Last week, we examined some of the wonderful books describing general paper craft, in particular, those involving cutting : Papercutting; Silhouettes and Découpage. This week, we are focusing on Paper folding and origami; Constructing models, toys, games and decorations from paper, Papier-mâché and finally, the craft of making handmade paper!
Origami and Paper Folding
When one thinks of paper crafts, one of the first ones which springs to mind is the art of origami, which derives from the Japanese words: ‘ori’ meaning ‘to fold ‘and ‘kami’ ‘meaning ‘paper’. While paper folding itself probably started earlier in China, origami originated in Japan in the 6th Century, after paper was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. In 1797, the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru Orikata by Akisato Rito, though it was more about cultural customs and the Legend of the Thousand Cranes, in which the maker of 1000 paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true. I didn’t quite get there with my paper crane mobile, which I made out of Japanese papers, seen in the photo below, and hung from an old shuttle for my friend Heather to celebrate the launch of her Saori weaving business, Art Weaver, in March 2014. Saori weaving also originated in Japan and Heather is the Melbourne agent. See: http://artweaverstudio.com.au/. Here are some photos of the finished mobile!
The modern form of origami was developed and popularised by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), including the technique of wet-folding and the use of a set of universally recognised symbols for instruction, the Yoshizawa–Randlett system. Dotted and dashed lines represented mountain and valley folds, and Yoshizawa also created symbols for ‘inflate’ and ‘round’. These symbols and folding techniques are discussed in the next book, also written by a Japanese origami expert, who originally studied under Yoshizawa, but progressed to develop his own style.
Creative Origami by Kunihiko Kasahara 1967
My first book of origami, this is a great basic guide to the artform, with 100 patterns for creating birds, animals, insects, marine life, flora, masks and people. I have used it quite a bit over the years. In the back of the book, Kasahara also discusses the nature of creativity, especially in relation to origami, as well as the basic folds, framework and compounds. For more on the author, see: http://www.britishorigami.info/academic/lister/kasahara.php.
You can also find excellent patterns online at sites like: https://www.origami-resource-center.com/free-origami-instructions.html; http://www.origami-fun.com/free-origami-instructions.html and https://origami.me/diagrams/.
The artwork of other contemporary practitioners can be seen on: https://mymodernmet.com/contemporary-origami-artists/.
I would also love to see the documentary Between the Folds one day. See: https://www.betweenthefolds.com/.
The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book by Paul Jackson and Angela A’Court 1992
Children may find the origami patterns in this book slightly easier to follow, as this particular book is very much directed at a younger audience. My children used this book to develop their paper craft skills, including making wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift tags, cards (see photo of my daughter’s homemade cards below) and envelopes, party hats, masks, desk sets, kites, mobiles and decorations, pantins and paper dolls, paper flowers, papier-mâché models and even Easter baskets, Christmas crackers and Advent calendars.There are also some wonderful websites on origami and YouTube clips make it all so much easier! I had a lovely day teaching Zoë to make an origami cat, fox and mice bookmarks, which can be found on the following websites:
Folded Secrets: Paper Folding Projects Books One to Four.
I also own a series of books based on Chinese paper folding by Ruth Smith, who describes how to make ‘Zhen Xian Bao’ or Needle Thread Pockets, an ancient traditional art in South West China practised by the Miao, Dong and other minorities. See: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1249&sid=dba0d7a0a57d924a2077acf54ca74eb0.
Ruth has an article about these pockets on: http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf, but it is well worth purchasing her books, so you can work your way through all her projects of increasing complexity. I had to email Ruth to buy this books at : firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully, the email address is still current.
I found these little pockets fascinating and the instructions very clear and easy to follow. After practising the basic technique with brown paper and making this Folded Secrets Book with 15 Compartments,
I made Square Mini Books for Christmas gifts (Book One), my skills culminating in the Folded Secrets Advent Calendar for 2012 (Book Four).
Each pocket held a tiny gift or a rhyming clue for a treasure hunt to locate larger objects.
There are also instructions for making interesting cards and beautiful gift boxes in Book Two. I would love to try making the Star Fold Pockets one day!
Paper Toys, Games, Models and Decorations
Childhood Games and Toys
Some of our earliest experiences with paper, at least when I was growing up, are paper chains and dressing up paper dolls, so I have included the following three books.
Vanishing Animal Paper Chains: A Complete Kit by Stewart and Sally Walton 1996
Using 12 animal stencils and patterned paper provided in the book, the authors give simple instructions for making paper chains, which can then be used to make cards, masks, calendars, games, wall friezes, t-shirt stencils and even a safari game park. The inset boxes teach children about the different rare animals from rhinos, mountain gorillas and snow leopards to giant anteaters, Arabian oryx and dhole, the wild dog of East Asia and India.
