Book Art · Workshops

Well, that was fun…

Taught the first set of the in this series of cool Zoom paper engineering classes for Center for Book Arts.

Was trying something new, so I was very nervous. What I did differently in this class was, instead of filling the time with lots of instruction, I showed one thing. Okay, maybe two, but the second thing was a variation of the first. The structure was a pop-up that was made by using a constraint, which guided the way the paper moved. After showing a few things, we worked on what I taught, then worked pretty much independently for quite a while before I started teaching again.

I was able to share some of my favorite tips about decoration, showed more variation on the same structure, and then it was time for show and tell.

My favorite thing that I worked on was a second version of a lollipop farm. It opens really well, making it look like lollipops are emerging from the earth. People tried out all sorts of inventive ideas of their own, going in directions that would have never occurred to me.

I very much wanted people to enjoy the relaxed, playful nature of the class. A number participants were people who had worked with me on-line before. One person was a far more accomplished artist than me. One person knew me from following this blog (hi Leslie!), and the rest were taking a chance. Everyone seemed really happy. Then most of them signed up for another class in this series, so, yeah, I guess they enjoyed what we did together.

Next set of classes will be making the Magnificent Unlikely Pop-Up Bird. There will be an evening option and an afternoon option. What I like about this bird is that its wings are a canvas for decoration. I use cut paper, Prismacolor pencils, and, sometimes, gold sticker paper to create these. Participants will print out their own pdf template, which they will then personalize. People will be using their own materials, or they can choose to buy a packet from me for the class.

If anyone is interested in joining me for the Magnificent Bird project, I will teaching it on Monday evening EST, July 19, and Thursday afternoon EST July 29.

Hope you’re all having a good summer. I am. 🙂

Book Art · Book Artists

Other People’s Beautiful Books, created, designed and collected

Embroidered Book Cover
Embroidered Book Cover

A beautiful handmade book arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

It came all the way from Greece. Had lovely postage stamps on the package.

Can you believe how extraordinary this stamp is?
Can you believe how extraordinary this stamp is?

I wasn’t looking to purchase a book, but I stumbled across an image of this one on Pinterest and was completely drawn in. I could see that the binding was hand stitched

but the straight lines and the long curve on the cover also looked like the were stitched. I suppose I could have asked the seller about the stitching but I chose to buy the book and see for myself. Yes, all those line are embroidered with a cotton thread.

This book, and as it turns out, as well as many others, are created by Chara Dimopoulou. There’s a wonderful interview of Chara on the Etsy Greek Street Team site, which is written in both in Greek and English.

Chara Dimopoulou, images and desk
Chara Dimopoulou, images and desk

She mentions using a bodkin to make her holes. Hadn’t heard of that tool. Would love to know more. Did some on-line search, but there’s lots of bodkins so I’m still not quite sure what she’s using to make holes, and which holes she is using the bodkin to make. I can’t help wonder about tools.

~Addendum: Chara emailed me and told me that what she uses is a tiny awl, not a bodkin, as was translated. Glad this error showed up, though, as now I know what a bodkin is…and isn’t. ~

I was so excited about receiving this book that I made a little video showing the unpacking:


This will be the second book that I have with sewing featured on the cover that is now in my collection. The first one was given to me by my daughter for Christmas 2018.

Post-it note holder by Stefani Tadio
Post-it note holder by Stefani Tadio, Rochester NY

I spent a year admiring this bit of embroidery. This year I’ve been using it, allowing it to get dog-eared. Actually using it is a completely acceptable way of enjoying it, but it’s something I sometimes have a hard time doing.

As I was thinking of writing this post I saw that Mindell Dubansky put out an announcement about the beautiful book covers of Margaret Armstrong

Book Design by Margaret Armstrong
Book Design by Margaret Armstrong

Margaret Armstrong was a prolific designer of gold embossed book covers.

Book Cover and Spine Desgin by Margaret Atwood
Book Cover and Spine Design by Margaret Armstrong

Armstrong was actively drawing and designing book covers for fifty years, starting in 1890, which places her directly in the Art Nouveau era. I have to say that once I started looking at her designs, I descended right into her rabbit hole. So much beautiful work to see.

She didn’t just make covers for other authors’ books.

