Paper Umbrellas!

Paper Umbrellas!

The Sunday Paper #119, August 7, 2016

Paper of the Week: Watermarked Cotton/Abaca Paper


Handmade paper… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 1. I love thee because thou art so versatile. 2. I love that I can see through you. 3. I love that you can be made from plants, old clothing and other recycled materials. 4. I love beating you to a pulp. 5. I love your deckled edges. 6. I love that I can manipulate you!  

… feel free to add to the list by leaving a comment below!

I made this abaca/cotton paper this week as part of the video for my Kickstarter Campaign which will go live next week! Watermarks are one of my favorite papermaking techniques, and the sheet you see here is quite thin and translucent. The cotton/abaca blend really makes this work: the cotton is responsible for the striking contrast between the darks and lights in the sheet, and the abaca makes it possible to pull a thin piece of paper.


In the Studio:

I’m having an open studio August 13th & 14th from 10am – 5pm as part of the Red Cliff Studio Tour (400 Pine Street, Studio #1, Red Cliff, CO). If you’re in the area, please stop by! Click the link for a stunning view of the bridge that leads to Red Cliff and more details about the tour!


  • Let’s continue the tour around my website this week. I have created several limited edition artists’ books over the years. Here’s a page where you can view 14 of them!


I’ve had the opportunity to see a couple of large exhibitions of the work of Joseph Beuys, but this collection of his works on paper on view at the Scottish National Gallery through October looks intriguing!

Joseph Beuys, "Witches Spitting Fire," 1959, Graphite and oil paint on paper, 20.70 x 29.70 cm (Courtesy ARTIST ROOMS, National Galleries of Scotland, and Tate)

Joseph Beuys, “Witches Spitting Fire,” 1959, Graphite and oil paint on paper, 20.70 x 29.70 cm
(Courtesy ARTIST ROOMS, National Galleries of Scotland, and Tate)

In another part of the globe (Buenos Aires) Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa turns a selection of CIA Papers Into a Mosaic of U.S. Role In Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. I find this component of particular interest… the show finishes with the installation Translation Lessons… five screens show Jarpa learning English so she could read CIA papers, and suggests how the fates of nations were being decided elsewhere. In this context, English becomes an “alien” code that Latin Americans must access to understand their own history.
There’s a new Paper Talk podcast episode with Eden Marek who spent two weeks with me as an intern earlier this summer. She provides a fresh perspective on continuing to make paper after leaving college.
Special thanks to Paper Connection International, who shared this amazing video earlier this week about the manufacturing of paper umbrellas in Japan (by hand, of course and sadly a dying art). Just lovely!

For those of you paper nerds, here’s an old book by Charles Thomas Davis about papermaking that is online. Scroll down to Chapter XVI: The Preparation of Various Kinds of Papers. This is what caught my attention when I read about Davis’ book in Cathy Baker’s book From the Hand the the Machine.


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  1. Clare Colby says:

    I love papers ability to teach me something new almost every day – thanks for the book delivery Helen

  2. I love handmade paper because, making it from plants connects me to my local landscape.

  3. Chuck Crockford says:

    I love that, by allowing me to do so many things to you, you love me right back!

  4. Loved the story on handmade wagasas! and the tour of your studio.

  5. Berneil says:

    I love the endless creative ways I can use handmade paper!