Paper Fragments

The Sunday Paper #124, September 11, 2016

Paper of the Week: Remembering September 11th

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This isn’t exactly a paper of the week, but I think it is fitting for the 15th anniversary of September 11th. Nicholas Basbane’s terrific book On Paper: The EVERYTHING of its Two-Thousand-Year History, has a chapter titled Elegy in Fragments that highlights some of the papers that were in the air that day.
Basbanes begins. “In a day fraught with searing images, none was more horrifying on September 11, 2001, than the sight of two colossal building crumbling thunderously to the ground, each releasing massive plumes of office paper beneath shrouds of sickly gray dust. Reported later to be hip deep in places, most of the fragments landed on the streets closest to what quickly became known as Ground Zero, but thousands of others fell in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs of New York City and across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Described by some witnesses as a surreal kind of “paper rain,” the visual effect in Lower Manhattan drew grim comparisons to the ticker-tape parades staged over the previous century in the Canyon of Heroes, nearby. Though scorched around the edges in many instances, the tattered sheets were still the only artifacts of consequence to emerge from Twin Towers in any recognizable form.”
I highly recommend the rest of the chapter, which includes numerous stories about photographs, documents, and notes discovered from that sad and memorable day, ending with an amazing tale about a note that took 10 years to find its final resting place.

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In the Studio:

Last Call! My Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, September 14th. Grab your copy of the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar before the price goes up. Have you watched the short video about the project?


Papery Tidbits

  • The Red Cliff Paper Retreat is finishing up as you read this. Thirteen participants have converged on my studio from North (Alaska), South (Panama), East (North Carolina) and West (California) and many places in between!

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I find this work intriguing and somehow related to the political landscape of our upcoming presidential election here in America. Jesse Chun’s transforms official documents into artwork in her show On Paper at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in New York City (on view until September 17, 2016).

© Jesse Chun, Form #5, 22 x 17 inches

© Jesse Chun, Form #5, 22 x 17 inches


Wowza. Check out this embroidery on paper towels (and kleenex and Cheerios!) by Kate Jackson.
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There are only a handful of studios around the country that invite artists in to edition their work in handmade paper. Mixographia is one of them, and their method of making dimensional prints is ingenious.
© Analia Saban, Have a Nice Day Thank You!

© Analia Saban, Have a Nice Day Thank You! That’s paper not plastic!


Caution! These are NOT really paper, but they’re cute! (can we call this virtual paper?) Created by Ann-Katrin Krenz, Folding Patterns is an investigation of methods to create three dimensional structures that behave like folded paper and have controllable properties. Watch the animated version at the link!
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This is a lovely video about my friend Doug Beube who makes melting books.
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2 comments to Paper Fragments

  • Mary C. Leto

    Helen,
    The Basebanes book “On Paper” IS quite wonderful. I enjoyed the entire book. The Chapter on 9/11 is very moving, but more so I remember a keepsake from The Friends of Dard Hunter Conference 2001. Robin Ami Silverberg collected papers that had blown over to Brooklyn from the Twin Towers, pulped them and printed a prayer on the recycled paper. It is most treasured piece of paper and it has been kept on display for all to see and touch for 15 years. Paper can carry much emotion (as we know). a big thanks to Robin and you for the information. Mary

  • Helen Hiebert

    Thanks for sharing that, Mary!! I don’t think I attending that conference (had just had my daughter) so I didn’t hear that story. How lovely.

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