Paper Everlasting

Paper Everlasting

The Sunday Paper #66

Paper of the Week: Abaca with Embedded String


Most of you know that I love the qualities of translucency and shrinkage inherent in abaca fiber. This long fiber is a relative of the banana plant, and I like to use the premium variety that I purchase from a papermaking supplier. I beat it hard for 3 hours in my Reina beater until the pulp is smooth and silky. The natural translucency of the fiber makes it take color really well. This sheet is colored with aqueous dispersed pigment (that’s pigment in water).

One of the first papermaking techniques I learned was how to embed objects in between sheets of handmade paper during the making process. Often I embed string – hemp or linen, because they shrink and react to the abaca fibers during the drying process – to create structural sheets of paper. These sheets are strong, flexible and durable. One of my other intrigues with paper is creating objects from just one sheet. Below you see a little handbag that was created by simply stitching the seams of a rectangular sheet (on a sewing machine) and turning the bag inside out. Oh, and those diamond-shaped paper clips were embedded between the wet sheets too, to support the crocheted handles.


In the Studio: My on-line paper sale starts tomorrow! You’ll receive an e-mail link for the sale tomorrow morning and a few reminders throughout the week. I hope you’ll take a peek at the papers I’m selling – this time around it’s all abaca! I’d love to see what you create with the embedded string sheets.

Paper Sale Preview-nwsltr


This is a sweet video, but I hope you’ll also click through and read this great article about the paper industry’s fight to hold on in a digital age. The verdict is still out, but my hope is that paper will be everlasting

Here’s a new take on an old idea: get kids interesting in engineering through hands-on learning. A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering are on a mission to get kids excited about programming by letting them write the code for a “robot garden” with dozens of fast-changing LED lights and origami robots that can crawl, swim, and blossom like flowers. 

origami garden.jpg

Sometimes I feel caught between the old and the new. I love innovation and the exploration of pushing materials into new realms, but I have to wonder what we are losing by being able to fabricate with the click of a button. These sculptors are doing both – using the 3D computer modeling software Pepakura to generate models – and then bringing their onscreen designs back to the real world in cardboard.


This is old news, but looks to be a lovely story from Trick of the Light Theatre in New Zealand about a boy who is apprenticed by an old bookbinder and becomes bored with his work and slapdash in its execution. A mysterious woman brings him a strange book to repair and, in his haste, he allows one page to slip free… 

The Bookbinder at Fringeworld

The Bookbinder at Fringeworld

For those of you who are into zombies (not me!), there’s a new pop-up book on the horizon: The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book by Stephani Danelle Perry (Author), Becca Zerkin (Creator), David Hawcock (Creator), Sally Elizabeth Jackson (Illustrator). The book is published by Insight Editions and is scheduled for release on October 27, 2015.


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