Paper In The News

Paper In The News

“Unholy 112”

The Sunday Paper #236

December 2, 2018

Paper of the Week: Crumpled Paper

Paper has been in the New York Times a couple of times recently. Here’s an article about a scientist’s research about the math behind how paper crumples (although if you read the article carefully, his experiments were with a mylar substrate rather than real paper). I’m reminded of the Japanese technique paper called momigami, a crumpled (or kneaded) paper. Traditionally, Japanese papers are coated with konnyaku paste (made from a tuberous root of the devil’s tongue plant of the Arum genus) and then crumpled and used like cloth to create book covers or clothing. This photo shows two experimental sheets I created with my own handmade sheets of abaca paper. I coated the dry sheets with konnyaku powder that I purchased from Washi Arts and crumpled them to create this leathery looking paper.
In the Studio:
I have a thing for paper trees, especially during the holiday season. Here’s a project I designed for the 2017 Twelve Months of Paper How-To Book & Calendar. I think it’s extra fun if you make it with a double-sided paper, because it is reversible! Click through to get the instructions and watch a video tutorial on how to make yourself a tree (or a forest).

Papery Tidbits:


Matthew Shlian never ceases to amaze. I featured his work in the gallery section of my book Playing With Paper. Here’s some of his work on This Is Colossal. I love this statement by Shlian: “My process is extremely varied from piece to piece. Often I start without a clear goal in mind, working within a series of limitations. For example on one piece I’ll only use curved folds, or make my lines this length or that angle, etc. Other times I begin with an idea for movement and try to achieve that shape or form somehow.”

“Unholy 112”

This is a fascinating article about collage artist Sara Caswell-Pearce who is taking deaccessioned books and turning them into works of art in an artist residency she created when she heard that these books were the books were going to be discarded.

Palais Populaire is a new museum in Berlin. The World on Paper is the museum’s inaugural exhibition.

Photo: Courtesy of Palais Populaire/David von Becker

I wrote a guest blog tutorial for StencilGirl Talk this past week, showing you how to use paper cutting to turn an envelope into a light catcher.

This article in The New York Times is a review of the state of paper in Japan in the technological era. Three bits caught my eye: the description about how paper is made (a bit clumsily described, although understandable from a novice), the description of the lunar opacity of shoji screens (that’s genius) and this last sentence: “The paper bears an imprint, of the maker and eventually of the user, in a way no digital object ever can. For this reason, those pale, fringed sheets retain a measure of the time, and the sense of self, we are always losing as we rush heedlessly into the future.” So true!


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  1. Diane Eicher says:

    I loved the story about Sara Caswell-Pierce – both for the book art she’s doing, but also because of the information about the Mercantile Library in Cincinnati. I went online to read more and this place is fascinating, and it’s more than 175 years old! Thanks for broadening my view this morning. Also love the envelope light catchers..good idea for a quick (and useful) Christmas missive to friends //

  2. Sara Caswell-Pearce says:

    Every Sunday, I start my day by reading The Sunday Paper and clicking most of the links while sipping a cup of coffee. Well, yesterday I almost spit out my coffee as, because as I scrolled down, I saw a story about me and my residency at Cincinnati’s mercantile Library. Thank you so much Helen, for including me in the paper.

    • Helen says:

      So sorry to make you almost spit out your coffee! It’s my pleasure, and feel free to send me updates on your work! I love what you’re doing Sara.