Two months ago we asked internationally known origami artist Leonor Rosser to create Two Hands Paperie’s fall window display. Once she said yes, we became increaseingly excited. The results are stunning!
Rosser crafted 11 hand-folded panels to hang in the windows. The panels were assembled from folded squares that came together like a paper quilt. For each square, she used recycled pieces of Cavallini Calendars. “The Cavallini paper is just magnificent for this large scale Origami. The designs are so precious that, when putting the pieces together as a quilt, I did not have to stop and match, or think how I wanted these different designs. It did not matter, it looked great just by putting them randomly,” she explained. She folded 390 pieces to complete the project! Each square took about 1.5 minutes to fold. That means she spend over nine hours just folding the squares! Thankfully, we get to enjoy these fabulous panels for much longer than it took to create them.
Rosser’s journey with origami started when she was exposed to origami art on a cultural exchange trip to Japan in 1989. Years later, she became involved with the children’s show Mundo de Papel (“World of Paper”). The show originally aired on Discovery Kids Latin America, but it was translated and broadcast in over 25 countries around the world, including the U.S. from 1997 to 2002. She also created an origami series called Origami Alive! with Leonor which was broadcast on PBS across the United States. The short film below was shown at the Palm Beach International Film Festival.
Be sure to stop by and see our fantastic window display! We are so grateful to Leonor for her time and effort.
Mia Semingson (Two Hands Paperie Owner) with origami artist Leonor Rosser
“Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For bees, the flower is the fountain of life;
For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love.”- Kahlil Gibran
As we celebrate bees and wax in our Fall Newspaperie, we don’t want to forget another part of the equation: Flowers! So we are hosting a floral themed Art Call! We love to see what our customers make with their own two hands! Each year we get that opportunity with our Art Calls. Last year, it was so encouraging to see people from around the country participate in our first ever Instagram Art Call, but we missed the presence of art in our shop. So this year we are doing a mailable art call- the best of both worlds! How can you participate? Simply mail or drop off your artwork at Two Hands Paperie a visual piece that incorporates our floral theme. The theme is purposefully broad because we want to see how you incorporate flowers into your creative vision. The artwork will be incorporated into a store display October 10th-31st.
We will accept 2-D artwork October 1st-7th! Hand-deliver or mail it to Two Hands Paperie, 803 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302. Three winners will be announced October 10th via Instagram and Facebook.
Each of the three winners will receive a variety of over 100 cards. The cards come from some of our favorite printers like Hammerpress, Egg Press and many more! Winners must be in the Continental US to receive their prize.
Artwork must be no larger than 8×10 inches.
Please include your Name, Title, and Email address. You are welcome to include your Instagram handle so we can tag you on our Instagram feed.
Spring is upon us and we are ready to celebrate with four weeks of giveaways! Want to participate?
Follow @twohandspaperie on Instagram, Like the giveaway post, comment on the post and tag three (or more!) friends on the post by Friday night at Midnight MST (Mountain Standard Time). Winners will be announced on Instagram on Saturday! Must be located in the Continental United States to WIN!
Check our Instagram on these listed dates to participate:
Thursday, March 17th
Thursday, March 24th
Thursday, March 31st
Thursday, April 7th
on March 11, 2016, 9:40 am,
by Allie Horton,
under Boulder, Events.
Comments Off on Spring Into Spring: Four Weeks of Giveaways!
Many of my favorite stories begin with the phrase: “While I was studying abroad”. Perhaps this makes me a cliche young person. But if you had spent months eating handmade spaghetti with a wild boar sauce in Rome or walking to school in the shadow of the Akropolis in Athens, you may want to share a tale or two. So it should come as no surprise to anyone who has fallen victim to one of my study abroad reminiscing sessions,that I let the Via dell’Amore in the Cinque Terre inspire our Valentine’s Day window display.