Book Cover by Margaret Armstrong
Book Cover by Margaret Armstrong

Look who the author is! Here’s one of her exquisite drawings from this book.

Indain Paint Brush by Margaret Atwood
Indian Paint Brush by Margaret Armstrong

Here’s a cover that isn’t gold embossed but is every bit as lovely as the others. Or maybe there is some gold embossing here. Not sure.

Bookcover Design by Margaret Armstrong
Book Cover Design by Margaret Armstrong


Looking at these lovely covers I went looking for the books that make up my small collection of gold embossed covers.

Darkness and Daylight in New York
Darkness and Daylight in New York

“My small collection” means two books. I actually enjoy reading the stories of in Darkness and Daylight in New York, though they can be rather brutal to read. Not a good chapter for many people during the era this was written.

Great Composer, Elson
Great Composer, Elson

Haven’t read this one at all. For me, it’s all about the cover.

So many beautiful books. No, I don’t think they are going to ever become obsolete.




Book Art · geometry and paperfolding · origami · Zhen Xian Bao


Threads, a Zhen Xian Bao, Paula B Krieg
Threads, a Zhen Xian Bao, Paula B Krieg

I just sent this piece out to be in a show in Massachusetts. Included with the piece is an invitation for the book to be handled and for the viewers to take a piece of it with them.  As you might suspect, there’s a bit of a condition.

I’ve been making models of this folder of expandable boxes, known as Zhen Xian Bao, for quite some time. I’ve been so busy deciphering the structure and creating designs for the papers that I make them out of that I haven’t thought too much about what to put into these boxes, which. traditionally, were used to store thread.

Here’s the chronology of thought then. First structure, then embellishment, now content. Finally I’m ready to think about content, now that I am satisfied with some of the solutions to my first and second considerations.

Here’s what I’ve put in the boxes:

There’s about 64 paper tiles stored in the various boxes of this structure. Each tile is threaded with a loop. The back of each tile has words or phrases that I repeat to myself, the threads of thought that help me get through my days.

I had wondered if I would be able to come up with 64 things that I tell myself, so I asked my a couple of friends for some of their thought threads. I included some from Jocelyn, especially liked “Bring a book,” and Susan’s “Mend a thing.”

Funny thing, though, after I got started, it was easy to come up with scores of things I tell myself.  So many thoughts woven into a day.

Now, here’s a box of blank tiles that I’ve sent along with my work. There’s three of these boxes. They are meant to sit alongside my Zhen Xian Bao. There is also a pencil in each box. I’ve sent word that I am inviting viewers to add one of their thoughts to one of my boxes. Then, after they’ve made their contribution, they are invited to take one of my thoughts with them.


I don’t know how this will work out. As there are tiles in each one of these 13 expandable boxes, I am hoping/anticipating that my Threads book will return with wear and tear showing. I will consider evidence of handling as the finishing touches.


Now it’s out of in the world, out of my hands!

Book Art

Teaching Weekend

It was great to be back teaching at The Center For Book Arts this weekend. As far as I can recall, the last time I taught there was nine years ago. Things have changed at CBA, in such good ways. It’s wonderful to see this evolution.

The class, making Zhen Xian Bao, Chinese Thread Books. enrolled just three people, which was such a pleasure.  Even though the group was small I still was mostly on the move, either teaching to the group or helping people individually, so I, sadly, didn’t think to take more than just a few photos.

tutorial video for flower top box:

Since we were such a small group I decided to show them all how to make the flower-top origami box. In the last workshop I taught, I made this optional, and only two of the eight people in that workshop opted in. There is so much to learn on the whole, that showing this particular variation of the top level of these layered boxes, which requires takes lots of time and focus, seems to be more like bonus material rather than basic knowledge. Also, since it takes a whole hour to teach the flower top box, and is impossible to remember after seeing it just once,I was worried that the class participants might feel overwhelmed. Instead, it seemed the class was delighted with these folds. I’m glad there’s a video they can watch to remind them of what we did.

An extra treat, for me, was that I was able to show my models of the Zhen Xian Baos to other artists who were milling around The Center for Book Arts. No one that I showed it to was at all familiar with this book form. I have been so totally focused on it for so long that I forget that it’s still not a well know form.

Looks like teaching the Zhen Xian Bao will be on CBA’s course schedule for the fall. Already looking forward to teaching this again.