Looking Forward: Teaching

Zhen Xian Bao, Paula Beardell Krieg

Last summer when Center for Book Arts asked for virtual class proposals I didn’t submit any. When they asked me about classes I said no, I didn’t have the equipment or the skill to teach on-line. I suspected my internet wouldn’t let me teach via zoom. They were willing to feed me information and hold my hand through my transition to this world. It’s been so cool.

The technical chops are just a piece of this journey. After teaching some very fun professional development classes last August I decided to take some time to think long and hard about what I most wanted toteach. It was during a conversation with my friend and fellow book artist Susan Joy Share that my thoughts came together.

Not your typical Zhen Xian Bao

I have a strong attraction to Zhen Xian Bao, aka Chinese Thread Books. I have made so many that I now feel ready to be more creative with the structure. What rose to the surface was wanting to make these structures within a community of people who were both fluent and fluid with the basics of these thread books. If only I could work with people over several months, maybe we could get really creative together.

Expandable Hexagonal Boxes

I ran the idea past my friend Susan. She encouraged me. Then I asked her to teach it along with me. She said yes! Next, we pitched the idea of the class to CBA. They had no idea if people would sign up for a 12 week class, but they accepted the proposal & listed it on their site.

I was going to try to promote the class this on my blog but never got the chance because it filled so quickly. Can’t begin to express how happy this made me.

Pre-pandemic I taught two-day, in person, Zhen Xian Bao workshops, which was wonderful, but there is so much information to fit into two days that saturation sets in. In a twelve-week zoom workshop, techniques, ways of seeing, examining tools, and entertaining out-of-the-box possibilities can happen a little at a time. Teaching from home lets me bring participant on a long, deep dive into structures, skills, and explorations.

Having Susan to plan with and teach with makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. The class started this past week. The class felt good.

Okay, so that’s the big teaching news in my life.

I still have a couple of one-session workshops that I can promote here on my blog.

Hidden Boxes, partially open

I’ll be teaching a two-hour zoom workshop, with The Center for Book Arts, on February 24, on the three hidden boxes version of the Zhen Xian Bao. Again, I hope to do more than show people how to do something. I want to talk about possibilities, get people to see that the skills that I will be showing them can be used in many different and unusual ways. The link

French Link Binding

On Monday, March 29 I will be teaching a two-hour workshop on the French link stitch on accordion pleats. This is a well loved stitch that has lots of applications. It’s most often used with book tape. Sewing on an accordion makes sense to me with this stitch, and it not a typical way of working. I’ll be sending people strips of this gorgeous epic black Neenah linen cover paper, a selection of papers for the book block, lengths of colored thread, and needles. I an anticipating it was be a relaxed and satisfying couple of hours.

It’s all such a mystery, seeing how all of these ideas will fly on zoon. Onward.

PS Below is the video I made to about offering the Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond Class. Am thinking that if Susan and I decide to offer the class in other venues, I can reference this.














Making Something before Looking Forward

Georgia on My Mind, January 5, 2021

The act of making something focuses me in a positive direction Paper folding engages me in just the right way.

Isolated here at home due to pandemic concerns, feeling agitated by the events of the day, it occurs to me that maybe you would like to do a bit of paper folding, too.

To make the monolith above, I start with a template of straight lines that is on page 68 of Paul Jackson’s book Cut and Fold Techniques for Pop-Up Designs.

I sketch out the lines on a piece of paper. The vertical lines are evenly spaced across the paper. A few days ago I folded a model based on Jackson’s lines exactly as they are, which I suggest that you do too.

Cut and Fold lines for Georgia on My Mind

For this day’s fold, I’m taking some liberties with the lines. Adding some curves, redefining the top edge, then doing the folds according to the first drawing. And that’s it.

I added a bit of color to my model, using a highlighter and a yellow circle. Then I carefully photographed it so it would look enormous. It’s four inches high.

Pretty simple for something that is so dimensional.

Full disclosure, I didn’t draw my curvy cut lines, simply made an indication with straight lines about where the cutting should go. That what works for me. Do what ever works for you. Hope you try this out.





Looking Back

Taking a bit of time to reflect here.

Nothing is as it was, or what we expected. Who knew, when the country suddenly shut down in mid-March, nine and a half months ago, that this health crisis would still be with us. Didn’t we all think that in a couple of weeks it would all blow over?

I keep trying to get my bearings in a world that keeps shifting. I don’t know if looking back will help with looking forward, but it’s all I’ve got.

