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.
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.
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.
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.