Trying to be a Student in the Classes I’m Teaching

Pleated paper mushroom
Morel by Paula

I’m attempting to be a student in the classes that I’m teaching this season. After all, the Paper Unbound classes I’m teaching through the Center for Book Arts, are about working with paper, so it’s not like there is finite acquisition of knowledge and experience to be had. Revisiting the basics of such a vast area of study always reveals surprising nuggets. As I introduce the basics, I get to explore them again myself.

Box Pleats
Pleat Play

The strategy I want the people in my classes to embrace, and what I want to model, is to start small, and get comfortable with the folds we’re making. It’s like learning a new language, starting with short simple sentences, working towards richer expression slowly as vocabulary increases. That is not to say that it’s not possible to make lovely evocative work with a limited vocabulary, it’s just that, at first, the goal is more about learning and gaining ease with skills.

I haven’t said this to this group of classes, but I need remember to say to this: although I very much want to see the folds that they are making, I realize that it’s the work that they do after the class is over, when they’ve had time to process and integrate this way of working, that these skills will evolve into something more personal.

Here’s what I wrote about the Paper Unbound class on twitter today.
Decorated paper by Anastasia Nute

Personally, whenever I’m a student in an arts related class, I feel that my work is dull, in the below average range, and it probably is. Over time, when the new way of working comes together with everything else I do, that’s when the magic happens.

Speaking of magic, here’s a fun, magical piece by Sarah Barton, first in the partially opened state….

Sarah Barton’s accordion book, partially opened.

and next in the fully opened state.

Sarah Barton, fully open 6 panel accordion

The surprise of the complete visual transformation of this piece is such a delight. Sarah made this in the most recent Accordion 101 class. At my request, Susan Joy Share did the instructing this week. Some time ago, Susan had shown me simple and efficient way to divide a paper into thirds, then fold each third in half, to make a six-panel accordion. Susan’s method is so satisfying that I asked her to show it to the Accordion 101 group. After dividing up the panels, Susan then modeled peek-a-boo panels. Even though the group only had a short time to work, it was stunning what people came up with. As Sarah pointed out, “this process of rapid prototyping is very effective.”

Photographing my artwork in the laundry room

The twelve week Accordion 101 series will come to an end in two weeks, on February 5. I’ve enjoyed these short little sessions immensely. Now it’s time for the next great adventure: Susan and I will be teaching two sessions of our twelve week, Center for Book Arts zoom class, Zhen Xian Bao & Beyond, starting on February 15 and 16. The first session is full, the second one is filling.

Making book structures and teasing out the secrets of paper folding on zoom suits me. I realized recently how suddenly appropriate the name of my blog is: bookzoompa. It guess, now, that stands for making books on zoom with Paula.

pleating · Zoom Workshop

Pleated Closure, Variation

A pleated closure which is a variation of Hedi Kyle’s School Book Wrapper with Pleat

Hedi Kyle shows an elegant wrapper with an exquisite pleated closure (Art of the Fold, project 34). I love the pleat and the way the book block slips into the wrapper. Some beautiful papers that have are too small (8 1/2″ x 11″ and 11″ x 15″) to use for Hedi’s structure. This set me thinking about how to create a cover with a pleated closure which uses less paper.

What I came up with doesn’t to retain the perfect way Hedi’s book slides into the cover. Instead, I did a little pamphlet stitch to attach the pages into the folder. This method allows me to use my papers to make a larger book. Oh, and there’s a perk to doing the sewing: I can add on some beads.

This is what I showed to the group who have been showing up to fold with me on Saturdays.

What’s fun is that I come up with a variation of what I learn from Hedi Kyle, then the people I teach my variation to make variations of their own.

Pleated Closures, variations by Ruth Nuesch

Two details that I want your to know in Ruth Nuesch’s books, above, are one, that in the lower folder she went ahead and made the folder with a relatively narrow piece of paper -she just made it work- and two, notice how she figured out how to include the pencil on to the strap.

Below, here’s one by Sarah Bailey Knight.

Sarah Bailey Knight

What especially delights me about this one by Sarah Bailey Knight is here selection of papers for the book block.

