Paper folding in the morning

Paper folding in the morning

Yesterday I watched a video that showed the Lawler family looking at shapes.

One of Mike’s sons said he liked the top shape in the image above. You can’t see from the photo, but it’s a full sphere. The image above is only half of the sphere, the other half looks no different than the half that is showing. I’ve played around with constructing foldable versions of shapes that look something like the one above, and I thought I’d be able to make a foldable version of what was on Mike’s screen.

Template for folding and cutting

Template for folding and cutting

I’m not showing all the steps that led to this map of folding and cutting because what I’m most interested in showing here are the wonderful visuals I got to experience along the way of creating the final structure.

Folding and Cuttin

Folding and Cutting

Silly as it may seem, one of my first realizations was that the indoor, nighttime lighting in my workspace was just all wrong for photographing what I was about to fold. Morning light would be best. So I went to bed.

Assembling in the morning light

Assembling in the morning light

Of course I forgot to recharge the battery of my phone camera before I went to bed, so I didn’t get the earliest light.


Hmm, I don’t really want to say much more about this process. I’m just going to post pictures now. (Haven’t had my coffee yet.)






Ok. Time for coffee. Am heading to Rochester today to bring my daughter back to college. Will be thinking about all shapes that this structure made. (Which reminds me of a question someone once asked me, “What, do you just sit around thinking about folding paper?” Well, yeah.)

Terra Cotta and Green

January 14, 2017

Variations on Chinese Thread Book

two more Variations on Chinese Thread Book

My thought was that I would make a model based on the Chinese Thread Book, then make variations of said model using different papers. Turns out that using different papers resulted in creating many more questions than I anticipated. My next few posts will be showing how these questions got answered, one Zhen Xian Bao at a time.

Zhen Xian Bzo variation in Terra Cotta and Green

Zhen Xian Bao variation in Terra Cotta and Green

Whereas my previous thread-book-variation has a romantic feel to in, this one feels earthy to me, like it’s meant for keeping track of seeds, gardens, and planting/harvesting info. The green print is Chiyogami paper from The Paper Place, and the solid green on the left is Neeneh Classic Linen Cover, Augusta Green.

Variation of Chinese Thread Book in Green and Terra Cotta, Paula Beardell Krieg

Variation of Chinese Thread Book in Green and Terra Cotta

The pamphlet on the left is constructed with a five-station pamphlet stitch using waxed linen thread. The book block is Mohawk Superfine. The second tier box on the right is machine-made paper infused with flower petals.


Both the pamphlet and the rectangular trays fold away to reveal a big rectangular tray as the bottom layer, made with handmade paper from India. You can also see in this photo a sleeve made from Metallic Stardream paper. underneath the second tier try.


Inside the pamphlet is a small envelope that expands into….


…a little box.


Unlike my Indigo, Gold and Red version, I didn’t use the Chiyogami paper for the outside wrapper. I tried out lots of options, but this handmade terra cotta paper purchased long ago from Dieu Donne Papermill was the best choice. I still have just a bit of this paper left, so I can continue using this for a few more wraps, but just a few. It’s hard for me to use up a paper that I may never see again, but I remind myself that I have it so that I can use it.

It takes awhile to assemble these thread books, but what has taken me the longest is to mix and match my papers until I am happy –and I demand to be really happy– with my paper choices. I try to let the papers I start with suggest the rest of the paper choices.  Since this part takes so long, I am trying to make at least two of each paper/color combination, in an attempt to do at least a bit of streamlining.