Cut into the hills of the Italian Rivera, perched above the sea, sit the five picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre. Gasp-worthy sights are every where you turn. Easter-egg colored homes cluster together, stacked almost like children’s blocks. The ocean glitters below the paths that run between the five villages. Lush green foliage saturates the landscape. In each village, sweet shops with friendly owners beckon you in. It all is enchanting.
The breath-taking scenery is a draw for visitors of all kinds. But lovers know the Via dell’Amore or “Pathway of Love” best. This path runs between the two villages Riomaggiore and Manarola. After World War II, the path became a meeting spot for couples from the two, otherwise isolated, towns. Now, lovers from near and far travel to etch their names on the walls of the tunnel. Or, as is the tradition in a few cities in Europe, couples will inscribe their names on a padlock and lock it to the railing. With each addition, the Via dell’Amore swells and grows as a symbol of love. Though, I did not experience this wall of love with a sweetheart, it was powerful all the same. I was surrounded my some of my favorite friends, we were full of focaccia and tinted from sunshine. It was beautiful.
In the spirit of all that is and can be Via dell’Amore, we made our own window of love. We asked customers to write a short love note to attach to the display. Though it’s nearly as permanent as a carving on a wall, it was romantic and sweet all the same. As the Beatles say: “All you need is love”, so even if we can’t all traipse to Europe, we can carve out little spaces of love and beauty right here in Boulder. A special thanks to The Sugar & Cloth blog for practical instruction to make our idea a reality! Thank you to all who participated and to our sweet interns Katie and Jane for cutting and rolling so much paper!
“It was a sunny day in Seattle and I was on a work break,” this love story begins. “My boyfriend at the time met me for lunch and happened to bring the mail. Among the letters was a small brown envelope. I remember the lovely details of the brown paper wrapping, the paper twine and colorful Washi tape all neatly folded around the notebook package. I savored the unwrapping and truly fell in love.” Andrea Sanders is not describing her love story with a human, but instead with her steady companion: her Midori Traveler’s Notebook.
It is not often that we remember the exact scenario we purchased an everyday item, but then Traveler’s Notebooks are hardly everyday items. It seems that most people have their own Midori love story. Ours, at Two Hands Paperie, started with Andrea, who brought in her notebook and suggested we carry the line. Just like Andrea, we fell in love with the completely customizable notebooks. She has been a proud TN (as they are often called) owner for six years and still believes: “It’s one of the few and most important items I own.”
When Andrea says she owns few things, she is speaking the truth. She can fit all her clothes into a carry-on luggage sized suitcase and most of her personal possessions into a day bag. “My focus is on experiences and the objects, like my Traveler’s Notebook, to facilitate the inspiration and capture those experiences,” she explained. This focus is not only central to the way Andrea lives her life, but it is the core of her business Be Zero. “Be Zero is a movement to educate individuals to rethink consumer habits while dramatically reducing their plastic and trash footprint,” Andrea described. “Producing less trash does more than just help the environment. It will simplify what you buy, lead to healthier eating habits, and save you money.” To share the Be Zero message, Andrea hosts Be Zero Boot Camps and free zero waste living talks in Boulder. She is able to run her business and stick to her Be Zero values with the help of her Traveler’s Notebook.
The Traveler’s Notebook is a tool for Andrea in both her professional and personal life because it is truly customizable. Currently her TN is “arranged to accommodate creative thought, projects, and daily to-do’s” but in the past it has “been packed with 5 different notebooks or I’ve made it just my wallet.” The other way Andrea has customized her notebook is through the brass Midori accessories: “My Midori brass pen, pencil, ruler, and the brass index clips are all super functional for me and give my TN the look and feel of timeless adventure!” When she is feeling particularly creative, she pairs her notebook with other Two Hands Paperie products like the Peerless Watercolors Set and travel paintbrush to “leave the digital world behind for a moment and let whatever pours from my heart and mind out on paper- thoughts, art and ideas.”
