Paper Money

Paper Money

The Sunday Paper #173, September 3, 2017

Paper of the Week: Bank Note Paper

I’m thinking of starting a new column called Paper Money. I used to be so scared of money – in particular how to make a living at this paper gig (which includes many facets such as earnings, strategies, sales, marketing, and more) – and it isn’t something people usually talk about. If this sounds intriguing, would you leave a comment below? I’ve learned a thing or two over the past 25 years and would love to create an organic dialogue around it. In the meantime, I glanced at this wikipedia page about paper bank notes and found this image. I hate to say it, but many banknotes today are made from polymers (i.e. plastic) for many reasons.


In the Studio:

Things are settling down here in Colorado as the first fall leaves are beginning to glow. My husband and dog are back from taking our son to Chicago for his freshman year at DePaul University, and we are adjusting to the empty nest syndrome. My thoughts tend to linger on worries rather than missing the kids – Will he get up for class on time? Will she learn to speak German? Will he eat? Will she make friends? Time will tell!

I am busy preparing to welcome a dozen paper enthusiasts to my studio for the Red Cliff Paper Retreat, which begins on Friday! Our theme this year is sculptural books, and this is a teaser for a technique I’ll be introducing. I used a drawing on pellon as a guide for placing text on a sheet of wet paper. Once the paper is dry, it gets cut and folded into an unusual bookish structure, with the text in the right place!
Papery Tidbits

  • It isn’t too late to start thinking about next year’s Red Cliff Paper Retreat, which takes place the week/end after Labor Day. The page currently describes this year’s event, and I’ll let you know when the next event is listed. Registration begins in January 2018.
  • I’m going to be in San Antonio October 19-23 to teach a workshop (it’s full) at the SW School of Art. I am planning on spending a couple of additional days in the area visiting special collections libraries and papermakers. Let me know if you have other suggestions for me, or perhaps you need a paper consultation?
  • The Paper Lanterns Online Class is still open for registration (begins September 20th). As the days shorten and the light fades, join us and learn how to make six illuminated paper projects.


Take a look at this! The University of Illinois Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering has made a pair of crawling robots, Peri and Poly, out of little more than a sheet of paper, a few 3D printed parts, and a handful of screws.

On the topic of money, when I moved to a somewhat remote area of Colorado, I turned to the internet to generate business, because you, dear readers, live all over the world. It is so interesting to read about other companies who are running paper businesses online, like this one! Paperless Post launched in 2009 to prove that communication could be personal and well-designed regardless of the medium (as it’s name suggests, the invitations they produced then were all digital). Now they are partnering with Paper Source, a 34-year-old destination for people who love beautiful paper, as their exclusive print partner. In January, you’ll be able to find both digital and printed designs in 125 Paper Source stores around the country.

PRNewsfoto/Paper Source

Paperpot Co. has developed a super cool paper pot transplanter (that’s pot, as in a pot for a plant; I live in Colorado, you know). Click through to watch the video and see for yourself. Paper surrounds soil and seeds and aids in the transfer of plants into the ground, turning hours of work into minutes. Ingenious!

Speaking of pot (i.e. the kind you smoke). The author of this article shows you how to roll a joint (please note that I’m not suggesting that you do this) using an index card, a manila file folder, the back flap of a checkbook, a magazine subscription card or a business card.

I enjoyed this article about musician Ben Folds (I wonder if that is his real last name) who played his second set at a concert based on requests from the audience which were sent to the stage via paper airplane!

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Thanks again to those of you who have pledged your support, and enjoy your Sunday!


  1. Carole sauter says:

    Helen, check out the Bellevue art museum for information on the exhibit called cut up/ cut out. I went yesterday. Carole sauter

  2. Carol Rue says:

    Hi Helen, just this last Friday I was looking at the info on bank note paper, as I have just started making paper jewellery. I was interested in how to make a more durable paper and thought about bank notes. I am interested in your idea for Paper Money. I have just decided to take 6 months leave without pay, so that I can see if I can make some paper money.
    I love your books and this weekly Sunday paper.
    Thank you

  3. Elizabeth Bolton says:

    I am intrigued by how to make money with our art-making. I see how much hard work that goes into it, and also how satisfying it can be. I enjoy your Sunday blog and look forward to seeing more chat about earning.

  4. Helen,
    I think we are all intrigued by how to make money with our work. I created a database of over 400 contacts to sell my artists’ books to libraries of Universities, museums… back in 2002.
    Now, days a lot of my contacts are retiring, this is my first worry. How to start over with new contacts. With no contacts it is difficult to sell.
    I would love to hear more on making money or read a blog about the subject.