Zhen Xian Bao

Chinese Thread Book Workshop, so how did it go?


Running workshops is absolutely one of my favorite things, And this workshop was a good as it gets.

Two 6 hour days worked out well.

My own big takeaways:

Group folding
Group folding

Although people had their own desk area to work at, I began the day with all of us at a group table, without much personal workspace. We did most of our paper folding in these close quarters, as I think we all enjoyed the close proximity of each other. This made it easier for everyone to help each other, and for me to keep an eye on everyone. We’d spread out at different times, and people would go back to their more spacious desk area now and then for various reasons. I really liked how this worked out.

variation of the twist top box
Alan’s variations of the twist top box


Only two of the eight participants wanted to do learn the flower top box, and I wasn’t entirely surprised by this. What did surprise me is that, after showing one person a variation on the design  for twist-top box, numerous people got excited about these variations and tried them out. I’ve played around with these variations (which includes making folds and cuts and the upper edge of the box so that, when the sides rotate down, a surprising patterned is revealed) but I hadn’t tried out these variations using my patterned papers. I was outrageous pleased with how these turned out.

mix and match
mix and match

People seemed to love the patterns on the papers, which were designed specifically to work with the paperfolding that we were doing. The great things about these papers, for me, was that to make the patterns line up just right the paper folding had to be precise. If alignment was off, it was easy to see and easy to fix. It was like the designs were a sentient helper.

Pam's choices
Pam’s choices

People mixed and matched the papers in all sorts of surprising ways that wouldn’t have occured to me. This was so much fun to see. Makes me want to design more papers.

Glue with squeeze bottles, Pat's boxes
Glue with squeeze bottles, Pat’s boxes

I felt like I was making a radical decision in deciding not to use brushes for glueing. Most of the gluing was done with plastic squeeze bottles filled with Jade/PVA. People usef glue sticks just a bit to just secure down a tab here and there. We used double sided tape to attach the covers. All of this worked out really well. Was happy not to have brushes and bowls of glue around.

Mary Anne's pieces
Mary Anne’s pieces

One regret: I didn’t take enough photos. Also, I wish there had been enough time for us to stop and look at what each other did, as a group. I think two of the participants didn’t finish 100% with putting on their covers, though I know that they can do it on their own. I just like to be there when it all comes together just right at the end.

Yeah, I think I need to do some more paper designs. Really love these, but want something new to look at.

Related Posts:

This link https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/category/how-to-construct-zhen-xian-bao/ will take you to four different posts, each of which have a video tutorial near the end of each post, which shows how to make the various parts of the Zhen Xian Bao

Addendum 9/29/2018: Nancy Akerlyi recently taught a Chinese Thread Book.  Take a look at the gorgeous work done by her and by her students at http://www.libertygrovepaperarts.com/chinese-thread-books.html




3 thoughts on “Chinese Thread Book Workshop, so how did it go?

  1. Paula, I taught a Zhen Xian Bao workshop about two weeks ago using Crinkled Momi papers and we all had a great time. Each time I teach these we discover new possibilities! I love how your papers created wonderful designs. That would be fun to try ! Thanks for sharing your workshop info. Sometimes we rural paper artists feel a bit isolated and blogs like yours are a great help! Warmest regards, Nancy Akerly Sent from my iPhone Liberty Grove Paper Arts http://www.libertygrovepaperarts.com Sister Bay, Wisconsin 54234


    1. Choosing papers is, for me, the most challenging part of working with this structure. I just took a look at your blog, and love love your paper choices. I’m going to add your link on my post. It’s great to see what you are doing !


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