Paper on My Bookshelf

Paper on My Bookshelf

This is Day 14 of 25 Days of Paper and Day 83 of my 100 x 100 Paper Weavings Project.

© Helen Hiebert, 100 x 100 Paper Weavings, #83 12" x 10", $100

© Helen Hiebert, 100 x 100 Paper Weavings, #83 12″ x 10″, $100

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This weaving features three papers: golden leaves on emerald, from Graphic Products/Black Ink; my own handmade cotton paper with shredded money inclusions  – perhaps money does grow on trees; and crystal metal, which I purchased at Wet Paint.
This is my humble papermaking library. A few more papermaking books are on the shelf above, and one is on my nightstand. I have several shelves with other books about paper: paper lamps, paper engineering, paper crafts.
I remember purchasing my first book about papermaking when I was living in NYC. It was Washi, The World of Japanese Paper by Sukey Hughes. I was in my 20’s and had just stumbled upon the idea of committing my life to paper (while on a trip to Japan). I was living in NYC and somehow I found out about this book, located a private book dealer or shop (the details are fuzzy, as this was 25 years ago) and purchased this book for $100. I’m not sure I’ve spent that much money on a book since, but the book is incredible and worth every penny, with details about all of the types of paper that have been produced in Japan.
Shortly after that I learned about Tim Barrett and purchased his book, Japanese Papermaking. You’d  think that I would have decided to learn Japanese papermaking based on these acquisitions, and believe me, I was bound and determined (I was even studying Japanese and looking for grants to allow me to travel to Japan).
But while I was doing this research, I discovered Dieu Donné Papermill and began working there as an intern and was soon hired as program director. I haven’t been back to Japan (yet) but I do look forward to returning one day. This video shows some recent artwork being created in the vat at Dieu Donné.

But I’ve digressed. There are many other papermaking books out there! Bernie Toale wrote The Art of Papermaking, and Sophie Dawson’s book The Art & Craft of Papermaking are both great surveys of work being done through the 1980’s, a time when hand papermaking was just getting noticed as an art form (in some ways, it is still just getting noticed).
Dard Hunter wrote the papermaking “bible”, called Papermaking, in which he documented his discoveries about paper from his travels around the world. For some reason there are two copies of this book on my shelf! Cathy Baker wrote an in depth biography of Hunter called By His Own Labor. She actually lived in his home in Chillicothe, OH while she was writing the book – what an amazing experience that must have been – pouring over his papers on the spot. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting that home, Mountain House, where his grandson lives and produces products using his grandfather’s designs today.
I wrote my two papermaking books, Papermaking With Garden Plants & Common Weeds and The Papermaker’s Companion in the late 1990’s with the intention of showing what is possible in paper. This is what has intrigued me about the medium and still does. There is so much potential, so much to discover and so much to explore!
What paper treasures are sitting on bookshelf? Please share with us by leaving a comment below.
About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!
About 100 x 100 Paper Weavings: On September 23, 2013, I started making 100 daily paper weavings. I’ll finish on New Year’s Eve!


  1. Elnajean says:

    Helen, I send you an email, which was returned. How do I email you without it being a public document in the social networking arena?
    I receive you posts on my email address and enjoy them. Indeed,
    and have a folder so that I can look at them again and at times show your art to new acquaintances who cannot imagine paper as an art form. Would not want he/she to remain unaware of a art medium that is amazing.

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