Here’s some interesting stats from my blog and youtube channel.

Card Carrying Blizzard Book, a book structure designed by Hedi Kyle

My most popular blog for the year was a was a post I wrote in 2011 about Hedi Kyle’s Card-carrying Blizzard Book.

How to make 2 basic Pop-ups

The second most visited post was another one from 2011, about how to make simple pop-ups.

The most viewed post that I wrote during 2020 was about how to fold this lovely origami fireworks structure.

There’s a theme to the most viewed posts. Not sure if that theme is more a reflection of what people search for or more about what I tend to write about. There is a sustaining interest in folding paper to make dynamic structures.

On my youtube channel I don’t think I can’t see yearly traffic, just all time numbers.

Once again, the video of how to fold a piece of paper in half shows the most visits. I think that it’s awesome that so many people search out this video. I get lots of great comments about it. Truly, it’s a skill that I am proud to teach. I teach this wherever I can, whenever I can.

Not surprisingly, the video that explains how to construct a card-carrying Blizzard book, is the second most viewed video on my channel. This a a folded structure that feels magical every time I make it. So glad that I can show it to people. This is something that I had been reluctant to teach for years, as I was waiting for Hedi Kyle to put out her own instructions for it first, which she finally did in her book, Art of the Fold.

The most viewed video that I made during 2020 is about glide-reflection symmetry. 1179 views. This delights me no end. I made 5 other videos on different symmetry groups, which attracted generally below 100 views each. The much higher viewership to the glide-reflection video, speaks volumes about how hard it is for people to understand glide-reflection symmetry. Glad to be of help. The post that goes along with this video is

I continue to enjoy creating content for this blog. It’s great that other people find it interesting.

Next post will be about looking forward.

Happy New Year to all!


Three Foldings: Artful, Modern, and Retro

Folding #1

Hard to say why some folds seem so intriguing. This one, a v-pleat with multiple gutters, keeps me coming back. I like the way I can, with the help of one piece of tape, get it to go all curvy like the one above.

When I like a fold this much I want to teach it. To teach it I have to examine, I guess, dozens of iterations, trying out different papers, working out angles of folds, spacing of vertical folds, ways to think about how to see the folding. Then I have to find someone(s) who actually wants to be taught. Which -yay!- actually happened.

Worked with some friends on zoom for about 25 minutes. Then made this 10 minute video. I go a bit fast in parts, but I didn’t want the video to seem too long, and I know you know how to hit pause.

Here it is, how to make that fold at the top of the page.

Folding #2

You know how sometimes you walk away from a video on Youtube, and when you come back another video is playing? That happened to me recently. When my attention turned back to the computer this most adorable fold was being made.

My first thought was, how did I live my whole life thus far without knowing this fold, which is how to close up a bag of chips? I, obviously, did not make this video, but it is so worth sharing. Feast your eyes!

I may never use this fold simply because every bag of chips I open becomes empty before I set it down. If I ever find a bag of chips that I can’t eat in one sitting (doubtful) I will be ready.

Folding #3

After discussing the first two folds in this post with Jim Stovall, he lamented that he’d like to know how to fold a sandwich in wax paper in such a way that it won’t escape.

In grade school I was lucky enough to have a Home Economics class. I can’t say that I liked our no-nonsense home ec teacher Mrs. Phelan, but a great deal of what I learned from her I carried forward with me. Probably more than any other teacher, I think of her as I go about living my life.

There are some things she did that she didn’t explicitly teach. One of these things was how to fold a sandwich securely within wax paper. I watched her do this many times (also with brownies and cookies). She would do it so fast that I was never quite sure what she did. I captured bits of what she was doing, but never mastered it.

After speaking to Jim I was determined to figure it out. Being someone who makes books, I have lots of wax paper around. Not sure if it’s a regular item with regular people.

I couldn’t do it then, and I couldn’t figure it out now. Youtube to the rescue.

This guy has gotten 153,415 views of this video in the past 32 months. He deserves it. I love that this lifelong mystery has been solved. Here it is, how to wrap a sandwich in wax paper so that it doesn’t escape.

There you have it, three wonderful folds.

If it so happens that you were hoping for more festive foldings, I highly recommend you head over to Cathryn Miller’s fabulous blog where she is doing a festive fold a day throughout the month of December.

It’s now time for me to go back to admiring (?) the 36+ inches of fresh snow that has just recently surrounded my home here in Upstate New York.