Pulp Non/Fiction

Pulp Non/Fiction

The Sunday Paper #219

June 24, 2018

Paper of the Week: Paper Fiction Nonfiction: a Book Round Up

Here’s a round up of five fiction and nonfiction books about our beloved material, Paper! The Paper Lovers just came out, and I was so intrigued with the title and the cover art that I purchased it immediately. The two fiction books feature characters who make paper, and the three nonfiction books are filled with interesting facts and stories about paper. I’m still waiting for a feature film about hand papermaking (well, maybe an independent film). Have you seen Between the Folds?


In the Studio:

I am busy making an edition of papers for a new artist’s book about the color spectrum. I’m making really thin translucent sheets and finally came up with the best way to couch and transfer these sheets (thin abaca is really sticky and can be difficult to lift from the felt). This video shows part one: the set up. I’ll be back with a full video later, when I have someone in the studio who can film me in action!

Special thanks to Lata Gedala for suggesting this technique!

Papery Tidbits

  • Have you seen The Papermaker’s Studio DVD? It’s a film I made several years ago as a companion to my book, The Papermaker’s Companion. Watch the trailer and it’s available as a download for a small fee.
  • New on Paper Talk! An interview with Melissa Potter, whose work focuses on traditions that are endangered, underpaid and under-recognized due to industrialization, war, gender bias, and globalization (through paper, of course).
  • The Moveable Book Society has a new pop-up alphabet book out, and it’s a collector’s dream book!


Remember those pens with invisible ink (or am I showing my age)? Here’s something scientists are working on that is kind of the opposite: rewritable paper – the ink can be erased and the paper reused, up to 500 times!

Betty Kjelson has been making paper for decades, and she’s having a retrospective of more than 40 years in paper at Art Connections in Winston Salem, NC. The opening is this Friday, August 3rd.

Beatriz Vasquez’s parents are from Mexico, and she grew up in a border town in Texas but visited Mexico frequently where she saw the traditional paper cuts. This artwork, which appears on Vasquez’s 2017–2018 High Art billboard in Indianapolis, depicts the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo as a saint. Vasquez is a self taught papel picado artist, and her work is taking her places!

“La Santa Frida” by Beatriz Vasquez

Ann Joppe-Mercure‎ showed off this gorgeous eco dyed paper over in Club Paper. Eco dying seems to be quite popular these days – have you tried it?

Here’s a beautiful story via video about paper in Japan and how it can carry a message of peace around the world.


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  1. Teri says:

    Helen have you tried using a sheet of a synthetic interleaving between the sheet and felt! I use this to avoid sticking to felt. Pelion. Netting and other such works really well.

    • Helen says:

      Teri, I mentioned pellon in the video… the abaca stuck to it like glue! Much worse than felt or cotton. That’s why I had to find another solution. But I agree that pellon does work in many situations.

  2. Betty Kjelson says:

    Thanks Helen for the plug. It;s been fun to collectmy work over all of those years.
    Betyy KJ

  3. Viv Mullett says:

    Hi Helen,
    Great blog as usual, so helpful in many ways. I tried to open your couching video, but YouTube is saying there’s no video. Do you have another link for it? I have found couching and pressing thin abaca so precarious and would love to see what your solution is.
    Best wishes,
    Viv Mullett

  4. Yes, the link was incorrect in the e-mail. I’ve fixed it on the blog! Thanks and sorry.

  5. Bea says:

    I just took a week course on eco-dying at Otis college in Los Angeles. It was so much fun and full of surprises. We used our papers to make books.