Tatting and Giving Thanks

Tatting and Giving Thanks

The Sunday Paper #389

November 21, 2021

My mother, who lives in an assisted living facility near me, has a couple of trunks (and many boxes) filled with my grandmother’s papers. Neither she (nor I) have had the energy to look through these (grandma died over 30 years ago) but a couple of weeks ago, I opened one and started rifling through it. I found some really interesting things: hand colored black & white professional photos of my mother and aunt as children, letters I wrote home from college, and a folder of these tatted cards. Tatting is a lace making technique, and I remember my parents mentioning that my paternal grandmother Ellen actually did tatting. My mother’s mom, Margaret, knit and crocheted. She collected these tatted cards that she received in the mail and kept them in a hand crafted folder, along with some blank cards created by a woman named Viv (there’s a hand written byline on the back of the folder). The tatted areas are actually glued onto the cards, and the stems and leaves are hand drawn. We didn’t see our grandparents that much as children, because they lived far away, but I love knowing that both of my grandmothers did handwork.

I get nostalgic during the holidays – do you? This year, my mother, husband, dogs and I will spend the day together on Thanksgiving. I’m sending warm wishes to those of you in the states for a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with old and new memories!


I saw the title of the film, Paper & Glue, in The New Yorker Magazine and got curious. Lo and behold, it is a documentary about the artist JR – I’ve featured his work here before. The title refers to the paper and glue that are the basis of his graffiti, and his work is powerful. His giant murals are rooted in the process of interpersonal connection and exchange, and he engages with art in public, especially among marginalized communities. The film is in limited theaters now and will premiere on television (MSNBC) on December 10th.


I felt like this writer took me on a tour of the exhibit that is currently on view at the Seattle’s National Nordic Museum. “Paper Dialogues: The Dragon and Our Stories” features a collaboration between papercut artists Bit Vejle from Scandinavia and Xiaoguang Qiao from China. The theme is dragons — mythical creatures that manifest in both cultures in different ways.

The dragon Xiaoguang Qiao created for the exhibit is 30 feet long and is the colorful centerpiece of the exhibit. (Courtesy of Museum for Papirkunst and ArtHouse Jersey)


Jane Ingram Allen collaborates with students and communities to make paper quilts impregnated with wildflower seeds. Completed quilts are laid on beds of earth, where they bloom and grow in harmony with local ecosystems. So cool!!

Photo by Timothy S. Allen


Paper flowers have been all the rage for awhile, but here’s a twist I haven’t seen: paper flower walls by Paper & Petals.


Paper Tidbits:

  • I’ll be announcing pre-sales for my new book here on the blog next Sunday! Maybe you have paper-loving artists or crafters on your gift list this season? You’ll be able to save them an autographed first edition of my new book, The Art of Papercraft.
  • Save the Date! ‘ll be kicking off registration for The Paper Year 2022 on December 15th with a FREE Winter Solstice Zoom Workshop.
  • Weave Through Winter is coming….!


In the Studio:

I’m still enjoying the paper engineering course I’m taking through Cooper Union, and I am thankful that I’ve had the time to spend on homework and explorations! Here’s a flexagon I made (click to see the video). I might title it Looking for the Secrets of the Universe. I wasn’t really that interested in the structure, but Kelli Anderson has a brilliant way of observing structures, contemplating about how they work, and encouraging us to explore them in an open-ended way.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

Playing With Paper, The Papermaker’s Companion, Curated Paper Collection #4, and Water Paper Time, a film download.


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  1. Deborah says:

    Hi Helen …I attended a huge exhibit today in Rome and happened to look at the “perforated installations “ of a young Greek artist, Stratis Tavlaridis who was represented by a gallery in Athens called Alibi. I wrote to hm and he evidently speaks English and would be interested in setting up an interview . He is on Instagram so you can check him out. He does, among other things, paper tee shirts, hand cut, large screens, bras and jockey shorts, as well as other things that strike his fancy. He likes”flowing designs “ and “ geometric patterns”.

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      WOW!! His work is incredible. I looked through his instagram – did you see him working at the beach? Thank you for sharing him with me – I will see what I can do.

  2. Ruth Dailey says:

    Yea, I finally just stopped and took the time to visit your site and watched several of your monthly videos – so inspired…will be back to view more for more inspiration. thank you and all your followers.

  3. Chuck Crockford says:

    Hi, Helen!
    I found your flexagon fascinating! Is there any chance of your showing us how to make one in one of your courses?

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      Perhaps, Chuck, but in the meantime, you can find instructions for this in Alisa Golden’s book, Making Handmade Books (I highly recommend the book). She calls it a Cross Flexagon, and it is on page 132 of the book.