Plantable Paper

Plantable Paper

Leigh Suggs, Massey Klein Gallery, Restless Fountain, 2021 Handcut, acrylic on Yupo 20 x 26 x 1 inch detail

The Sunday Paper #410

April 24, 2022

I’m delighted to have Cathryn Miller of Byopia Press on Paper Talk. Cathryn has had an interest in making things out of paper since early childhood, and still believes that anything —except, perhaps, internal combustion engines— can be made out of paper. Through Byopia Press, she has published limited editions of conventional books and produced multiple artist’s books, altered books, and paper toys. Cathryn writes the Byopia Press weekly blog, where she offers frequent DIY projects for readers as well as sharing her own works in progress. Enjoy our conversation!

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I met Leigh Suggs, who took a course with me at Penland a decade or so ago, at a time when she was figuring out what she wanted to do. She did it, and how! Her tedious work, with paper and paper like materials, is exquisite. Here’s a great feature about her work and process Design Milk. You can listen to my conversation with Leigh on Paper Talk.

Leigh Suggs, Massey Klein Gallery, Restless Fountain, 2021 Handcut, acrylic on Yupo 20 x 26 x 1 inch detail

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This is interesting: scientists have developed a “paper” made from sunflower pollen that can be ‘unprinted’ and reused. I have soooo many questions: 1. Are they stealing the pollen from insects? 2. Is this practical/sustainable since washing the paper requires water (and time)? This reminds me of invisible writing – did you do that as a kid? I have vague memories of special pens and maybe lemon juice…?

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Check out these unique works on paper, now on view in Melbourne. Jogi art, an energetic drawing style using black ink on white paper, is a family style, practiced and handed down for three generations of the Jogi family.

‘Inspired by the idea of women celebrating.’ Sangita Jogi’s Women Partying (2020), ink on paper, NGV. Photograph: © Sangita Jogi, courtesy of Minhazz Majumdar

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I’m featuring one-sheet wonders here on the blog, since the projects in my new book, The Art of Papercraft, fall into that category. I’d love to feature your one-sheet wonders!

Andrew Dewar is a Canadian, who has been living in Japan since the late 1980s. He lives just down the road from Mino, Japan, which is one of the big centers of wash paper making. He is a professor of library science and the principal of a private kindergarten affiliated with the university, a post which gives him lots of chances to try out paper craft ideas on small kids. He specializes in paper airplanes (origami planes and paper gliders), and also makes kinetic models and science toys from paper. Many of these have been published in books and kits, both in Japanese and English.

Look at these adorable dinosaur ramp walkers, all made from one sheet each. A couple of them, along with other paper toys, can be found in this kit. They have hinged hind legs, and will walk down a shallow slope.  So fun!

Ramp Walker Dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurus (2009), Stegosaurus (2009), Triceratops (2014), Brontosaurus (2014)) designed by Andrew Dewar. They are made from ink-jet printed bagasse card stock (about 157 gsm) with a toothpick axle. Each is about palm-sized. Photo by Andrew Dewar

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I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. The heroine is a papermaker! The book has been made into a TV series that I’m looking forward to watching.

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Paper Tidbits:

  • Celebrate Earth Day and every day by making Plantable Paper, aka Seed Paper. Check out Arnold Grummer’s tutorial (you can also find this project in The Art of Papercraft).
  • Celebrate this fall with an adventure in the fabrication and artistic use of paper in the fabulous Italian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio, Umbria. At this retreat, we will explore the potential of paper as a basic material and a medium for creative pursuits. Four internationally-known instructors, Helen Hiebert (owner of Helen Hiebert Studio), Amanda Degener (co-founder of Cave Paper), Carol Barton (paper engineer and owner of Popular Kinetics Press), and Denise Carbone (University of the Arts, Philadelphia) will lead workshops in various aspects of the paper arts. We’ll take two day-long field trips to Fabriano and Florence too.

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In the Studio:

This photo isn’t terribly interesting, but what it will become is! I’m getting ready to build a giant paper lantern at Anythink Wright Farms, a library in Denver. I’m thankful that my studio is in the old school house in Red Cliff, because it has a gym with this giant space for me to roll out this Japanese paper and cut it into sections. I cut six 8-foot lengths from the 4-foot wide roll and folded each into 3 sections (here you see a partially folded section). Next, I’ll be cutting those sections into elongated segments (called gores). I’m busy getting what I can done in the studio, and I’ll be building the lantern at the library in mid-May. Stay tuned!

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