Regardless of how the TN is organized, it is the perfect companion for adventure. Andrea has brought her notebook on many of her adventures; the most noteworthy of which was her two months living in Thailand. “I traveled super light, only taking with me a [small backpack] for the whole two months. My Traveler’s Notebook captured everything while I was there,” she said. However Andrea is using her notebook, she truly takes advantage of its customizable nature: “You change all the time and so can your Traveler’s Notebook,”she declared.
From personal adventures to professional organization, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook is Andera’s most trusted partner. The customizable nature of the notebook has allowed it to suit her needs, whatever they are. We are grateful that Andrea introduced us to these versatile notebooks and for all the Midori love stories that have followed.
Want to see some Midori Traveler’s Notebooks in action? Check out our Pinterest page!
If you have wandered by Two Hands Paperie or come in for a visit during the holiday season you probably noticed the very colorful and enchanting window display. If not, there is a ship sailing in the air to a castle floating on a cloud, and a sleeping yellow moon all surrounded by shimmering paper stars. It has been a real pleasure watching people stop and admire the artistry or come in and tell us just how beautiful our display is. Thank you for noticing! If you are one of these people you may already know the story, but if not, I would like to tell you about the wonderful woman and artist who dreamed it all up- Tammy Welshon. I must tell you now that there is a sad side to the tale as Tammy unexpectedly passed away on October 29, 2015 before her artwork was completed.
Holiday window display by Tammy Welshon and family.
I met Tammy through Two Hands Paperie. She was a dedicated customer who loved to share her ideas and enthusiasm for the creative process. You can get a look into Tammy’s creative life on her blog- A Need to Create. She worked in many different mediums from sculptural paper to large painted murals. Simply put, she was a loving and inspiring person to be around. Tammy was a regular at all the store’s free events, so if you have ever attended one, most likely Tammy was there too. If you did meet her you may have been lucky enough to peek inside one of her many sketch books that she carried around with her- what a visual treat!
Photo encaustic self portrait created by Tammy, Summer 2015
Fortunately for me my relationship with Tammy extended beyond the store’s walls. For the past two summers Tammy attended a Photo Encaustic class I taught at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Tammy was one of my students, and I should say I was one of hers too! I learned many new tricks and techniques by watching her work, creating art alongside her, sharing many meals, and learning about each others lives. Tammy and I became good friends during this time and we agreed that collaborative projects were in our future. Our first project was to generate ideas for a window display at Two Hands Paperie for the 2015 holiday season. Really it was Tammy’s vision and I supplied the decorative paper scraps for the project. Tammy began with the Tall Ship, which she completed. She then began work on the castle after the ship was complete, finishing about 1/3 before she passed away.
Tall Ship and Castle in the Sky
When Tammy passed it was a shock. I was mourning the loss of a dear friend not to mention the grief her family was going through. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to continue on with Tammy’s vision and complete her project. I thought the window display could be put on hold for the time being and we would implement “Plan B” (whatever that was) and finish Tammy’s project at a later date. A week or so after Tammy passed, her son Ethan called me and said that he and his sister, Ellie, wanted to complete Tammy’s work, that it would mean so much to them and to their mom and we should continue as planned. So thanks to Ethan and Ellie that is what we did. Ellie completed the castle and created the moon based on Tammy’s sketches, Ethan wired everything so that it could be lit up at night, and my son and I assembled the collaged paper stars. Through this collaboration, working with our hands while remembering Tammy, our hearts began to heal bit by bit….
Installation at night. Photo courtesy of Larry Welshon.
It has been bittersweet having Tammy’s vision hanging in the store during the holiday season. It reminds me of her on a daily basis, at times putting me through a roller coaster of emotions- from joy for getting the unique opportunity to celebrate her in a creative way, to the deep sadness I feel, missing her and knowing she never saw the work completed. I do find comfort knowing that she would have been thrilled with the final results.
If you haven’t had a chance to stop by or if you would like another opportunity to see Tammy’s Installation it will be up through the end of January.
Thank you Tammy for all that you have shared with me. Thank you to the Welshon family for having the strength to complete Tammy’s work during this difficult time.
