Paper Snowflakes in the White House

Paper Snowflakes in the White House

The Sunday Paper #87

Paper of the Week: Cotton Blend


I’ve been trying to concoct the perfect watermarking pulp that also offers folding strength. In general, I’ve found that short cotton linters (beaten quite fine) yield crisp watermarked images. However, the pulp is so short that there is not much strength, so I been experimenting with various combinations of cotton (Cheney, 1st and 2nd cut linters) and premium abaca (highly beaten). A bonus that I didn’t expect is the sheen that the abaca provides – a luminessence in the sheets. 

Do you have a recipe for a watermarking pulp that you like?


In the Studio: I’m using that pulp to make the pieces in the photo above, which is a new artists’ book in progress. It has several folded components, including an envelope that you might recognize from the 25 Days of Paper (top left); a fortune teller (top right); and a map-folded heart shaped watermarked piece that unfolds to become a four-leaf clover (bottom). There’s also a book component; more on that later.


What do you think 8,000 paper cut snowflakes look like? Like this! Has anyone visited The White House to see these in person? They say it is breathtaking, and I believe it.

Hand-cut paper snowflakes line the ceiling of the East Colonnade

Hand-cut paper snowflakes line the ceiling of the East Colonnade

It’s not everyday that you read about paper art in Africa, and this article includes an interesting profile about a young artist whose work deals with human trafficking. Paper II was recently exhibited at the Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya. The works on paper – in all their variety from drawings, prints, photographs, collage, sculpture – were displayed in a unique fashion, hung on wires that criss-crossed the gallery space. 


Check out this tiny (and I mean tiny) V8 Engine made almost entirely of paper, and it works!

Here’s a tribute to that movie which debuted this week. I’m not a follower of this particular cult, but this origami Yoda by Gonzalo Garcia Calvo is pretty cute!


Here is another article about papermaking in Africa, this one about making it from mahango stems in Namibia.


Sunday Paper ClickIf you enjoyed reading The Sunday Paper today, why not sign up to get it delivered to your in-box each and every Sunday? Click here to subscribe (it’s free), and you’ll receive my nifty pop-up alphabet template as a thank you gift! 

If you read this blog regularly, would you consider making a donation to support the research, writing, design and delivery of The Sunday Paper? Click on that cute paper button (I made that paper) to see how you can provide support.

And if you run a paper-related business, you might be interested in promoting your business in The Sunday Paper.

Thank you to those who have pledged your support, and enjoy your Sunday!


  1. When I was working at Rutgers in the printshop, Anne McKeown made this piece with Nami Yamamoto ( The description lists it as just bleached abaca, but as I remember it was 50% abaca (well beaten but not to the point of high shrinkage) and 50% pigmented cotton beated to an almost pulp paint consistency. They were beated separately, but then mixed in the vat – not layered as I’ve seen you do with watermarks previously on this blog. The paper had a lovely quality, are you mixing the pulp or double-couching?

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for sharing that beautiful piece, Michelle! I’m mixing the pulps after beating and the heart-shaped piece has a watermark in it (although not as strikingly clear as the Yamamoto piece). I do layer sometimes, and the piece you see her with the gray will ultimately be made like that (this image is a stencil experiment with ink). I’m going to try the pulp mixture you mention…. some day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *