The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

The Sunday Paper #61

Paper of the Week: Elephant Hide

In the late 1980’s, I moved to NYC and took my first job at Rapoport Printing Company, a commercial printer in lower Manhattan. Sidney Rapoport, who was in his 80’s at the time, had developed a process called the stonetone, a variation on the duotone, for lithographically reproducing luscious black and white photographs. We printed everything from black and white postcards to fancy annual reports. Everything was still done by hand (there was a stripping department, where “the guys” prepped all of the films for making printing plates by hand). The only computers in the place were in accounting, plus a few fancy computerized presses. Those were the days!

MIxed Elephant Hide

It was at Rapoport Printing that I discovered elephant hide paper. I don’t recall the exact details (I’m sure I remember it because of the name) but there was a huge stack of it sitting on a pallet, waiting to be bound into an annual report or something similar. I’ve used it in various projects over the years and have always been impressed by its foldability and durability. Many artists use it for origami, and it it is great for all kinds of bookbinding projects as well. Here’s a lovely review that I found in The Fold, another paper resource that you’ll want to peruse and bookmark.


In the Studio: I’m actually out of the studio for the next couple of weeks. I spent most of the week driving to Portland, where I deposited my daughter with friends, and then headed up to Seattle, where I’m lecturing and teaching at the University of Washington. 

Today, when I stopped in to pick up copies of Interluceo from Claudia Cohen (who is binding and boxing the book), I was treated to a personal showing of her latest book, which features two of my papers pictured in the center below. 



Here’s the title page for Volume Two of Claudia’s new book, Decorating Paper. Every one of the 500 paper samples are hand tipped into the book in a way that you can lift them, touch them and see their back sides. This link takes you to a blog post by Heavenly Monkey (the publisher) that features an interview with Claudia and her co-conspirator Barbara Hodgson. 



Aid for Nepal! Many of you might be familiar with Paper Road Tibet Project. Papermakers Nimto and Nima Sherpa of Tibetan Handicraft & Paper in Kathmandu were severely affected by the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes in Nepal. They are now entering the monsoon season and are in need of building materials for shelter, for rebuilding their print shop, for making repairs to the school they established, and for helping their families and neighbors. In their home village of Bigu and the two adjacent villages, all 2,000 dwellings were destroyed. Many of you may have seen, or may even own, small and colorful Tibetan prayer flags made of handmade paper. Since 2005, Nimto and Nima and company have sent more than five million of these prayers all around the world.

And now these dear friends need our prayers – and our help! We have already sent some funds and are still raising more. No amount is too small. If you wish to contribute directly, please make checks payable to: Paper Road Tibet and mail to: Tom Leech, 2 Casa Del Oro Loop, Santa Fe, NM 87508.

Please note, Paper Road Tibet relinquished its 501(c)3 status in 2003. While these contributions are not tax deductible, 100% of funds will be wired to Tibetan Handicraft & Paper, LTD. For tax deductible and credit card contributions, contact dZi Inc. And here’s a detailed earthquake report from Tibetan Handicraft & Papers, plus Tibetan Handicraft & Paper’s pre-earthquake websiteThank you, on behalf of Paper Road Tibet!

Sun Drying Kathmandu

Did you see the new U-line catalog cover? Cardboard at its finest!


Do you recognize this paper? Check out this tutorial and make your own paper bag pendant light from A Piece of Rainbow. I love the clever covering for the lamp cord, too. 


Speaking of paper bags, have you ever noticed that there are names printed on the bottoms of paper bags? I hadn’t… but here’s a fascinating story behind those names…


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ou gift! 

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Thank you to those who have pledged your support, and enjoy your Sunday!


1 Comment

  1. Kimberly says:

    Why did you use my elephant hide paper picture without my permission or giving me credit. Do you know that picture is copyrighted?