Helen’s Book

The Art Of Paper Craft by Helen Hiebert

No question about it: Helen Hiebert put together a book, The Art of Paper Craft, that is a must-have instant-classic for people who love working with paper. I am pleased to be one of her contributors, and am happy to have the project of mine which she included in print, out in the world.

Oh, so much to unpack here.

I met Helen in NYC before the turn of the century, In 2002 she included some of my work in her first (?) book, Paper Illuminated. She and I had both moved out of NYC, she to Colorado, I to Upstate New York. We did not stay in touch. One day in 2017 Helen reached out to me, not knowing that this was when things were changing for me, when my focus was starting to shift, when I could spend time in my studio and be in touch with people again.

A place to perform, But how does this stage stand up?

It’s not that I hadn’t been working. While my husband and were raising our children, my creative focus was on designing projects for schools. At the same time we had some tough issues to deal with here at home. I had no time to keep in touch with people. The project of mine that Helen shows in her book was designed in 2012, during a time when I was just trying to get through the day. I love this project. It is a perfect example of the work that is most important to me.

A view showing the side supports
A view showing the side supports

It’s a stage. Children are quick to play make-believe, to enact stories that they know or that they make up. Having a stage to interact with can ignite and focus their imaginations.

Here’s what I love about this stage: It can be large or small, it can be made out of a wide variety of materials, the side supports are also pockets which can hold puppets or scripts, it can fold up flat to be put away for another day and it is almost ridiculously easy to make. Extra bonus: there are oh so many to decorate the structures: drawings, stickers, collage, bling.

Kindergarteners, 2012

I love this project because anyone can make anywhere, making it any size, using available materials. It can be plain and small or large and fancy. And now this project is out in the world in a larger way that I ever suspected it would be.

Thanks, Helen.

I have to mention that my name enjoys being in the company of the other names on page 276 of The Art of Paper Craft.

Congratulations to the world, for now having Helen Hiebert’s beautiful book in it.

Books Made from one sheet of folded paper · Paper Toy

Square to Stage

A stage made from a square piece of paper

Here’s a post I have been wanting to write since last spring. I was asked to create a bookish project for a couple of classes of Pre-k and Kindergarten students, and I had only about 50 minutes to work with the students. These students were also going to work with the magnificently talented illustrator Sheri Ansel, who would be leading them through the process of drawing animals.

The World is a Stage….

I wanted, then, to create a structure that the students could use with the drawings that they made.  So, I figured out a way to make a simple structure which they could use to as a stage for drawings, which I imagined could be attached on to the ends popsicle sticks, and then moved around to create little performances.

A view showing the side supports
A view showing the side supports

The stage is made of a single sheet of square paper, which measures about 23″ on each side. It doesn’t much matter how big or small the paper is, any size seems to make a good stage. The paper is folded in half to form a triangle, and a window is cut out to create the viewing area, and a few more folds create the side supports and the flat top.


Notice how the side supports are open at the top: these supports double as pockets that can be used to store the puppets in, once storytime is over.

stage resquared
Stage Resquared

Here’s the stage, opened up to the square shape. No gluing is needed for the construction of this structure, so was a snap to deconstruct for this photo.

The window cut-out can be used for script writing

Since I was working with such a young crowd, I made sure to pencil in the window cut-out on to each of their papers. Some children cut out the shape themselves, others needed help. If I had been working with a crowd that could actually write sentences I would have encouraged them to use the window shapes as the pages for their script.

As our time was limited, I provided paper punch outs, which were used for decoration. They looked great, all lined up.

Naturally, as soon as the kids saw me snapping pictures, they all wanted to pose in their stage windows. No question, these kids are stars.

What’s delayed me in writing this post is that I want it to be followed by a tutorial page, similar to what I generally do, and that ‘s the piece that I wasn’t finding time for. I am now about half-way through the Adobe Illustrator how-to book, so I will be trying out my nascent Illustrator skills on putting together a tutorial.  I excited to attempt this challenge.

Addendum: here’s the how-to-make-a-stage tutorial post