Writer, teacher, coach, guide, and artist- these are just a few words to describe Cynthia Morris, a woman dedicated to being an “ally in all things creative: book writing, art making and business building.” Cynthia has been an inspiration to us at Two Hands Paperie (see the beautiful map she created for the Newspaperie and her illustrations featured throughout) both in her creative journaling practice, the unique business she has created, and the life sheleads as she travels the world. Her “Capture the WOW” class she teaches at Two Hands Paperie and beyond has served as a spring board for people to jump start their own creative process.
Two Hands Paperie: How have you developed your business Original Impulse? What have you learned as you have merged creativity and business?
Cynthia Morris: Being in business for 16 years means I’ve done a lot of business development. The first eight years were years without any social media. It’s almost like Original Impulse has had two chapters – before the online explosion and after. That said, working with people in person has always been a big part of how I share my work. Teaching, speaking, and leading excursions have been the most fun way to share what I have to offer. When I realized that if I wanted to stay independent, I would need to become a businesswoman, I decided that my approach would be fun and creative. That I would bring my creativity and my voice to everything I do. A couple of ways I have done that is to commit to using only my own photographs in my work. No stock photos at Original Impulse! That challenged me to become a better photographer, which has been wonderful and fulfilling. I’ve recently been using my own paintings to illustrate my newsletter and blog posts, which has been great fun.
THP: What are some of your favorite parts of coaching?
CM: I do this work because I believe that our creativity is the source of our vitality. When we’re not expressing ourselves, a vital piece of us is missing. I love seeing my clients empower themselves by making choices that are aligned with who they are and what they are here to do. It makes me so happy to see them alight with the joy and satisfaction that comes from being creatively expressed. When people know, like and trust themselves to show up for their creativity, life becomes very rich and magical. It doesn’t take much to shift from being blocked and frustrated to thriving and happy. I offer my clients dynamic illustrated notes of our coaching sessions as a fun and creative way to be effective and to give value in ways other coaches don’t. My clients love them and will often print them and hang them up as a reminder of their homework.
THP: Can your describe your artistic journey, your transition from writer into visual artist?
CM: I began drawing in 1996 as a way to meditate. Inspired by the work of Frederick Franck, who wrote Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing and other books, I discovered that drawing was a powerful way to slow down, get present and be grounded. I loved the feeling I got from making art, which was much different than how writing felt. I was interested in a lot of different art forms, but I knew that if I wanted to make progress, I needed to commit to one medium. I dedicated myself to writing and I’ve produced hundreds of articles about the creative process as well as several books, including a Paris historical novel called Chasing Sylvia Beach. Alongside the development of my writing, I drew and painted for fun. I took art classes and filled journals. I began leading creativity workshops in France. When I published my novel in 2012, I freed up time to devote myself to art. I love how art is much less cerebral and more intuitive for me. It’s relaxing, fun and surprising. In 2013 and 2014 I committed to improving my drawing and painting skills, and also decided to take my art in a more professional direction. Since then, I’ve collaborated on several projects including illustrating a book called The Abundant Artist, which will be published in summer, 2016 by Harper Collins.
THP: How do you fit visual journaling into your everyday life?
CM: During my days I will step into the studio and do some doodling or put some color down. This calms me, grounds me and opens up space for the next move to emerge. When I start my days with some sketching or coloring, I feel more content and satisfied throughout the day. I don’t necessarily do it every single day, but I always fill pages when traveling and when I attend conferences I make visual notes.
THP: It is clear from your Adventure Resume that you value travel! How does travel influence your work and how are your travel and day-to-day journals different?
