8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Accordion Books · How-to

What we did last Saturday

Last Saturday a nice crowd joined me for a short accordion workshop, the first of what I hope will be a few months of these free, mini workshops to give us all some more practice with accordion folds.

The time was so short and it went so fast that it almost seemed like it didn’t happen at all. But I know it happened, mostly because I received some sweet notes, and even some photos afterwards.

Next session will be building upon this past one, so if you plan to come, and you missed out, take a look at the handout above.

This Saturday will be the same time -4 pm EST-, same zoom link as last week. I will show up about 10 minutes early if anyone want to chat, then by 2 minutes after the hour, demonstration starts, then zoom kicks us out at 30 minutes after the hour.

Paula Krieg is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73281685909?pwd=SUgwZGc2R096VndpSXpraVRPdURVUT09

Meeting ID: 732 8168 5909
Passcode: XBFUX2

How-to · Workshops · Zhen Xian Bao

Different Ways of Teaching Zhen Xian Bao

Trying out arrangements of boxes and patterns

Recently finished up teaching a 12 session 12-week zoom class called Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond, which I co-taught with Susan Joy Share for Center for Book Arts. Had the best time ever. Not only did the class go really well, but I had the opportunity to continue to evolve my teaching in this new zoom world.

Here are some thoughts.

Doing a series of two-hour classes weekly can be pretty intense, but the pay off is that people have time between classes to sift through what we covered and work on it at their own pace, which is exactly what happened. Everyone in the class, and I do mean everyone, evolved creatively and made incredibly interesting work. I won’t be showcasing the work from this class in my blog, as I am hoping that there will be some kind of on-line exhibition of this work, and I don’t want to jump in front of that possibility,

Instead, I will share with you part of what inspired the trajectory of the class, some of what I taught, and some of what I learned.

A page from Ruth Smith’s book, A Little Know Chinese Folk Art Zhen Xian Bao

Ruth Smith’s book on the Zhen Xian Bao inspired the class. The most commonly taught construction from this book shows four twist boxes on top of four masu boxes, hiding two rectangular trays, with a large tray underlying everything. We began the class learning how to make the parts of this lovely, elegant form, but right from the start we let students know that there are many more ways of making these Chinese thread books. As soon as we had become familiar with this foundational way of working, we got creative. It took about half the sessions to get through the basics, but after that, the sky was the limit.

A page from Ruth Smith’s book, A Little Know Chinese Folk Art Zhen Xian Bao

We explored all sorts of arrangement of boxes, sewed books into the covers, created different kinds of enclosures, explored a wide range of closures, scaled our creations to be all sorts of sizes, and more. First we drew inspiration from the myriad constructions in Ruth Smith’s book, then we drew inspiration from each other.

Another page from Ruth Smith’s book, A Little Know Chinese Folk Art Zhen Xian Bao

Due to the fact that the class happened over a three month period, I was able to respond to people’s particular interests. For instance, people wanted to learn a very beautiful closure that was designed by Hedi Kyle. I knew we didn’t really have time to learn this in one of our sessions, so I made a video, which people watched on their own.

Here’s a video of that closure

Co-teaching was full of surprises. First, I had no idea it would be so fun to co-teach. Since it was Susan Share that I was teaching with, I knew I would learn a great deal. What I didn’t realize was how working with her would deepen my understanding of things I already knew. Experiencing how Susan approached the material we both understood gave me a world of new insights. Also, since there was another instructor who was thinking about the next class, it gave me the freedom to create new content between classes that supported what was taught in the last class.

For instance, even though I taught an enclosure that we called a clutch, referencing chic small handbags, I refined my design after teaching it. Eventually I made an instructional video of this too, which you can view here:

Last thing I want to write about right are some thoughts about one-line teaching.

First, I broke with protocol concerning muting students. I asked everyone to keep the microphones on, unless they had a reason to turn it off. I found this way of working on zoom to be extremely valuable, as it allowed instant feedback. If I was drifting off camera, going too fast, hiding my work with my hands, people felt free to say something right away. If someone had a question at a critical point, they knew they could ask. I could hear people’s reactions when they saw something they really liked.

