Stick It!

The Sunday Paper #348

January 24, 2021

Papermaker of the Week: Beck Whitehead

Hey papermakers! I’d love to feature you in this column one day soon. All you have to do is fill out this form.

© 2009 Beck Whitehead, 15×15, abaca paper painting

Friends, maybe you’ve heard this sad news. If not, I am so sorry to report another paper giant has left us. Beck Whitehead was a San Antonio artist who served as Chair of Papermaking and Book Arts at the Southwest School of Art until 2016. In addition, she taught workshops in papermaking around the country and in Canada. Beck created paper paintings, one-of-a-kind books and installations. I had the great pleasure of visiting Beck in her studio and interviewing her on Paper Talk just before her cancer diagnosis a few years ago. She gave me a quick video tour of her studio that you can see at the link.

A few fond memories of Beck: I helped her acquire the beater in her studio, which originally belonged to Garner Tullis (another paper/print legend) when I met his son, who was living in Portland when I was; Beck developed a really interesting way to stretch her handmade paper canvases (we talked about it in our interview). And people often confused me, Beck and Amanda Degener (because we all have short hair)? I would be in conversation at a conference and realize that the person I was talking to thought I was Beck or Amanda! We took a photo of the three of us together at a conference in Banff, Canada years ago, where we laughed about those mix ups. Rest in peace, dear Beck.

In the Studio: Weave Through Winter

My popular online class, Weave Through Winter is now open for registration, and class begins on February 15th.

  • Create a daily practice as you explore a variety of papers and weaving techniques.
  • Commit to an hour of creativity a day (more or less).
  • Challenge yourself to share what you create (there will be prizes)!
  • Stimulate your mind by finding, mixing and matching papers; and find satisfaction in the ordinary while creating something extraordinary.

Watch the video, read all about it and register.

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Papery Tidbits:

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I had a lovely conversation with Paula Beardell Krieg on Paper Talk. Paula is an artist and educator who uses paper for drawings, decoration, and building. She loves to explore the internal structure of books, including the patterns of folds, the sewing and knotting of bindings, and how everything fits together. Krieg’s work lies at the intersection of art and math, using color and line to illuminate symmetries and geometry in and on paper. She often collaborates with classroom teachers to design projects for arts-in-education classes and writes about her work in classrooms, as well as her own adventures with paper. Enjoy our conversation!

Several of you sent me links to this astounding origami warrior by Juho Könkkölä that is folded from one sheet of paper! If you’re curious about the process behind the creation, I found this video on his website, where he even has tutorials for folding parts of the samurai, accompanied by a warning “I wouldn’t recommend trying this, if you don’t know how to read crease patterns”. Okay, I’m out. Who’s in?

As seen on Bored Panda

Sol Lewitt was the first contemporary artist I remember learning about, and I love, love, love his work. I saw a print of his work in the office of my soon-to-be art professor when I did my campus visit at The University of the South many moons ago. An event (which took place in December), Radical LeWitt, a virtual discussion on the work of artist Sol LeWitt was inspired by the recent publication of Sol LeWitt: Not to Be Sold for More Than $100. I was so interested to learn about this little known body of Lewitt’s work made by folding and tearing paper – as well as a new app that allows audiences to explore the artist’s life, process, and works in incredible detail.

Wow, just wow! Check out this work by Kenturah Davis, who transforms hand-written script into thread using the Japanese weaving technique called shifu, and creates mesmerizing portraits that emerge from pencil rubbing over paper that’s been embossed with hand-written texts.

As seen on Art Net: Kenturah Davis’s studio showing preparations for paper thread weaving. Image courtesy the artist.

This is really cool: The Cleveland Chronicle printed a special edition of the paper that was sold to benefit the homeless. The newspapers have fun designs printed on some pages, making them reusable as wrapping paper.

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Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Collage Packs, Playing With Pop-Ups, The Papermaker’s Companion, and Alpha, Beta …, an artist’s book

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2 comments to Stick It!

  • I am so sorry to learn about Beck Whitehead’s passing. When I was first learning to make paper, I traveled to San Antonio several times to take classes from her and other instructors in her program. Later, I bought “ready-made” pulp from there through her. She was a classy, generous person, and I have always felt lucky that I met her. She inspired me.

  • Susie Hettleman

    Thank you so much for the post about Beck. I studied paper making at the Southwest School of Art after Beck left and realize that if not for Beck, there might not have been a place close enough for me to learn it. The podcast was very interesting and it pointed me in the right direction about stretching paper over a frame. She’s still teaching!

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I’m Helen Hiebert!

THE SUNDAY PAPER brings you stories and examples of people doing exciting, innovative, and beautiful things with paper, as well as link to interesting paperfacts from around the globe. Read all about it here!

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