More Commercial Use



It seems that a lot of papercuts are used in sets for jewelry displays, and I’m wondering if that’s their most common commercial use… but in any case, Lydia Kasumi Shireff’s papercuts are impeccable. The geometry involved in the De Beers commissions is just too perfect. Cleanliness and symmetry is usually not something I’m drawn to, but there’s something about her work that just makes me want to stare at it forever. See more of it here.

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Wet Origami

wet origami

Okay, I know, it’s another origami post. But you know what? It’s wet origami. The process of wet origami is a lot more complex than simply folding the paper while wet. It involves working with sizing- an additive used during the pulp stage of the paper making process. The sizing dissolves when the paper is dampened, and makes it softer while wet, allowing it to be bent in different forms. After the paper is folded and manipulated while damp, it hardens and retains the soft, organic bends and folds. Robert Lang’s origami utilizes this technique and creates beautiful nature imitations out of single, uncut pieces of paper. See more of his work here.

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Childhood Games

paper mario

Although Paper Mario was a digitally created video game, it used paper qualities for the aesthetics and effects. I loved the graphics of the game as much as I loved playing it (there’s an art kid for you). The spins and 2-dimensional movements of the characters were a lot of fun to interact with. The scenes and settings were all realistic enough (we all know that oceans, castles, beaches, etc. all exist), but the paper qualities made the game fantastical and whimsical. There’s a lot to be said for using 3-dimensional graphics in games, but the paper effects were perfect for this Nintendo 64 game, which is now apparently available on the wii! What?!

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Paper Source is Not a Source

paper source

I went into Paper Source not too long ago because, you know, I like paper. I thought it would be this mecca of handmade papers, prints, and the like. I was very disappointed. While there were some sheets of beautiful hand printed papers in the back, the majority of the shop was “DIY craftiness” that took craftsmanship out of the picture. I don’t want to belittle those that do like “DIY” things (the store had a section where you could stamp envelopes and stationery to make them “unique”), but I was pretty upset that the store was pretty much an over-glorified version of Hobby Lobby’s scrapbook aisle. Another thing that was pretty off-putting was the staff. When I asked one of them if the papers in the back were made by hand, she said she had no idea and that the Japanese papers probably were. I went into the store thinking it would be a large selection of beautiful papers, and a knowledgeable staff, but instead I found a bunch of stamps, “customizable” stationery, scrapbook supplies, and a staff that didn’t know anything about their own supplies. If you want some DIY Pinterest stuff, though, this is place to go.

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letterpress delicacies


Some paper manipulation can be very overt, while other kinds can be light and subtle. Letterpress techniques leave behind a beautiful inked surface and a bit of relief, and the overall look is very much that of a craft. The Letterpress Delicacies shop, based in Austin, Texas, has some beautiful, detailed pieces. Letterpress techniques show off more than just the ink and the design; the prints also help show the paper off. The textures and quality of the paper printed on is really visible when a handicraft like letterpress is applied. The nature of the ink medium should be matched in quality with its canvas. See more of Letterpress Delicacies’ prints here.

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Details on Embossing

In an earlier post, I talked about an artist who used embossing to give dimension to his work. While applying pressure and heat is one form of embossing, another way to accomplish the effect is to manipulate the fibers while they are still hardening into a sheet of paper. The process of paper making involves pulling the fibers with a screen and pressing the liquid out. During this pressing process, embossing can be performed by impressing different objects into the fibers. The objects can range from textured surfaces to cutouts to strings, and the amount of pressure applied during the impression affects the visibility of the embossing. After the impressions, the fibers dry, and the paper left holds the imprints in a dried state. For more on the process, check this article out.

Paper Throwback

eric carle

As a kid, I loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I remember the illustrations more than the story. Eric Carle’s torn paper style is so childlike and fun, and the different textures and movements in each picture add the right amount of playfulness to the story. On his website, Carle explains his process for making each picture. When the process is shared, it adds so much more to the actual work. Go here to see more of Carle’s work.

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