I generally am not making special videos of my Saturday open zoom workshops, but this is a structure that I’m afraid I’d forget if I didn’t record it. Here’s the video:

For anyone who is still interested, I’ll be continuing doing the zoom videos up until February 5, 2022. That’s four more sessions. All details at

Accordion Books · cut paper · Zoom Workshop

Darling & Jazzy Dancing Paper Dolls

Cut Paper by Sue Reynolds

Just three hours until the next 4pm EST zoom workshop, wanting to write about the last one before it slips into the abyss of last week. I was even more nervous about this presentation than usual, not sure what the reception would be from this talented and brilliant group to the prospect of making paper dolls.

Was delighted that the project was met with open hearts, and ,ooo-la-la, people got into the playful spirit of the the day.

Cut Paper, Lisa Hart

These dolls were inspired by my wonderful memories of working with a truly gifted art teacher, Geraldine Merrill, who worked in a inner city school district that had many challenges. Geraldine broke all the rules, lived outside of the box, and created incredibly rich imagery with kids, including paper dolls, which were embellished in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Susan Joy Share’s cut paper with Crayon rubbings above

The idea here was to let the figures have a sense of movement and allow room for each of the figures to have their own personalities.  Susan Joy Share made these stylish women, strong and wild, with the best hair. Susan has been doing explorations of surface design using rubbings on various materials. Glad she included one of her cover designs in the photo above. Am hoping she uses it with these cut figures.

Developing the wardrobes, Emma Reid

Even though we had just a half-hour together, it was long enough to see different ways people chose to explore their own direction. The wardrobe and accessories of Emma’s girls are enchanting. Notice the pom-pom on the hat, and the knot of the scarf.

Cut paper, Nancy Haarmeyer 

The way that I asked people to design the figures was to first draw a stick figure, then flesh it out by just imagining the lines to be thicker. When the cutting is done, I expect the paper to be flipped over so that the lines don’t show. Above, I’m happy that Nancy Haarmeyer provided me a photo that shows the lines, thus showing the process.

Jazzy figures, Gerry Mcgaunn

Most of the cut-outs seemed to lean toward being girls, which I wonder if that’s because we think of paper dolls as girls, or because it’s generally a female activity. I loved  that Gerry made his paper dolls look decidedly male. It was seeing  his cut-outs that even made me aware of the female leaning of the other pieces.

Girls having fun, Beth DellaRocco

Now here’s a set of playful girls, one that surprised me: I was over at my friend’s Beth house and saw it on her work table. I didn’t know she had been at our paper doll session. I asked her for this photo. I have unilaterally decided that this is an image of her and I at play.

I have mine own to show that I may add in to this post later, but now I need to be thinking about today’s session, where we will be doing something with one well placed pleat.

Join today at 4pmEST

Paula Krieg is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 732 8168 5909
Passcode: XBFUX2

Working with Paper · Zoom Workshop

Paper Unbound

Edge Release Folding

Here’ we go again. Staying home a good bit.

Staying home has been good for me. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken this the time to dive deeply into some interests. I’ve also been able to develop zoom classes that I would have never had time to develop while I was teaching in schools.

Pleated Elephant Hide Paper

Last spring I designed and taught a four-week class that focused on working with papers in unusual ways. Four weeks didn’t seem like enough. Am trying it out this January as a five week course. I feel like I get to collaborate with the people work with. as I try to offer skills that are meant to be embellished by people’s own proclivities. Just writing this reminds me of one woman who felt she wasn’t with the program because she took what I offered and completely transformed it into something of her own. I loved what she did.

Box Pleats

The class description just got put up on Center for Book Arts website. There’s a picture and a class write up there. Want to show more, though.

There’s all these ways of working with paper that would have never occurred to me, that I’ve now stumbled upon and have worked out.

I’m interested in these paper forms for the same reason I’ve been interested in making books. It’s always been the structure of the book that was most intriguing to me. I’ve liked building books. It’s why I’ve liked Hedi Kyle’s work so much.

I’ve always had trouble making really good looking solids. Thought I was just too clumsy or impatient to get it right. Finally figured out that I just needed better technique. This will be part of class 5.

There will be a couple of origami moments in the class. One that will show up in the very first class is a cube by Tomoko Fuse. There’s three reasons to do this. First, it is such a mind-blowing clever construction, two, it gives me a chance to help people decipher origami instructions, and three, well, I’m not going to tell you the third reason…

Here’s a way of folding that creates a curved form. People last spring created lovely glowing forms, using light behind them. This one would be so much easier to teach in person. I was surprised that everyone got it. They were so brilliant.

That’s all for now.

Here are the details of the class, somewhere on this page.