What can you do with Discarded Sheets of Paper?

What can you do with Discarded Sheets of Paper?

The Sunday Paper #415

May 29, 2022

This past week, I hosted a group of high school students from the Colorado Academy, who spent the last week of the school year on an “Interim Trip”. It was fun to develop a program for them. They brought a mini bus filled with 9 students and 2 teachers to my studio in Red Cliff, Colorado for three days. We made covers for a book, practiced five papermaking techniques, and learned several one-sheet book structures. They went to the Denver Art Museum on Thursday, and I drove to Denver with their papers and we bound them into a collapsible accordion book structure on Friday. They all had good hand skills.


I love these sentiments of Samuelle Green, who recycles hundreds of thousands of discarded sheets of paper into millions of hand-rolled cones and builds fantastic cave installations. “There is structure and design inherent in the natural world which we constantly draw from and take for granted. We generally fail to acknowledge the skill, time, and detail required to manifest the intricate structures found in objects we encounter regularly — such as those found in bird and wasp nests, beehives, spider webs, rock formations, anthills, feathers, and countless others…”.


Did you know that Hans Christian Andersen made paper cuts? He enchanted party guests of all ages with improvised stories as he snipped away, unfolding the sheet at tale’s end, a souvenir for some lucky young listener. Approximately 400 survive, primarily in the Odense City Museums’ large collection.


This looks like a great paper exhibition, featuring some of Matisse’s paper cuts, along with the work of 42 leading British paper artists and an installation by Amy Williams. The ‘Matisse and Contemporary Paper Artists Exhibition’ is open daily now through Sunday, September 4th at the gallery at Rheged, near Penrith in Cumbria, the UK.

Some of the work to be displayed at the Matisse and Contemporary Paper Artists Exhibition at Rheged


Hand Papermaking’s annual auction is now live (through June 5th) and features 80 fantastic papery items, including:

  • One of a kind paper moulds;
  • Paper fibers and papermaking materials;
  • Papermaking instruction books and DVDs;
  • Paper art objects;
  • Fine handmade papers;
  • Paper-related books;
  • Fine-press books made with handmade paper;
  • And wonderful paper-based experiences.


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!

Here’s a pair of single-sheet books that come together in a fabric wrapper. One book is folded as a Turkish Map Fold, and when open is 11x 11 inches. The second book folds out to measure 11x 17, and has a cover hand painted with eco inks. These books are part of Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck’s The Rhinoceros Project, which began with Albrecht Durer’s woodcut, The Rhinoceros, a life-size (7 x 9’) embroidered version of Durer’s print. This embroidery was created in sewing circles and has been used as a matrix to create an edition of watermarks in handmade paper to commemorate the two remaining Northern White Rhinoceros. The watermark is a ghostly image, and the intention throughout the project is to create space for conversations on loss, extinction, value systems, and revitalization.

“Onward,” The Rhinoceros Project, (Anne Beck and Michelle Wilson), 2019, letterpress and woodcut on Environmental Almond Paper, with handmade abaca paper covers.

Paper Tidbits:


In the Studio:

Since I had to go to Denver to teach this week, I stopped by the library where my giant paper lantern will be on view throughout the summer. I wanted to see the shelves filled with books about light, which weren’t complete when I left. These shelves create a lovely space to read about and ponder light. I also dropped off a comment book, encouraging viewers to share their thoughts:

Respond to one of the quotes found on the pages in this book or come up with your own. Write your thoughts on any page and discover what others are thinking by reading their comments.  

Be the Light: As you sit beneath this giant lantern, reflect on yourself as the light. What makes you shine? What illuminates you? What excites you, energizes you, makes you tick?

Shine Your Light: How you can spread your light into your community and the world?

Light is a noun and a verb: You can be the light and light up the world.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

The Art of Papercraft, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds, Water Paper Time, a film download, and The Papermaker’s Companion.

The Art of Papercraft


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  1. Ruth Dailey says:

    The booklet produced by AnyThink Library is phenomenal – so beautifully done. I wish I could participate in all the activities scheduled for their summer programs. Your “Step into the Light” lantern is amazing. Congratulations on a very successful project.