It’s 4:57 pm. I am going to make then update this post as I work on  putting a piece into the 12-fold star/rosette that I have been waiting to finish. There’s a handful of tiles that I am still waiting for, but I’ve decided to get everything done that I can and see what happens next.

The first step to prepare the next piece is to scan it. About a dozen people gave me their hard copy and this is one of those, from my friend Stephen.

Stephen's piece of the start #32

Stephen’s piece of the start #32

The scanned in version is a raster image, which means it’s made up of small colored squares. Here’s what it looks like up close:

Tile 32, up close, raster image

Tile 32, up close, raster image

It’s 5:17 now. I am going to hit my “Publish” button, and continue updating this post as I continue to getting this image ready to place in the star.

Going Vector

Going Vector

5:32. Next stop for this image is in Abobe Ilustrator. This is my “stars in progress” folder. Each tile I work on gets it’s own layer. Here I run the “image trace” function on the image then ask the program to expand this traced image. From far away nothing changes but up close the whole structure of the graphics have changed.

up close vector

up close vector

You can see here that there are no more little colored squares. This vectorized image allows enlargement and reduction of the image without the concern of blur or loss of detail.

5:43. Time to place the image on the star.

filling in the blank

filling in the blank

Well, I still had to do some resizing, touching up of edges, and deleting stray marks. Then I go to my Stars Gathered file in Adobe Illustrator and zoom in on the section that I will be filling in.



This is the last part of the process that I am showing, as I want to show the finished piece all at once.

Now I’m on to the next file.

Star Tile Files

Star Tile Files

A couple of people have dropped out of the project SO if you would like to join this project and think you can fill in a tiles this weekend, please let me know! Contact me through the comments section or email me at paula12fold at gmaildotcom.

Now, happily, back to work. I’m loving this project!




This older post has been getting a bit of attention recently. I am doing this repost of it, as it’s a good reminder to me of how modest materials and few cuts can make stunning designs.

Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Book Covers by Frist Graderss

Book cover design has its challenges for all ages.  When the books that I make with children have a title page,  rather than repeat the title page info up front,  I like students to design a visually stunning cover. I used to give first graders lots of bits of cut paper, with the directions that they should cut and glue a nice design on to their covers. Those of you who work with first graders know exactly how that goes…..I’ve tried many approaches to the cover graphics, and recently I tried something out that is an elementary version of something I have done with adults. I was happy with the results, so here it is.

cut paper

I started out by letting students pick just one strip of 2″ x 8″ paper. They then took just two small pieces of paper from an assortment of bits of paper that were in a box. The technique that I encouraged was specific:

  • make just three or…

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Building Up Textures

January 26, 2016

 texture detail 2x+1

texture detail 2x-1

As I am waiting for the last of the star-tiles to arrive in my inbox I am thinking about another gathering of images. This time I’m thinking about straight lines.

2x+1 op

2x+ -1 Dan Anderson Open Processing

I’ve always been a fan of textures that are built up with simple markings.  When I first saw Dan Anderson’s images made in Open Processing they totally caught my interest. There’s no one particular image that his interactive image create, like if you go to the link on screenshot above you will see something that looks very different from the image here. There is, however, a system of rules that govern these images, and I’ve been looking at this page on and off for months now, responding to it in different ways.


Zooming out 2x-1

This time around I decided to trace the line. This is a step beyond work that I did years ago, in which I would fill up a page with closely spaced parallel pencil lines. I liked the way the pencil marking, which would by their nature, go on to the paper with varying degrees of darkness. Now, with lines mapped out for me, I can describe the lines with different textures.

When it first occurred to me to do this I wondered how crazy this might be to do, but that sort of consideration just required getting to it. In fact, it took only a few hours, after all, it’s just a total of 160 lines, so it turned out to be completely doable, at least at the scale of standard copy paper.


2x-1-full image

These are done with Sharpies. I haven’t figured out how to make this a group project, but I am thinking about it. Seems to be it would best be done analog, not through the computer. In any case, I will likely will be looking at it more closely.

Looking very closely

Looking very closely

Like the star project that I am in the process of building, this way of working with both hand work and digital tools creates results that I couldn’t get using just one or the other way of working. I’m having a great time with it.


Gathering Stars

January 18, 2016

Cynthia, Tile #28 Star 2

Cynthia, Tile #28 Star 2

I’ve been working on putting together the colored paper tiles people have sent me for my gathering of stars (see Invitation to My Sandbox).  This will be a short post to let those of you are participating to let you  know that I am in the assembly stage, and that it’s going well, and to say thank you again to all the people who are participating.

Also, I wanted to publicly answer a question my friend Rowan Jai asked as he handed me his tile, just before heading back to college in NYC. He asked if I would be doing any more of these stars? I am assembled two of them at the moment, but he wanted to know if this would be all. I told him I hope to keep doing these for the rest of my life. It’s not that I want to do this project exclusively, but I can see this project being repeated at the summer lunch program for children in our community, at schools that I teach in, and at all sorts of gatherings of people that I am part of. I see this as an on-going project that supports my belief in diversity and unity. There’s no reason to ever consider it ending.

Iva,Red and Gray tile #21

Iva,Red and Gray tile #21

For now, though, my focus will be on getting these first two stars together well. I have to sharpen up some of my computer skills, but that’s happening just fine. The toughest part so far is getting lost in the unexpected patterns that are emerging. At the corners where the different tiles meet, triangles and other shapes come together, colored by different people, and create the most beautifully filled in shapes. This project is fertile ground for surprises as I have not been able to even begin to envision what the final look of the stars will be. One thing that I had hoped is in fact happening, and that is that the underlying geometry of the 12-fold  rosette is beautifully, gracefully, and effortlessly holding together all the various decisions that people have overlaid on their own piece of star.

There are still few small edges that I can send out to people to color. I had planned to color these in myself, but I am happy to send them to anyone who would like to be part of this project. Be in touch by email at paula12fold at gmaildotcom or leave a comment below.



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