I also used to love dressing paper dolls, with their little tabs which bent over the background figure, usually at the shoulders. I don’t know that they are available anymore or if kids would still enjoy them. Remember we are talking about pre-computer days!!!
Fashion Paper Dolls From ‘ Godey’s Lady’s Book’ 1840-1854 by Susan Johnston 1977
Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in America and was the most influential women’s magazine of the 19th century. See: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=godeylady and http://www.accessible-archives.com/collections/godeys-ladys-book/.
It provided its readers with needlework projects, household hints and recipes, as well as hand-tinted fold-outs, showing the latest fashions. This book contains seven fashion paper dolls, each with its own wardrobe, with 50 costumes in all.
Paper Doll Portrait: Antique German Bisque Dolls by Peggy Jo Rosamond 1985
Peggy Jo Rosamond is a serious antique doll collector, including the German Bisque dolls, as well as paper dolls. This book combines her interests, featuring six original paper dolls with authentic period costumes from the 1920s. Once made and dressed, they can be assembled in a ‘Portrait in the Park’ tableau.
As children, we also used to make houses out of shoe boxes, cutting doors and four-paned windows and decorating the insides with patterned paper and homemade furniture made from matchboxes. Making cardboard models and dioramas is an excellent way to develop children’s imagination and creativity, as well as their eye-hand coordination skills. The following two books have taken on this concept, though really are an extension of the paper doll world. I still prefer the originality of homemade versions, even though these miniature worlds are very cute!!
Mouse’s Christmas Tree : A Cutout Model Book by Michelle Cartlidge 1985
Instead of dressing paper dolls, this book decorates a Christmas tree for carol-singing mice, complete with decorations, candles, stockings, paper chains and gift boxes, while
Little Boxes: A Cutout Model Book by Michelle Cartlidge 1983
Is based on a collection of little boxes, each containing a miniature stand-up scene: a puppet show; sweet shop; rabbits playing by moonlight; a ballet class for mice; sailing boats on the sea; bunnies in bed; and a mouse house with four rooms.
Having developed box-making skills with the latter book, the next two books extends the artform with 15 very beautiful gift boxes of a variety of unusual shapes and 8 mathematical models to cut out and assemble.
The Gift Box Book by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild 1999
This lovely book, aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but really appropriate for any age group, contains 11 gift boxes, including a Flower Basket; a hexagonal English Rose Box; Pandora’s Box; Black Diamond Box; a pentagonal Mosaic Box; a triangular Lilac Box; Green Crystal Box; Rocket Box; Tent of Paradise Box; Lady Eleanor’s Casket; and the Fibonacci Box, and four boxes to colour yourself : Cottage Box; Sailing Ship Box; Rainbow Box; and Butterfly Box; as well as instructions for designing and making your own gift boxes, including cube-shaped boxes with attached lids; treasure chests; tent boxes (like Toblerone chocolate boxes); circular boxes with a separate lid and boxes with sloping sides.
Make Shapes: Series No. 2: 8 Mathematical Models to Cut Out, Glue and Decorate by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild 1978
If your appetite is whetted for making increasingly complex shapes, this book is ideal for you! Plans are provided for a Great Dodecahedron; a Great Stellated Dodecahedron, a Rhombicosidodecahedron; an Icosidodecahedron; a Compound of Five Tetrahedra; an Octahedran Cross; a Third Stellation of Icosahedron; and a Faceted Cube. In the back are notes about decorating these shapes. I must admit, we never did get round to making these models, but they look stunning and maybe, I will make up the Third Stellation of Icosahedron, the Great Dodecahedron or a Great Stellated Dodecahedron for Christmas one day! There is an earlier book in the series with slightly simpler models, which might be a bit easier for us!!!
Another childhood activity was making huge concertina-folded crepe paper flowers and may have more appeal than mathematical models! While my childhood blooms were very dramatic and simple, the following book has a more modern and sophisticated approach with a huge variety of paper flowers.
Fanciful Paper Flowers: Creative Techniques for Crafting an Enchanted Garden by Sandra Evertson 2007
Using 10 different techniques and the beautiful vintage papers and ephemera provided, Sandra has instructions for 30 projects from simple bouquets, garlands and wreaths, and floral baubles and window decorations; to tiaras and brooches and even shoe clips and hat pins.The next two books are wonderful sources of inspiration for adults with the paper bug!