CM: Travel has always been a big deal for me. On the day of my high school graduation, I was on a plane to France for the first time. I fell in love with the way it feels to be in a different place – engaged, curious, open, and stimulated on so many levels. This stimulation that comes from making your way in the world is so vital to my art-making. Travel is wonderful and it’s not always that glossy magazine photo spread. It’s inconvenience, discomfort, uncertainty and risk. All of these things are vital to being successfully creative. I’m also very inspired by what other artists make. I visit museums and galleries and also pay attention to street art. Urban environments really inspire me. The simultaneous order and chaos of cities is much like what we experiencein art-making. The courage and resourcefulness that travel requires contributes to my capacity as an artist. I usually travel alone, and this adds to my confidence, resiliency and resourcefulness. I am sure I bring this, even unconsciously, to my art making. Keeping a visual journal of my travels serves so many purposes. It’s a log of my experiences. It’s a companion. It attracts friends much more than if I were taking photos or filling a journal with writing. My visual journals are fairly similar whether I am traveling in the world or at home. I tend to have more unplanned time while traveling, so the pages fill faster when I am on the road. But the content is pretty much the same.
THP: How did you develop your “Capture the Wow” class?
CM: I began leading creativity workshops in France in 2005. Inspired by a book, Sara Midda’s South of France, a delightful illustrated account of her year in the South of France, I decided to lead a workshop with a friend. We called it Journey of the Senses, and we lead a group of people on various wonderful experiences in Provence. Our mission was to help people tune into their senses and to capture what wowed them in their journals. We wanted them to finish the week with a colorful document of their experiences. This journal would serve to remind them of their trip and also be a unique way to show their friends what they’d lived and loved. Over the years I have refined the workshop and changed the name. It’s still got the same mission – to help people tap into their creativity through a sensual engagement with the world.
THP: What are your go-to art supplies? What supplies do you travel with?
CM: I like notebooks with watercolor paper and experiment with different kinds and sizes. My favorites are Moleskine and Hand Book. I use water brush pensfor my watercolors. For paints, I use Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons and also a small travel paint box I made from a mint tin. For pens, I kinda geek out and take a lot with me. I like Uni Pin, Micron and Faber Castell waterproof pens. This year I started using pencil more so I carry a few of those and an eraser.
THP: What is your biggest/most common piece of advice?
CM: You have to find your own way based on your motivation, agenda and style. Too often we seek answers about how to create based on what others do. It’s okay to seek inspiration, advice and tools, but only if you use them to empower your own process. Make it yours. Make it fun. Make it work for you. Some coaching questions you can ask to begin this discovery process include: What energizes me and sparks my creativity? What must I do to feel truly me? What am I hoping to achieve this year? How do I want to be as I move toward my goals?
THP: What else should we know about you?
CM: People have described me as a Renaissance woman. I’ve done many different things in my life and am proof that we can enjoy life as a creative adventure. That we can change and grow and adapt according to our creativity and our needs. I’ve had odd jobs like hot air balloon chef in Europe and housesitter, and these jobs have allowed me the freedom and flexibility to discover what’s truly important to me.
I am in love with the creative process. I’m constantly curious about what it takes to make things that matter. My work as a coach and teacher allows me first-hand access to the things we all share in the creative process. As a coach for Original Impulse and Good Life Project, I’ve had the chance to help other people know and follow their original impulse so they can enjoy their talents and live life on their own terms. We are always evolving and growing, and when we use that to our advantage instead of as a problem, life can feel very dynamic and magical.
We love the creativity of our customers. This year, we decided to make the art call more accessible to Two Hands fans near and far using social media. We are proud to announce our first Instagram Call for Entry! The call is to show us your creative Visual Journal pages by simply following these easy steps:
1. Follow @twohandspaperie on Instagram.
2. Post to your instagram feed an image of your favorite visual journal page(s)- the page can be created for the call or can be from your archives.
3. Tag @twohandspaperie in your comments on the photo and use #twohandsenteries as the hashtag.
4. There is no limit on the number of submissions, post as many photos as you want. Only pictures submitted within entry dates (Oct. 1-31) will be eligible.
5. For us to ship you a prize, you must be in the Continental United States to win.
6. One grand prize winner chosen by Two Hands Paperie and one viewers choice winner determined by the number of “likes” will be announced via Instagram on November 1.
