Saturday, August 21, 2010

paper art

I love art that involves typefaces, text, printing, books and paper. I have two limited edition prints from Sydney graphic designers me and amber. I love how they combine text with simple screenprinted images. The text and images enhance each other, working together to engage you in the art work as a whole. 
I am also captivated by the work of Melbourne book sculptor Nicholas Jones. He transforms books into beautiful, intricate art works.
This art form is as much about process as it is about the form - these books were conceived, born, loved, stored, discarded, found anew, studied, cut, folded and reborn. Through the act of stacking, folding, cutting, tearing, sewing the books, which I use, transmute, to produce objects or installations that throw new light on the book as an everyday commodity. These seemingly iconoclastic acts are employed to accentuate the beauty and tactility of the pages. 
Maya and Sam from Hideyo Designs in Tasmania, create origami sculptures that they fold and build from salvaged paper (usually old books from tip shops and op shops) and handmade paper. As each sculpture is made from certain pages from a particular old book, they become unique, one-off pieces.
So with all this amazing paper art inspiration, I've been constructing some paper art works of my own (although they are not on the intricate scale of Nicholas Jones or Hideyo Designs). When embarking on a new project or learning a new skill I embrace the mantra "start simple!" That way you attempt something that is achievable without being discouraged because it's too difficult. So I started with a simple diamond shape.
I had some small New Testaments that were the perfect size for folding into a diamond shape. My girls got them from Gideons when they started high school and as they cleared away the clutter of childhood, they passed them onto me. 

To construct a basic diamond shape, here are the steps I followed....
1) Take your book or bible and carefully remove the cover. Leave the paper and glue intact on the spine, this holds your paper sculpture together, then fold the pages into the middle into a triangle shape.
2) As you fold it forms naturally into a diamond shape.
3) Keep folding, it takes a while! It's quite therapeutic to while away an evening folding pages!  Use a gluestick to glue the two end pieces together to secure the finished shape.
 4) It also looks great hanging. You need to firmly glue the ribbon down the centre of the spine before glueing the end pieces together. (I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon.)

Gorgeous, don't you think? They are so satisfying to make. Once you've mastered a basic shape like the diamond you can experiment with more complex shapes. I am now attempting a slightly more complex shape. I am also going to try folding the pages inside the cover of the book. The possiblities are endless!


  1. I love this - would it be possible to do with my book?
    I'll give you one to try it! I don't think I have the skill or patience to manage it.

  2. I could try. It would look beautiful!

  3. stace, lets go shopping for some great books and then come home, yours or mine, and do them!! love it love it love it!!! stacy, you are RidUlousLy clever, love you!

  4. Thanks!! I'd love that. I've modified my designs and now have four different shapes. It's such a satisfying thing to do and they look gorgeous.



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