Now here’s something else that on-line teaching facilitated: by setting up a google slides page people were able to share their work, and see what others were doing. I believe this expanded their learning exponentially. It’s one thing to see me showing my models, but when they see the range of work that comes from each other, so so so many more possibilities open up. At this early stage of learning, having students see each other’s work was like giving plants copious amounts of sunlight, water, and rich soil just as they are beginning to grow. Susan and I had much to offer, but what students offered each other was really quite extraordinary.

That’s it for now. I hope that the next time I write about this particular class it will be about telling you where you can view the work of the fabulous artists who took the time to work with Susan and I through Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond,

folding · How-to

Pouch: Something from Almost Nothing #3

Continuing to miss my time working with kids.

This is one thing that I’ve compensated with: I’ve been submitting articles to a local paper, writing about paper crafts that can be made from the newspaper that the directions are printed on.

I’ve gone a step further. Within my 800 word limit, I add some math talk.

Here’s what the article looks like:

Published the The Greenwich Journal and Salem Press in Upstate NY

I wrote just a little bit about this pouch, and why I wanted to make it with kids in this post https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/little-hands-little-books-folds-math/,, which I highly recommend you look at if you are into kids, paper folding, and math.

I wrote up the directions so I wouldn’t forget them, calling it Paper Bag from a Rectangle.

 

Paper Bag from a rectangle
Paper Bag from a rectangle

What I didn’t know when I wrote that post in 2018 was how much both the kids and adults would like making this pouch! In subsequent times that I met with them, some kids remembered the steps, others would ask to be reminded so that they could make another one. When kids try to revisit projects on their own, I know it’s a keeper.

This pouch was the first on four articles I’m doing for The Greenwich Journal and Salem Press this summer.

I wanted this to be more than than a how-to article. I asked my friend John Golden to weigh in on math connections. The fact is just about anything can be voluminously discussed in terms of math, but I get only get about 300 – 400 words for this part. Still, was delighted with what John said, specifically, which was:

Now that you have made this bag, you might wondering, how is that doing math? It’s the wondering is the key.

By simply following the directions and finishing, maybe you didn’t do math. But if you wondered, how is this going to work? Why does that measurement matter? How big will it be? Is this a bag or is it more like a pouch? Or if you were thinking “what if I tried it like this?’ ‘why is the bag so sturdy?’ ’how much will it hold?’ or ‘why doesn’t it just pull apart?’ then you, my friends, are doing some serious math.”

If I think mathematically about what’s in front of me, I might have the questions like those that Professor Golden posed above. I also might ask, what would change if I was way off when I estimated folding the paper into thirds? What if I made a three inch flap instead of a two inch flap? What would be different about orienting the paper differently from the beginning? What does it mean to orient that paper differently?

If I think mathematically about what could be in front of me, I might ask, can I make this bag from a regular piece of copy paper? What if I used a page from the New York Times instead of the Journal & Press? What if I started with a square instead of a rectangle? What if I used a piece of aluminum foil or waxed paper?

Now, if you think to yourself, these are the kinds of questions an artist wonders about, then you, dear reader, have an insight on why I so much like talking to mathematicians.

I am just delighted with this way of working in the world right now. I love working with newspapers, coloring on them, folding them, talking about them.

The math connection is as important to me as the art and craft connection, because it’s all the same thing. An understanding of one deepens and enriches the understanding of the other.

I hope you make a pouch.

If you do, send me a photo please.

folding · How-to

Crossword Puzzle Origami Frame: Something from almost nothing #2

Why has it never occured to me to cut out the crossword puzzle that is in every newspaper and do some origami with it? After all, the crossword puzzles are square, and they always have this fun looking pattern of blanks and solids.

I suppose any origami structure would look good with crossword puzzle paper.

I chose to make a paper frame. It’s easy, assembles much like those fortune teller toys that kids make, except for the last step. I could have slipped a picture into the corners of the frame, but instead I colored in all the squares (after the folds were done).

If you want to see how to make this frame, here’s my Paper Frame PDf… I made these directions for a project a long time ago, so but the basic directions are the same. Just be sure to start with the crossword puzzle image face down. You won’t see any of it until the last step.

Let me know if you make one of these!