The two prize packages are:
• Peerless Watercolor Package with the Peerless Complete Edition, a water brush pen, and watercolor sketch book
• Midori Passport Traveler’s Notebook Package with a new Midori starter kit, plus two additional refills.
So start creating! We can’t wait to see your entries!
It takes only one glance through Courtney Cerruti’s Instagram to reveal that she is a wildly creative person. She knows how to see treasures in things found and create art out of nearly anything including matchboxes, rescued books and wooden spoons. She has curated a variety of shows including Strike Away, a show of nearly 450 altered match boxes on display at Paxton Gate in San Francisco, California until June 20. Even if you can’t make it to San Francisco, check out #strikeawayshow because it will blow your mind.
Thankfully for the rest of the world, Courtney is also passionate about teaching others and sharing her artsy mojo with those who ask. She has authored three books: Playing with Image Transfers, Washi Tape, and Playing with Surface Design. She also teaches workshops online at Creativebug and in person. Last fall Courtney graced us with a visit that included classes like Fun with Washi Tape and Image Transfers, plus an event called #SocialSketch.We are pleased to announce that Courtney is coming for another visit to Two Hands Paperie. We have a full weekend of activities with her that include: Playing with Image Transfers class on Saturday, June 27th 10-1:00pm, a book signing on June 27th from 5:00-6:00 followed by a second round of the #Socialsketch(6:00-9:00 pm FREE!, just RSVP)! On Sunday, June 28th she is teaching from her newest book: Playing with Surface Design from 11:00- 4:00 pm. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to meet with this Maker Extraordinaire!
We asked Courtney some questions so you can get to know her a little better.
Two Hands Paperie: It seems like you can find inspiration anywhere. What have you been drawn to most recently?
Courtney Cerruti: I’m addicted to instagram and am always discovering new artists there. I also love to attend art openings and visit museums as often as I can. I’m always looking and inspiration appears just in the act of looking, observing, just taking a moment to notice everything around me no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
THP: What do you like about teaching? How does teaching online compare to teaching in a class atmosphere?
CC: I love teaching workshops. I’m inspired by what my students make and how they interpret the process. Teaching online is much harder than in person because there is no dialogue online. I love interacting with my students, and watching them grow even in the course of a single workshop.
THP: Where is your favorite place to find thrifted treasures? What are some of your favorite things you have found?
CC: Ooooh, so hard. I try to go to an antique shop, bookstores or thrift shops in every town I’m in. I love a good flea market. The Alemany flea in San Francisco is a great small flea market that I frequent. I also sell vintage finds at the Alameda Flea occasionally and that’s a great place to shop and find inspiration. Its a huge venue though and can also be overwhelming… I could write a book on hunting for treasures! My most treasured possessions are probably my antique thread cabinets.
THP: Your website says you believe everyone is creative (we do too!). How would you suggest people who don’t think they are creative tap into that part of themselves?
CC: Everyone is creative, but feeling confident to say you’re creative is entirely different and can be so hard to do for many people. Something that might help is starting a daily art practice like sketching in a book, doodling on an index card, making Artist Trading Cards (ATC) etc. Find some small “something” and just repeat it everyday. One, you’ll get better at it, and two you’ll establish a routine of doing something “creative,” and you’ll begin to embody a sense of creativity. You can also share your work or practice with a trusting and supportive friend. They can work with you, and make it a little less scary as well as hold you accountable, or just support you while you explore!
We are big fans of Courtney and her work. Check out her websitefor more information about her. Be sure to come to some or all of our weekend activities June 27th & 28th. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity. Let’s face it, if the creative world was a high school lunch table, Courtney Cerruti would be the cool girl. We are grateful for the opportunity to sit with her and you will be too!
