Pleating Around

Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern
Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern

Last spring I taught a pleating class at Center for Book Arts. The timing was interesting in that the warm weather was coming, and people who had been home bound due to Covid concerns began to venture out. One of my pleaters, Barbara, went to visit family. Along the way she collected paper items, such travel brochures, and transformed them with folds.

Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern side detail
Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern side detail

I don’t get out much. Covid is increasing in the area that I live in. My county has one of the lowest vaccinations rates around. But I do get out some…and when I do, I try to remember to pick up something to fold.

A few months ago, I had breakfast out with friends in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I pleated the placement. The waitress loved what I did so much that I gave it her. She said she wanted to share it with her mother. I didn’t take a photo.

Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern top detail
Pleating at the Blue Pig Tavern top detail

About two weeks ago my older sister invited friends and family to a post-wedding morning breakfast at the fabulous Blue Pig Tavern in Cape May, NJ. A nice crowd of us sat at a long table, still winding down from the night before. My younger sister was at my end of the table, as were other guests, including one of my older sister’s best friends from high school, who is the gloriously talented artist, Coral Bourgeois. As my little family and I left to start the long drive home, I asked Coral if I could have her placemat.

Placemat Pleating, view from above
Placemat Pleating, view from above

In all, I was able to walk away with three placemats. Mine, Bri’s and Coral’s. I knew I’d be doing some pleating, so even though it’s kind of weird to slyly inspect people’s placemats to determine if they have eaten neatly enough, I wasn’t going to risk having just one piece of paper to work with.

Placemat Pleating, base detail
Placemat Pleating, base detail

Good thing I had three. It’s taken me a few false starts to make something that I liked. I just kept refolding one of the placements (which eventually tore in many places, had to be repaired, and is on the backside of this folded item) until I was sure of how to proceed. Having three of them took all the pressure away. You see, I wanted to make this for my Instagram page so I could tag Coral. It was so nice to connect with her, and I wanted some continuance.

This pleating was inspired by my class participant (and now friend) Barbara. My daughter did something else that weekend which I also had to join in on. During a beach walk, she collected and arranged shells.

I followed suit, thinking about waves. Sine waves…


She and I had time to make our shell masterpieces, as my son John and his sweetheart, Bri, just enjoyed the beauty of the ocean in autumn.

I love the idea of site specific work. It was great to actually go somewhere and dip my toes ever so lightly into working this way again.

One thought on “Pleating Around

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