Paper Bliss: Projects and Musings on Life in the Paper Lane by Skye Rogers 2012
Using 10 templates printed on the inside of the book cover, 8 handmade specialty papers, specially designed by Skye, and recycled waste paper, this lovely book describes 29 projects, including milk carton vases; papier-mâché bowls; book sculptures; paper boxes and houses; mobiles and wreaths; books, envelopes and cards; stamp artwork; paper dolls and roses; articulated figures; twirling hearts; découpage drawers; and shadow treasure boxes. Here is a photo of my decoupaged drawers, which hold all my treasures!
In the front are notes on the basic tool kit, basic techniques and a recipe for homemade glue, while inspiring books and magazines, websites and paper artists and Australian supply sources are listed in the back. A relatively recent purchase, I look forward to making some of these projects! For more about Skye, see her website at: https://www.skyesthelimit.com.au/.
Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining The Book by Jason Thompson 2010
As an avid reader and book collector, I am in two minds about Altered Books, sometimes known as bibliovandalism, or indeed using books as a material for any paper project! My feelings are a bit akin to the same thoughts I have about tearing colour-plates out of old vintage books and framing them as separate pictures!
Nevertheless, I still have a sneaky admiration for artworks created from old books and given the huge numbers of books, which might otherwise be tossed in the dump, especially during our love affair and transition to the digital world, it is a way of recycling them and giving them a second life. Here are some photos of the recycled paper objects I own: a flower and bird made from old music scores and wrapped pencils.The introductory pages describe:
Materials: Adhesives, tapes and cutting tools;
Basic Techniques: Laminating; papier-mâché; decoupage; folding books; rolling and beading;
Anatomy of the Book; and Sources of Books.
After the introduction, there are instructions for 28 projects, including:
Gift Boxes, Gift Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows, Gift Tags, Cards, Postcards and Letters;
Book Bags, Pocket Books, Business Card Holders and Book Jacket Wallets;
Paper Houses; Beads; Necklaces, Flowers and Wreaths;
Pencil Holders and Woven Basket Cases;
Ornaments and Mobiles;
Papier-mâché Mushrooms and Birds;
And Sculptured Apples, though I own a Paper Pear. The final section of the book showcases the profiles and work of a number of Paper Artists, Some of my favourites are:
Nicholas Jones: http://www.bibliopath.org/;
Su Blackwell: https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;
Brian Dettmer: http://briandettmer.com/;
Jennifer Khoshmin: http://www.jenkhoshbin.com/;
Kelly Murray: https://mymodernmet.com/kelly-murray-jolis-paons-paper-dress/; and
Tracey Bush: http://www.traceybush.com/home.
Papier- mâché and Paper Pulping
Paper into Pots And Other Fun Objects: Using Hand-made Recycled Paper And Papier- mâché Techniques by Gerry Copp 1994
Papier-mâché is the ultimate recycling technique. It differs to sculpting with paper pulp in that it is a laminating technique, in which layers of torn pasted paper are slowly built up on a mould to create the object, where as with paper pulping, paper is shredded, soaked, blended and combined with wallpaper paste, then pressed or shaped over a mould. I love the papier-mâché dragon, which my youngest daughter made at school.The author discusses both the layering and pulp methods to cast from a mould and create a base, as well as making colourful handmade paper for creating surface pattern. There are some beautiful projects in this inspiring book, including bowls, goblets, jewellery, mirrors and frames, clocks and boxes and sculptures.
Hand-Made Paper Making
Finally, a book on making handmade paper itself !
Handmade Papermaking For Beginners by Kayes Van Bodegraven 1977/1981
I bought this book and my mould and deckle after a hobby course in handmade paper making during my university studies. It was great fun and very satisfying turning recycled waste paper into new handmade paper. We used an attachment to an electric drill to create paper pulp, then used a mould and deckle to collect and sieve the paper pulp out of the water to form a thin wet layer of paper, which is then dried.
We learnt how to emboss the paper and create watermarks, as well as incorporate other natural fibres or confetti to decorate the surface. My only reservation was the texture created by the chux superwipes we used between the papers! Here are more photos of some of the papers I made.In his book, Kayes discusses the history of papermaking; the raw materials required; how to make the pulp; using a mould and deckle and pressing and drying the paper; embossing and incorporating other fibres; polishing paper; watermarks; paper absorbency; paper sizes, making envelopes (see photo of envelope moulds below); testing paper for wood components; and care of equipment, as well as including a glossary of papermaking terms.Next week, it’s back to our monthly feature plants with a post on one of my favourite plants: Dianthus.