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  • Paper Crafts


    As part of the regular ebb and flow of creativity I have entered a period of studio slump. But the urge to create never leaves completely. While my big ideas percolate I still feel the need to make stuff. Right now I just don't seem to have the energy and brain power to follow through on the big ideas, so I revert to my artsy-craftsy side. When I'm not working with fabric  I like to make things with paper. I collect quite a bit of paper ephemera - magazine pages, business envelopes, Chinese cookie fortunes. I'm attracted to the colors, patterns, textures, and text.

    Our American culture uses and disposes of paper without much thought. Even in the expanding tech world that promised to make us paperless, the paper stream is ubiquitous. Some other countries don't have nearly the easy access to paper that we do. In many places paper making is a much slower, and reverent, process - a hand-made process that uses local vegetation as the primary material. With the amount of labor that goes into producing these papers one is not inclined to easily throw them away.

    On the other hand, we have paper mills that churn wood pulp into reams of computer paper, envelopes, magazines, newspapers, junk mail, catalogs, advertisements...... and on and on and on. Most of it enters the waste stream after one use. What paper I don't recycle, I collect to use in some creative way, though realistically the amount that I save is only a small percentage of the paper that flows through my home.

    So, in my own small bid to re-use and recycle I attempt to transform my collected stash of ephemera into little pieces of beauty. My paper craft of the moment is origami stars. A friend showed me how to make them several years ago and occasionally I go on a star binge - like now. There are lots of tutorials and videos online that show how to fold the stars. Here is just one of them that I think shows the process in a clear way. You can do your own search to find more. There are even websites and E-bay shops selling the cut papers, but I don't think you need to go that far. You can find just what you need in your own home - and that is the intention after all.

    Origami_Stars_blog_3I thumb through magazines and catalogs to find colorful pages and then cut them into 1/2" wide strips for folding. Look for color, patterns, texture, and even text. Only about the last 3" at the end of the cut strip shows on the finished star so look there when choosing your papers. Any imagery or color at the center gets folded in and covered up. I use a clear ruler and a rotary cutter to make the 1/2" strips - tools that most quilters already have. If you are not a sewer you could measure and mark the 1/2" strips and cut them with scissors.




    It's fun to see each little "jewel" form. They are small and surprisingly sturdy. The way they are folded, then "popped out", gives them structural integrity. Paper that is too thin won't work well. Some catalogs use heavier paper that can be a little harder to "pop" but will work. Magazine and catalog covers are often a heavier paper than the inside pages. Try some to see how the papers, patterns, and colors work. They are not so precious that you even need to consider "mistakes". Gathered into a bowl or other clear container they look beautiful. Be careful that no one eats them though! I've had guests, and not just children, pop them into their mouths thinking they are candy!

    Looks yummy doesn't it? But not so good to eat!

    I can usually be found making these in the evening while watching TV. I used to do hand piecing or quilting during that time, but I no longer do much hand sewing. This is a good alternative - it keeps my hands busy and keeps me awake, instead of dozing off on the couch! And it feels productive in a small, but beautiful, way.

    Until next time-



  • Dilemma - To Publish New Work or Not

    Dilemma, n. a situation involving a choice between equally unsatisfactory alternatives

    It can be a difficult decision whether or not to make public a recently completed work of art. All of my art quilts are destined to be entered into one quilt show or another. Some shows, not many, have strict requirements that the quilt can not be previously published. Quilt National is notoriously exclusive. I don't want to thwart my chances of being included in a national juried quilt show, yet I make my art to be seen! I feel that it is an unsatisfactory alternative to keep it under wraps too long. I want to show my ideas and what I'm doing, and frankly I feel that if I don't show it someone else might come along with a similar enough idea that mine looks like a copy. Now that is an unsatisfactory alternative!

    Until next time .....


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