Papermaking in Action

Papermaking in Action

The Sunday Paper #299
February 16, 2020

Paper of the Week: A Sheet of Abaca in 1:20

I made a short video of me making a sheet of abaca. The sheet size is 18″ x 23″ and I’m making it on an old English mould that I purchased many years ago. It only takes about 1-1/2 minutes to pull and couch a sheet (I cut out the time it took that abaca to drain), but there’s so much more to making paper!


In the Studio:

I am in the home stretch of writing my book about the versatility of paper and the objects that can be created from a single sheet. I go through alternating waves of I’ve got this! and There’s no way I can do this! One way or another though, this book will come to be, and I have to say that I will be so happy when I turn in the manuscript in early April. The book is slated to come out in 2021. Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the projects that will be featured in the book.

Papery Tidbits:


I had a fun conversation with origami master Michael LaFosse on Paper Talk. Michael runs Origamido studio outside of Boston, a unique studio, where he not only creates, folds and teaches unique origami techniques, but they also produce handmade papers designed specifically for folding and origami. Enjoy our conversation!

Artist Joanne B. Kaar does the most interesting paper projects! Her recent project involved pairing up a heritage center and museums in Caithness and Sutherland, Scotland with organizations in Newfoundland by exchanging paper airplanes. This was to commemorate a failed trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 that Joanne read about, which linked these two places in the first place.

This is a great story about a young woman who is finding her way with paper and fiber. Nevada Tribble’s bicycle-powered sewing machine allows her to do her sewn life drawings outside – how cool is that?!
May You Live in Interesting Times, an exhibition of artist’s books, is currently on display (through April 18) at the Northern Arizona University Art Museum. The writer seemed surprised to encounter books as art, but I’m hoping this will become the norm one of these days! I was happy to discover this piece by Karen Baldner, who gave me a lovely tour of the classroom where she teaches paper and book arts at IUPUI in Indianapolis this past summer.

© Karen Baldner, Raising Hackles

The writer of the article I just referred to used the words visual storytelling in the title of his piece. And then I discovered paper cutter extraordinaire Béatrice Coron’s recent Ted Talk about visual literacy. Béatrice and I are making plans to co-teach a workshop in the near future.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:
Tangential, Mend, The 12 Months of Paper Collection, and The Papermaker’s Companion.


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  1. Chuck Crockford says:

    Hi, Helen!
    I really had fun making the February groundhog in ‘The Paper Year”, and the movable end result is very satisfying! In addition, an added bonus was that the project introduced me to corkskin paper–I had not come across it before!
    By the way, I noticed that your upcoming book contains an origami piece. I happened to come across an origami nun in Rick Beech’s “The Origami Handbook”, and I’ve found that this gives good “bang for the buck” because it really gets a reaction from a viewer and yet it is not difficult to fold. I just finished folding eighteen of them for a friend to be a part of the Christmas decorations he puts up in his house!
    Best wishes–Chuck

    • Helen says:

      Hi Chuck, I’d love to see a photo of your groundhog AND the piece you folded 18 times. Feel free to send via e-mail. Glad you had fun with the groundhog, and that corkskin paper is something else – it comes in several patterns!

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