Cutting Up Beautiful Papers

January 8, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

10 Responses to “Cutting Up Beautiful Papers”


  1. Yes, using a stash of beautiful papers is difficult. But if they sit around for awhile and I know I can always buy more, it gets easier. Beryl

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    • Do you have on-line sources for paper that you’d recommend? PS…wish I could sign up for your Valentine’s workshop.

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      • There is a shop in Berkeley, California that I go to whenever I”m up visiting my children and grandchildren. It sells Japanese papers and that satisfies my thirst for wonderful papers for a while until the next trip. I like to see and feel the papers when I buy. So sorry, no online sources. Beryl

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  2. aggyd Says:

    I totally get that “stash” mentality, Paula, and am very guilty of it myself. As for the cost of paper (you are right!), I wonder why you don’t take a stab at making your own. Time consuming, for sure, but so very satisfying.

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    • Hi, you are so right about the advantages of making/decorating my own papers. In fact, I’ve done lots of both, and even have piles of my own decorated papers around, but the fact is that, at the moment, I’ve grown weary of my our visual vocabulary of decoration, and find it more satisfying to work with papers outside of my own reach. Do you know what I mean? It’s not that I won’t ever go back to what I can make myself, in fact I am sure that I will get back to it, but I really do like dipping outside of myself for now. So, do you make paper, decorate paper,or both?

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      • aggyd Says:

        I took a paper making class at Chester Creek Press, which was wonderful, but I’m hoping to try my hand at making some fancier papers. The ones that are for sale are gorgeous but, whenever I see some beautiful handmade ones I think … hmmmm … wonder if I could do that! 🙂

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      • Hmm, wonder if we should go together and spend some time at Chester Creek , making some papers!

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  3. Really appreciated this post – perfect timing! I was just deciding whether I could let myself try something new with a special paper. Nice to know I’m not the only one!

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  4. […] I had to take a deep breath before cutting into the stash of “good papers” but once again found inspiration from Krieg and her posting “Cutting up Beautiful Papers.” […]

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