“…so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.”

Getting to work

Am in the midst of a string of some challenging projects. Can’t seem to get one all the way done before I need to start on the next, so there’s been on overlapping that is uncomfortable. Just keeping my head above water here. Today I absolutely needed to get started on prepping for a residency that starts in a few days. I decided to start by spending most of the day clearing my desk. Although I wrote recently wrote about this need to clear space,  I was happy to read this bit last night from Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art

It’s great when I read how someone else expresses what I’ve been thinking about.

I am an naturally organized person, but not a naturally neat person. It’s always a struggle to keep my space clear. But that’s a good thing, because it means I am constantly doing what I love, which is work.

Here’s a snippet from a different book that I recently finished, A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr, expressing the thoughts of the a person who is uncovering a painting that had been whitewashed over.

This has nothing to do with anything else: it’s such a lovely snippet I wanted to share it.

Now to bed so I can get started again early tomorrow.


The Best Fold to Know How to Do

Kids laugh when I sheepishly announce that I am going to teach them how to fold a piece of paper in half.

The older the person, the happier they are with this activity. .

It’s one of those things that everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

It seems nearly impossible to get to line up the edges of the paper. Then once they line up, they shift. You adjust.

You press down on the paper; it shifts.

You thought it looked good then it doesn’t.


This video is one minute and twenty-eight seconds about folding paper in half well.  I say everything twice because it’s all worth repeating.

Happy folding!


A question that I got on twitter was about folding a square on the diagonal. Here’s a wordless video to answer the question. It’s really the same steps as above, just slightly modified.

The things to keep in mind are to use two fingers as a backstop near the corners that you are trying to match. Slide the paper until it’s in place, then HOLD TIGHT with one hand, while sliding across the paper towards the fold, with the other hand.


…and why am I doing this?

shapes on a mirror
Space filling shapes: the Weaire-Phelan structure 

I avoid the question “why am I doing this?” The question never serves me well. Seems like the reason I am doing it will reveal itself when it’s good and ready.

My current favorite example of this is about a little black book . It started out because I have so many pieces of this gorgeous black paper that I wanted to do something with.

This little book has three signature, with three flaps, sewn with continuous thread, using a single piece of paper for the cover. This is not typical. Sewing two signatures on to a flap is something more common. It was something that I wanted to work out. It took many days of tying this and that, until I was satisfied. I eventually gifted one copy away, used one for notes, and the others sit on my shelf along with so many other little books. As I was laboring over this little gem, it did cross my mind that I was spending a huge amount of time on something that I couldn’t justify as worthwhile, but I banished that thought as quickly as I could.


This past summer I grabbed one of these little black books and tossed it in with the very small number of items I brought with me to Penland School of Crafts (where I would be assisting Susan Joy Share in teaching a book and box making class). In a conversation with Henrik Drescher, who was teaching in the drawing studio, he said he had been trying to work out a simple sewing for a 3 signature book sewn on three flaps with a continuous piece of thread, but hadn’t come up with anything that he liked, and wondered if I had any ideas about it.

It took me about a half-hour to realize that what he was asking for described, exactly, the only sewn book I had brought with me from home.

I taught Henrik and another bookbinder how to go about doing this sewing, which turned out to be such fun time that I’m laughing as I think about it. Certainly, this reinforced my belief to just following my curiosity and instincts.

Which brings to me how I spent my weekend with shapes.

Irregular dodecahedron
Irregular dodecahedron

Vincent Pantaloni tagged me on a thread about space-tiling that referenced the Wearie-Phelan structure, along with a link to a page which offered a download of the templates (aka the nets ) for the units that make up the structure http://www.cutoutfoldup.com/214-weaire-phelan-structure.php


I had been feeling like I wanted more practice making solids of out paper. After reading the awesome Books, Boxes and Portfolios by Franz Zeier where he, in meticulous detail, writes about creating solids from nets, I’ve begun to appreciate how practicing this could be helpful to me in a global way, in the way that practicing scales helps with piano playing. For more about this book, take a look at Cathryn Miller’s post https://byopiapress.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/books-boxes-and-portfolios/

gluing down only 1/8 inch of a tab
Worth Reading, Books, Boxes and Portfolios by Franz Zeier


Each of the Wearie-Phelan units took at least 25 minutes to make. I made eleven of them. After the first three, I decided they should be made out our bubble paper, so I decorated papers with bubble.


Bubble papers
Bubble paper

It’s generally a good sign if the process pleases me as much as the result.

tetrakaidecahedron (truncated hexagonal trapezohedron)
almost closed

I really liked the funny shape of the box before I glued down the final flap. (Note my GREAT needle point glue injector? My current favorite tool.)


So I got to practice making shapes, I got be involved in a day of play with my on-line community (above is Mike Lawler’s preview of these shapes he is creating with his 3D printer) and I got to be part of a lively conversation that Jen Silverman somehow elevated to the level of hot dog packing…


…and today, quite unexpectedly, I am thinking of some wonderful ways to continue doing some cool things with this shape.

The point of this post to keep reminding myself not to listen to those voices that would have me justify my explorations.



Twelve Sides of Sticky Note Pentagons

Present from Angela

My daughter gave me an dodecahedron. Each of its 12  faces holds 25 sheets of sticky note papers. I’ve been doodling on them.

Doodling on a Dodecahedron
Doodling on a Dodecahedron

With my family around this week this is the perfect thing for me to be playing around with. As I drew on the sides it was nice to know that when I finished all 12 sides that I could peel off the pentagonal sides and start all over again.

But what should I do with the first set?

Pentagons on Black Dodecahedron undone
Pentagons on Black/
Dodecahedron undone

What I’ve been doing is sticking them on black paper. Then I filled the sides of the shape again. And again. And again.

Lots of Pentagons
Lots of Pentagons

So far I’ve filled up the sides four times.

This is a perfect project for right now. While we are sitting around together talking, having coffee, or just being in each others’ presence, I can be using my colors.

Vacation week shapes
Vacation week shapes

I don’t intend to fill all 300 pentagons from my 12-sided shape, but I think I’ll do a good bit more.

a growing shape from shapes
a growing shape from shapes

Am satisfied to be finishing off this year with this construction

Happy New Years to all. May your New Year be filled with curiosity, exploration, and color.