In college I stumbled upon the Book Arts and my trajectory was changed forever. After discovering the world of letterpress printing and book binding, I took a hand papermaking class and fell in love. The author of our textbook, The Papermaker’s Companion, was a paper artist named Helen Hiebert. Under her informative instructions, I dried and cooked prairie grasses that I later formed into sheets of paper. Now, with a degree under my belt and some life experience in my pocket, it feels only fitting that we at Two Hands Paperie are hosting Helen for the Visiting Artist series. Helen Hiebert is an internationally-known, Colorado artist who has been working primarily with paper for over 25 years. She has written five instructional books on hand papermaking and other paper crafts.
On Saturday, May 2nd we will be hosting a book signing from 4:30-5:30pm with Helen at Two Hands Paperie. This book signing is to replace the cancelled Spot Light Friday Event. Want to learn more about Helen’s processes? The information from Helen’s books will come to life two classes she is teaching! Playing with Paper on Saturday May 2nd 10:30- 4:30 pm and Collapsible, Inflatable Paper Class on Sunday May 3rd 11:30-4:30 pm both at Two Hands! There are still spots in the classes, so don’t hesitate to sign up.
In addition to writing books, she’s a regular contributor to the quarterly Hand Papermaking Newsletter and is vice president of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists. She has a permanet installation at AnyThink Huron Street Library in Thornton, Colorado called The Wish. This giant dandelion sculpture is made of wishes collected from the library community and participants in 38 states and 23 countries. Helen explained the power of the sculpture: “As you walk into the room, there is a sound component that starts to play. You hear wishes: some might be familiar wishes that you’ve had yourself, and others might make you feel compassion or empathy for the wisher you are listening to.” It is a powerful visual that is well worth a look. On the less serious note, (but just as cool) she has appeared on Sesame Street.
We asked Helen some questions to get to know her a little better:
Two Hands Paperie: Where did you learn to make paper? How long have you been a papermaker?
Helen Hiebert: I first discovered that paper could be made by hand (I’d never even thought about it) when I was in art school in Germany as an exchange student in college. We did all sorts of things with paper, from folding and cutting to sculpting, and we made paper, but that didn’t grab me then. I was more interested in pop-ups at that point, how you could cut, fold and transform a sheet of paper into three dimensions. About 3 years later I had the opportunity to go to Japan on vacation with my parents, and I was struck by the light filtering through the traditional shoji screens. A light bulb went off and I decided to pursue hand papermaking, thinking that I would have to do this in Japan. But I was living in NYC and soon found a small papermaking studio (Dieu Donné Papermill) where I first signed on as an intern and was then hired as program director. I worked there for 6 years in the early-mid 1990’s. I’ve been making paper for 24 years, but I’d call myself an artist first.
THP: How do you develop your new techniques and keep papermaking interesting? What inspires you?
HH: There are so many ways to work with paper, and this is what fascinates me. Historically, papermaking was an industry and not an art form. It has been just 50 years or so since artists have figured out how to work with paper in innovative and exciting ways. Since I came into this about 25 years ago, I consider myself to still be on the cutting edge of this medium. My how-to books don’t just cover hand papermaking, but they also extend into paper crafts, and they give me a good reason to research and write about what is going on in the field. I am constantly inspired by the world around me, and I love figuring out how things work technically. But I am also interested in the ways that we human beings connect to each other, and my artwork reflects these issues.
THP: How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on now?
HH: Early in my career when I was working at the paper studio, I was also taking classes in book arts. My early work was more product based – lamps and lanterns – and I enjoyed figuring out ways to bring light into paper.At some point I became more interested in installation work and started working larger and involving the community in my projects. See above for descriptions of two of my community installation projects. I’m about to turn 50, and right now I’m working on a series of pieces that will include 50 words (collected from my on-line network) relating to Mother/Motherhood/Our Mothers.
It is an honor to host Helen Hiebert at Two Hands Paperie for the first weekend of May! If you want to know more about Helen, you can visit her websiteor her blog. Be sure to come to the free event on May 2nd at Two Hands Paperie and reserve your spot in her classes while room is still available. I am pretty sure she is the only Sesame Street star who has graced the Two Hands Paperie Visiting Artist list, so don’t miss out!