art of Papercraft, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, Water Paper Time, a film download, and The Papermaker’s Companion.

The Art of Papercraft


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