Paper Pastries

Paper Pastries

The Sunday Paper #304
March 22, 2020

Paper of the Week: Abaca Leather + Thick Abaca

Can you see the difference between these two abaca sheets? It appears subtle in these photos, but they are quite different. Limited quantities of these abaca leather and thick abaca sheets are available on my website in The Paper Shop.


In the Studio:

I’ve started shooting the videos and photos for the pdf instruction sheets for my upcoming online class Flexible Book Structures. I also ordered all of the supplies for the kits, which will begin shipping on April 1st. I ordered a few extra sets, so you can still join us! You can also sign up and source your own supplies. I am thankful to be able to get to my studio and to have a great group of participants signed up for the course, which begins on April 15th!
Papery Tidbits:

  • Need a project for the kiddos (or yourself)? Here’s a Spring Shamrock video tutorial, which could double as a snowflake (it is still snowing here in Colorado). This can be made from any paper. Send me a photo if you try it!
  • I enjoyed this newsletter by Andrew Simonet: Artists, this is what we train for… it reminded me that I have a lot of the assets that can be utilized in trying times.
  • It was so lovely to get notes from my newsletter readers this week, responding to my note about living in the moment, the passing of my father-in-law and the title of the newsletter (Cutting Across the Fold). For those who are curious, that title was quite literal – referring to the way you cut across folded papers to create a shamrock or snowflake design. Try it!


This is a beautiful story about art and life. Morgana Wallace is uses paper cutting to make illustrations that bring us back to childhood.

I love this story about a teacher who has figured out a great project for her special needs kids, who are creating handmade cards to be sold at the school’s Paper Pastries card store.

Diego Cagara / Spotlight News

Ledger art takes its name from the source of the paper that Native Americans began to use as European settlement moved westward. As tribes came into possession of ledgers, ink and pens, their artists expanded their craft, which had primarily consisted of using bone fragments and earth pigments to paint on shields and robes. Joe Pulliam is carrying on this tradition.

Artist Joe Pulliam continues the custom of his ancestors as he creates art on used ledger pages.

Olivia Fraser has lived and worked in India for many years, studying yoga and miniature painting. Her recent work uses traditional, handmade materials all sourced locally and in their natural forms in the markets in Jaipur.

This is a great video by a young woman who is doing amazing things with origami + math + fashion. She explains what she is doing so well!


The News from Here:
Colorado doesn’t have shelter in place orders yet, although we have a lot of COVID-19 cases and a small hospital, so I am basically staying home and going to the studio, where I work alone. I go out for walks with my dog Halo and a couple of friends in the neighborhood. My husband returns tomorrow from laying his father to rest and helping his mother prepare for living on her own in the south Chicago suburbs. I have been sharing stories with friends from around the world – we are fortunate to be able to keep in touch!
My life hasn’t changed drastically, as I know it has for others. I live in a ski town, and all of the seasonal workers lost their jobs this week, in addition to the restaurants and bars closing. But we humans are adaptable and inventive, and I am seeing signs of hope and love. The newspaper ran a full-spread about all of the restaurants and what they are offering in terms of take-out, and the libraries will get your books and deliver them to you in your car. They are also hosting story time for the kiddos online (I love libraries). These are just two small examples of keeping hope alive as we meander through these uncertain times.
I have started a different morning routine: sleep in (or fake it so my dog thinks I’m sleeping) til the sun comes up at 7am (I used to go to the gym at 6am); take the dog for a walk, come home and do 30 minutes of yoga (someone in my neighborhood turned me on to this App), clean for 30 minutes (this is a new thing, and I hope to keep it up). Make breakfast and coffee and then get to work!
I am so thankful to all of you in my virtual community! I am thinking about you. Please take care of yourself and help out where you can!


Featured this week in my Studio shop:
Flexible Book Structures online class, Abaca Leather, The Paper Lovers Package, and Thick Abaca Sheets.
Flexible Book Structures Banner


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  1. Moe Snyder says:

    Thank you Helen for all that you do to inspire us and keep us creating and looking and seeing. You are a blessing ! So very sorry to hear about your family’s loss. So hard especially now, when being together isn’t an option . Love the routine you’re following. All the best to you and yours.
    Moe Snyder