One surprising discovering is realizing how well Stardream Metallics match the Chirogami. I’ll be showing more of this match in the next post, which, by the way, will feature a thread book that has a suede wrapper.  I didn’t see that coming, but it’s what worked. I feel like I’m just the messenger…

Indigo, Gold and Red

January 9, 2017

Zhen Xian Bao with Red, Gold and Indigo

Based on Zhen Xian Bao with Red, Gold and Indigo, barely opened

I’ve been cutting up my stashes of beautiful papers to design/make structures that borrow liberally from what I’ve learned about the Chinese Thread Book structure that I’ve been posting about over the last few months.

based on Zhen Xian Bao,, with Ried, Gold, and Indigo


Rather than strictly mimicking traditional Chinese structures, of which there are countless variations, I’ve been making variations of my own. Basically, I’ve been repeating one design with different combinations of paper, but mostly featuring Chiyogami papers. So far I’ve made five distinct compositions of papers. This one, with the indigo cover, and the red/gold paper inside, is the most romantic looking of them all.

based on Zhen Xian Bao,, with Ried, Gold, and Indigo

pamphlet and rectangular tray, opened

Inside, instead of going the traditional route and placing collapsible boxes on the verso and recto sides, I’ve chosen to place pamphlet on the left, and rectangular trays on the right.


Still, inside the pamphlet there is a traditionally made, collapsed origami box.


Here it is, that little box (a 2″ square), opened.

based on Zhen Xian Bao,, with Ried, Gold, and Indigo7

Next layer down is a machine-made paper, which contains real flower petals, a paper that is one of just a few pieces of paper I have left from the now extinct Kate’s Paperie.

Big Box layer

Big Box layer

Finally, here’s the big interior box, made from handmade paper from India, containing leave skeletons. Also, you can see there’s a copper Stardream Metallic on the right, which is a slim pocket.

Chinese Thread Book

Closed, with Gold

All closed up.


Chiyogami papers: 042; 771; 530:; 674; 226; 241, from The Paper Place

The saying, Wanting my cake and eating too absolutely applies to beautiful papers. I want to hoard them so I can have them when I want to use them, but I don’t want to use them because I will then no longer have them. How pathetic. I can’t keep doing this.


From a store, Creative Papers, that no longer exists, which Elissa Campbell recommended on her bookarts blog many years ago

I am making a real effort to break this habit of collecting but not using. I’ve been inspired on two fronts. First, I had one last birthday check from my mother to spend, and I wanted to spend it on some things that matter. I bought a Japanese screw punch for stab bindings, a few books that I had been eyeing, and a six sheets of Chiyogami paper from The Paper Place.

detail of Chiyogami paper form The Paper place

detail of Chiyogami paper from The Paper Place

Once I got my shipment of the paper I realized that I would probably squirrel the papers away and not see them again for years unless I used them immediately. It can be uncomfortable to apply cutting tools to these papers. However, since I’ve been enthralled with making Chinese Thread Books, I decided I could bear slicing up these papers to make something even more beautiful.

Paper from many sources

Paper from many sources

While using my new Chiyrogami papers it’s been fun mixing and matching them with my existent paper stashes. The orange paper above is handmade paper from Dieu Donne in New York City. I can’t tell from their website, but it looks like they don’t sell sheets of paper anymore? The paper on the lower right, above, is one of my last sheets of machine-made paper, with added flower petal bits, from Kate’s Paperie in NYC, which no longer exists. The dark blue paper has a metallic sheen to it, and it’s a Stardream Metallic Cardstock, available in many places. The other two papers are from Creative Papers, which no longer exists.


This is another point of discomfort: So many of my sources of paper are gone. Even when I can find papers that I want, well, the price of paper has gone up exorbitantly. But I love working with beautiful papers. The feel of paper, the soft sounds it makes, the way it folds, and how it looks are all characteristics I savor. I want to keep acquiring. I’m thinking that if I want to keep buying papers that I ought to do something that just doesn’t come naturally to me, which is to offer some of my bookarts products for sale. I’ve always depended on teaching to keep my budget for supplies solvent, but this no longer feels reasonable. I’m just not sure I can get myself to list stuff for sale. Still, I’m working on some Chinese Thread Book based items to possibly add to an Etsy store. Maybe. But first, over the next few days, I’ll start showing off some of the ways that I’ve been using these beautiful papers, and see what happens next.

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